Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Road to Recovery: Phase four has begun

It's been over a week since I was discharged from Helen Hayes and the thrill hasn't worn off yet. There is nothing like sleeping through the night in your own bed to make you feel like things are heading in the right direction. Of all of the things that hospitals facilitate, sleeping through the night is not one of them. For the first two weeks of my confinement, I was awakened by the nursing staff every four hours to receive medications and have my vitals checked and for the last four weeks I was awakened by pain, a suffering roommate and careless night nurses in about equal measure. But that's all behind me now! I'm free!

While sleeping is much easier, maintaining discipline with rehab is a bit more challenging. Unlike in the hospital where my rehab followed a rigorous schedule, I am in charge of most of my own rehabilitation now by working my way through an exercise plan outlined by my therapists at Helen Hayes. I also began the week with visits by occupational and physical therapists from a home health care agency. Each of these folks determined that I was safe and sound navigating the obstacles and challenges in the house and so I was promoted to outpatient care in short order. On Thursday, I met with a wonderful physical therapist that Jessie has worked with for an initial assessment and look forward to working with her at her office in New Paltz several days each week. I will have a similar meeting with an occupational therapist at the same office on Tuesday.

I also spent a considerable amount of time this week navigating the complex and logically-challenged world of US health insurance. This week, I found out that a) the orthopedist I saw as an inpatient at Helen Hayes is not covered for me to see as an outpatient, b) I cannot have physical therapy and occupational therapy in the same day despite the fact that I cannot drive and need others to bring me to receive care, and c) none of the expert shoulder specialists who were recommended to me are covered by my insurance carrier. Yikes! It's a good thing that I'm not currently working so I can spend the necessary time trying to get the care I need so as not to slip behind in my progress. Luckily, I've also tapped into excellent advice from friends and family and expect that I will eventually get the care that I need just so long as I can maintain persistence and focus. It's also a good thing that I'm an endurance athlete.

On a physical level, I am walking with a crutch without much pain as I rebuild the strength in both of my legs and hips. My left shoulder remains a serious concern as I am not able to move my left arm very much at all. Still no weight bearing there and a considerable amount of pain without intervention.

It's another beautiful fall day today - after some in-house shoulder exercises and a little lunch, I think I'l hobble across the Walkway to get in my daily walking practice. Hasta luego!


  1. Great to see you're on the mend mate, keep at it. Just look at every rehab session as training for your next will come.
    Great to see your family around you, they make all the differnce.

  2. Looking good George. I'm very pleased that your home. I'm sure not as pleased as you and your family. Keep up the strong work you've already been doing with rehab. I'll pray for strength as you try to navigate this healthcare system of ours. It sis not the friendliest of systems. They like you as long as you don't need to avail yourself of any services typically. Hope to see you moving about with no crutch soon. The bicycle will come in time. Regards, John Ende

  3. Hello George,
    Good to see you back home again. Keep on keeping on.