Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recovery: Phase Three on the Horizon

I am poised to enter my fourth week at Helen Hayes and my sixth week since the accident. It also looks like this will also be my last week in captivity. I will have a full series of x-rays completed on Monday that I will bring to a meeting with my orthopedist on Tuesday who will assess my progress and determine whether my weight-bearing status will change at that time. I am scheduled to be discharged from Helen Hayes on Saturday, October 9th regardless of Tuesday’s outcome.

I’ve been making steady progress and will continue my recovery at home and my rehabilitation on an outpatient basis. My left shoulder in particular will need a lot of physical therapy to regain a full range of motion and activity. I have been doing research into physical therapists in the mid-Hudson Valley with an expertise in shoulders. Hopefully I will find someone as highly skilled as the staff here at Helen Hayes on the first try.

Since I will not be driving for a while, my therapy will either need to be based in the home or nearby since I’ll need to count on Jessie for transportation. This limitation is not related to my leg injuries, but rather the very limited mobility of my left arm and shoulder. One needs to be able to raise the left arm far enough to activate the turn signal in order to drive. My plea that most New Yorkers ignore the turn signal entirely fell on deaf ears here at the hospital.

Over the past week, I’ve also gained greater stability in my right leg and this had made transfers (from bed to chair, etc.) much smoother. All of that standing and squatting now means that I rarely need to slide across a transfer board. While still sore, I feel stronger and more ready to use my left leg and arms to aid in my mobility. I do need to get the all-clear from the doctor, though, so I don’t do any damage if the bones aren’t fully healed.

The attending physician’s strategy has been to wean me off the most serious of the pain medications over the past several weeks. Today is my first day without one of them and so, ironically, I’m feeling a bit more pain and discomfort than I did a month ago, but it seems reasonable that a person in my condition should feel pain and discomfort. Hopefully, this will lessen in time, too.

So, today I plan to read, write a few letters, watch a film or two and rest in preparation for my last week of physical torture/therapy at Helen Hayes. I also got a call from a dear friend who’s coming for a visit this afternoon with his kids. It's been great to follow my friendIt’s great to be able to see the light at the end of the hospital tunnel. Take it from me, six weeks is more than enough time to spend away from family in a hospital. Enough already! I hope the phase three of my recovery is as smooth as the first two have been. 

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