Friday, October 8, 2010

Heading Home

It's hard to describe what it feels like to be working through my final day in the hospital after six weeks away from home. From the time I woke up and had breakfast, it's been something like Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, my birthday and the day before summer vacation all rolled into one. 

After receiving the good news about weight bearing from my doctor on Tuesday, I've spent much of the last three days walking and climbing stairs with my physical therapist. Trust me, it was truly bizarre to walk again after six weeks in a chair and bed. While it was not really painful, my legs have lost a significant amount of strength, so I was a lot more wobbly at first than I expected. Fatigue is more of an issue than pain, so I'm talking it slow and continue to spend most of the day in my wheelchair. Transfers are so much easier since I simply stand and pivot when I need to move from one place to the next. This makes me infinitely more independent which has not come a moment too soon. 

As you would expect, each day the work gets progressively more challenging. On Wednesday, I climbed the make-believe stairs in the therapy room, while on Thursday when Jessie came for a training and visit we climbed the full set of hospital stairs together between floors twice. While I may be slow, it wasn't too difficult and I'm very optimistic about about my transfer home.

My left shoulder, on the other hand, has turned out to be more problematic than I had originally hoped. I'm not able to bear weight on this limb because the clavicle has not yet fully healed. As a result, I'll need to follow up with a shoulder specialist after returning home. While I've made steady progress with my occupational therapists, my range of motion remains far below normal. This will clearly be my major rehabilitation need in the coming months. With luck, I won't need another surgery.

I feel so grateful to have received such a high level of care from the staffs in both hospitals. At a certain point, though, it's time to go home! Jessie is coming down in the morning to hatch me out of here. I could not be happier that we are scheduled for a weekend filled with ideal fall weather. In addition to the general hanging around the house with my family that I have craved so much, I hope to take a trip to the Walkway Over the Hudson with my wheelchair and crutch (and family!) to get an authentic taste of my normal life. I think I'll leave the bike at home, though, (this time).

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