Hospital

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Rehab – Part 4

Published October 29, 2018 by helentastic67

Rehab Part 4 2

Rehab – Part 4

Case Study – Part 2

In rolled the stretcher yet again and again the same transport guys. Number four was sitting up on the bed and she was an elderly lady and truly the poor thing. She had a black and redeye and a hand was all banged up and she needed help to move to a chair while they prepared her bed and the guys and nurses did their handover.

Roommate 4

If you had met this woman in the street, you would think by the look of her eye and hand, she had been mugged in the street for her handbag.

Now, you know I don’t normally mention names, but in this instance, I’m going to because I must. I greeted her warmly and sked her name, the transport guy said “this is Elizabeth” she scowled some and said “it’s Betty”. See, kinda had to.

Betty

I said hello and the guy mentioned the weirdness of the older generation having one name and going by another. I just said “That’s what they do.”

My grandfather was always Jack. He has gone to God now, but when I visited him in hospital years ago after his triple bypass, I was embarrassed to learn he was actually John. WFT people! I never knew.

Anyway, back to Betty.

The arrival of Betty really settled our room. We were a very sociable room. That was my fault apparently, but what can you do.

Betty as a case study (so, non-clinical/medical terms) goes like this. Early eighties, had been in hospital over Christmas for a hip replacement and as this all happened around February, she was just about to go home when she had a fall. She landed on her knee, her hand and obviously her face.

Falls over 1

I did comment to her when she first arrived that she looked like she had been through the wars. She had actually, the second World War, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. Anyway, Betty settled in, in the bed closest to the door next to mine.

I gave her the induction and introduction of the room and like everyone else, when she asked me what was wrong with me, (why does everyone ask me that?) I pointed to the cast on my left leg, but said “Brain Injury”. You know it led to a longer explanation, but that was later.

Brain injury

I should mention, the day I arrived in rehab I had more visitors (nurses and hospital staff) than I think I’ve had friends visit me since getting my disability. Which says much about both friends and hospitals.

The lovely Betty, had a finger she had mangled in her fall. It was her ‘bird finger’. Luckily, she had not broken it, but it was very swollen and sore. The doctors would do their rounds and ask her to straighten it. When she could she effectively gave the doctors The Bird.

Betty giving the bird

Now, my grandmothers died when I was young and while I’m the age of Betty’s daughters, I felt like she was a grandmother I never had.

Now, I think you all realise I’m very cheeky and being around Betty, I got to turn it up a notch. Betty had, had to move into a nursing home early, on account of her husband’s dementia that had gotten to the point where if not contained, he would wonder off.

Grandmotherly

She was living in a suburb called Sunbury, to which I told her my nickname for the suburb was Scumbury. I didn’t make it up, but I’m still using it. It’s the Australian way, I’ll do a post one day to explain. Again, another day.

The nasty bruise around her eye, they gave her some cream, which stung. So, I introduced a nurse and Betty to my Arnica. When the doctors commented the bruising was going away and they would continue their cream for treatment, Betty tried to tell them it was my cream that they were using. The friendly nurse joined in our secret by reporting they would use some more of ‘the bad cream’. We all knew the nurse would continue using my cream.

Arnica

When in hospital, your medication is kept in a locked drawer beside your bed. (not all of them, but most of them) They dish them out into little plastic cups and while I’m quite competent and manage my own medications at home, they weren’t familiar with any of the alternative brands and pills. Often relying on me to do the, one of those, one of each of those, two on those and that one. I collected the little cups, I didn’t have a reason, but they sure came in handy.

One night early on in Betty’s stay, I was sitting in bed with my curtains drawn (we all did) and I heard this weird “whooshing sound”, more than once and I couldn’t work it out. I asked Betty if she could hear it too? She said it was her, she was sending emails on her phone. See! Can you see why I disclosed this woman’s identity? She’s my kinda people. Very tech savvy.

Plastic medicine cups

Those cups started coming in handy also, as when she went to bed, I would go stand beside her curtain and piff one over at her. Yes, you heard me and another under her bed, I would get a giggle out of her and do another until she sternly said “stop that”. You know I followed that with another for good measure. Oh, good times.

A councillor/Social worker type visited Betty once and I saw her approach Betty who was sitting on the chair beside her bed. The young lady, half squatted in front of her, so it looked like they were on the same level. Now, she could have pulled up a chair or even sat on the edge of her bed. I later did an impersonation of her saying she could have even stood up to speak to her. It wouldn’t have meant she was talking down to her.

Falls over

I did hear part of the conversation they had, the Social Worker asked her where she lived and asked if it was good? I couldn’t help my shot, Betty had a little laugh. The curtains were pulled closed as if that helped. I did apologise, but I made myself scarce. I don’t know of any older person who looks forward to going to live in a nursing home. So, I had thought it a ridiculous question.

My last day, I was discharged around 10am, I had slept badly, my mum was late coming to collect me and I’d stripped my own bed. Betty let me snooze on her bed. She was a sweetheart.

Before I left, when Betty was out of the room, I snuck all the plastic cups I had collected into her bed. I swear to God, five minutes after I’d gone she messaged me to tell me I’d not done a very good job, she had found them straight away.

Discharge

 

Rehab – Part 1

Published October 19, 2018 by helentastic67

Rehab Part 1

Rehab –  Part 1

Ok, not the NA/AA type. But the physio and OT type.

Being part of a Brain Injury community in Melbourne, like anywhere I imagine, I’ve met kids of people with all kinds of brain injuries. I’ve also heard many different stories of where people were and what they could or couldn’t do when they woke up.

There’s the guy who woke from a coma to a song on the radio, “Stairway to Heaven”

WT Hell?

Great song however, inappropriate.

Don’t know how long he was in this coma; however, he is a bit of the num nut. Likely never be independent despite his obvious ability to walk and talk. His thought process and thinking has obviously been affected.

Num nut

Another woke in rehab, unable to walk or talk. This person can do both now however, both are significantly compromised.

I was really lucky, because of the nature of my AVM and course of treatment, everything that happened to me, I had a say in and everything that happened as far as “fall-out” I was completely conscious for and aware of.

There was that moment when my boyfriend came through the lounge room and saw me in only my nightie, leaning down to do something on my laptop on the coffee table and he mentioned my left calf was (well, not there) compared to my right calf.

Laptop

I had been a little oblivious to that and I imagine I had been unable to rely on that leg for strength or stability. But, I have been lucky not to wake in a hospital bed somewhere unable to comprehend what exactly happened.

Waking in hospital

Now, I’m not saying my rehab has been all fun and games. I did struggle because my left arm worked some days and not others for a little while.

I recall days I struggle to do up my shoe laces an another I cried in frustration on trying to put on a bra. I choose not to leave the house without both and when I actually went to see my main specialist about six months after my treatment, he noticed my left arm, I was nursing on my left thigh. He noticed straight away and asked how long it had been like that? I didn’t know, it had come and gone so even my mum who was sitting beside me couldn’t answer. That day he referred me to physio.

Bra

I did some weekly physio and OT appointments and I was set up with exercises to continue at home. I luckily didn’t lose any of that. I do recall a question being asked of me “How do you manage with opening cans?” I told them I managed fine, because at the time I had a boyfriend. After he left I still managed fine.

Physio

Because I’d put the can opener on the tin, take it off, turn the tin a little and put it back on again. And repeat, until I’d opened the damn tin.

Looking back, how did they not realize this is how I would develop Carpel Tunnel?

My people to arrange this were very lax/lazy because funding requires a lot of paperwork and they know the NDIS was coming (one day), so they never bothered to help me get funding. I got my disc bulge and Carpel Tunnel.

Entering my brief time as an inpatient in rehab, I was an outpatient meaning I would go once a week across town to Caulfield. At the time I lived in Clifton Hill, where I can every Wednesday and I was referred to Caulfield, as it was in the “catchment” of my hospital. (The Alfred Hospital)

Notwithstanding, my mum would drive three and half hours to Melbourne, arriving just in time to scoop me up and get us both to Caulfield.

Long drive

Have I mentioned how much I love my mum?

I digress, where was I?

But I think those early days of physio/OT for me were maybe too soon, or something, not sure. But I struggled with the “make your arm loooong” In an Irish accent to grab that thing. But eventually after about nine years, my walking and hyperextension was being addressed and it was on my side of town. Through a different hospital.

Over the last fifteen years, I think I’ve been to most (not all), but most of the public hospitals for one thing or another.

Hospital visit

Then I found myself at a rehab hospital for two whole weeks as an inpatient.

I’m just saying.

I do not cope well in hospitals where I’m not allowed to go home and seriously I had appointments I maintained out, several days each week and had visitors.

I would often return from my standard weekly appointments with my keep cup in hand and as the lift door opened to the nurse’s station, they would all look up at me. They had insisted with Botox in my calf and a plaster cast on my let.

Calf muscles

Yes, that’s right. Botox in my calf and a cast. They were afraid I would fall over at home. Well, and they didn’t want me getting the cast wet and after two weeks (two different casts) I argued I was getting the cast wet in hospital with the help of four nurses.

So what difference would it make if I was home?

Next

When Disability Becomes Embarrassing – Part 3

Published September 24, 2018 by helentastic67

When Disability become Embarrassing 3

When Disability Becomes Embarrassing – Part 3

Stacey

The following day, I went looking for a particular speaker and topic at the conference, that others in my group were looking for.

It was something about “sex after ABI” for example. I find the right room and joined some fellow guys I already knew. This won’t be awkward right? Since he had given me his business card, the night before.

Sex after ABI

The guys I knew and I looked around thinking we were in the wrong place because it seemed everybody else in there were “industry-types” service providers, whatever.

Industry Types

Then in came the presenter.

That’s right, Stacey!

She started by recognising there were more industry-types there than she expected. I suspect she had wanted to empower people with ABI’s that sex could still be a natural part of life post ABI.

Sex is natural

Here’s an example:

Stacey2 (not related to Stacey) had, had a stroke. She had her stroke while having sex (a little rumpy, humpy) with her husband.

Stroke during sex

There was a moment of sadness in the room when we heard this. Apparently, the married couple had a very healthy sex life before the stroke.

Healthy Sex Life

So, when in hospital, when she was able to get up and move around, they attempted to have sex in the hospital.

Sex in the hospital

Must put this one on the bucket list.

Bucket List

We were made to understand it was perfectly normal and for them vitally important to be able to continue and maintain a normal sex life for them as part of her rehab and existence.

Sex in Rehab

You might ask how they did this?

Stacey informed us they did it standing in the bathroom with her holding onto the handrails. And success apparently.

Sex in the Bathroom

Now, Stacey 1, asked us a question. She asked us, what happens when we reach climax? (or orgasm). The room was dead silent.

What happens when you orgasm

I piped up,

“What? Your muscles tighten?”

Stacey was impressed and said I was correct. The industry-type people checked me out wondering how I knew.

How do you know

Exactly!

So, I struggled a little and said,

“It’s been a while, but……”

It's been a while

The following day, at the end I walked Stacey out because I had enjoyed spending time with someone ‘normal’ as you do surrounded by numpties all the time. She thanked me for being her “Conference Friend” Sad face…

Sad face

Stay tuned for the lesson I gave Fred.

Family

Published February 23, 2017 by helentastic67

family-1

Family

I’m yet to unpack and draw a picture about my family and I’m getting there but things come up all the time so……

My Mum is my biggest supporter and occasionally my biggest critic, but Truly Ruely.

My Mum has been the only family who has been there when I’ve been in hospital and there is nothing worse than having my Mum look down at me with that look I recognise as “Oh my God Don’t let me watch another of my children die!”

sad-mum

And to be clear she gave me this look after my Disc bulge surgery. The nurse came in and felt she needed to remind me I could sue the morphine button. And the look my mum was giving me, having just seen my scar (covered in tape) and to let Mum know I was okay. I gave her the acronym STFU! The nurse looked started and my only interest was when I was allowed up to go pee. It was three days, I think! Three fucking days! I’m just saying. This once; THEY DON’T MAKE BEDPANS FOR WOMEN!

But more about my family soon.

family-2

Dumb Down

Published September 30, 2016 by helentastic67

ambulance

Dumb Down

There have been three occasions I’ve been in an Ambulance in the middle of the night to go to hospital and a third where my mum took me to hospital in her racing car, but that led to an aeroplane ride but that can wait!

Generally, anytime I have to go to hospital when it’s an emergency, I am feeling beyond ‘seedy’. My head generally hurts so much I’ve already taken every pain killer I can that should work and maybe a sleeping pill so I can try to sleep it off.

migraine-pain

If that fails and because I live alone, I might go to hospital so I don’t wake up dead the next morning, if it’s more than I think it is.

Once at the hospital and the customary poking and prodding and interrogation, I’m usually given a few more pills, oxygen and a warm blanket.

They usually let me sleep and the next day when the staff are in and before they release me they will do a C.T. scan to confirm their suspicions. And that is that, I just have some brain swelling/I did too much/I need to rest and sleep.

I love when they go to do the C.T. scan and to remind me (as if they have to) the difference between a CT and an MRI.

In case you don’t know,

“The CT scan is when you get rolled into the big donut or as I see it (lifesaver) and the MRI is the BIG TUNNEL!

ct-scannermricutaway

 

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