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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?