Good morning Sunday. I spoke with the nurses and physio yesterday who in turn spoke to the ward Dr – whom I might add I have not seen since I got here. I was told that he / she would speak to the specialist to check that it was OK for me to check out of inpatient rehab today. All my vital stats have been stable for the last few days so it’s looking good. They all agreed that this would be fine – how exciting, I get to go home. I always believe that home is the best place for people to rest and recover. You have all your family around you and all your own things and your own food, you just feel that much more relaxed I think.
I work out that I have just enough time to shower and wash and dry my hair before the arrival of breakfast. I plan to pack and then go to the gym after breakfast to do my exercises, and then it will be time for ‘check out’ which I have been advised is 10 am. I phone David and chat about my coming home and he lets me know that he has sold the fridge freezer and the washing machine (again!). Let’s hope the people turn up this time. He also has somebody coming to look at the two sofas at 10 am so I will try and time my arrival either just before or just after that time.
Like clockwork, breakfast arrives – I am mid-way through eating and the nurse comes in. We discuss what needs to be done for my discharge a bit later in the morning. I check with her that I can go to the gym – oh no she says, there will be a physio on but it’s not generally open as we don’t normally have patients that need 7-day physio. That scuppers my well thought out plan.
Breakfast devoured, I pack, which takes a little longer than normal as I can’t reach and twist to pick things up so easily but that’s fine, the job gets done. So, I put on a T-shirt and decide to do my exercises in the room. The only piece of equipment I really need is a step but hey as I don’t have one, I’ll do a few extra of the others to make up for it. The standing exercises are fine and then we come to the lying down ones. So, the bed is not wide enough for me to do my lying hip abductions so I think I’ll lie on the floor. This is not as easy as it sounds……. I take a blanket from the bed and place on the floor. Now, I have some ideas on how I am going to get down there without my left hip going past the 90-degree angle. Bending towards the floor and extending my left leg out behind me, I make it onto my right knee. I bend my left knee in, but not quite to 90 degrees and place a pillow between my knees. I roll over onto my right side lying down as I go. Then, rolling over onto my back, removing the pillow and straightening my legs – success, I made it, no odd movements or twisting or bending beyond what is permitted. Feeling quite chuffed – just have to do the same in reverse to get up. This is good practice for when I get home as we currently are sleeping on a mattress on the floor having sold the bed a few weeks ago. I was thinking that until we relocate to our Airbnb on Tuesday, I would have to sleep on the sofa but no, I will be able to make use of the mattress – achieving these little things each day for me is real progress I think. So I start with my lying exercises – I’ll list all the exercises at the end for those that are interested. I am on the floor stark naked, with my knees bent doing glute bridges with a 5 second hold at the top – I’m in the hold position – tap on the door and before I can move or say anything the door opens and there’s the cleaner – she (thank goodness it’s a she) says oh, I have brought clean towels for you. I say, please give me a moment – I am being discharged today, I don’t need them. After what I have been through this past week, I think all embarrassment has been used up on my part, not quite so sure on hers – flushed cheeks, won’t meet my eyes and backs out of the room. I have to chuckle to myself as I’m not sure any of the other patients who are all probably at least 20 years older than me, would be down in the position let alone naked doing glute bridges – he he he.
Exercises done, I finish packing and get dressed. The nurse arrives and we complete the small amount of paperwork for my discharge.
I have three bags to get downstairs and when I asked the nurse about calling reception to help me carry these down to the Uber I was going to use she said, no, it’s Sunday, there isn’t anyone on reception today so just press your call button when you are ready and I’ll come and help you! Well, to me that is ridiculous. To have a senior nurse who should be attending to patients helping me with bags is a complete and utter joke. So, what to do? In true Sarah form, I’ll manage on my own – it’ll take me a couple of trips but I will do it. I actually devise a way of attaching two bags to my suitcase and carrying my oversized handbag but that’s everything so we only need to make one trip. I have decided to book the Uber once I am downstairs in case it’s a quiet morning for them and there’s one just a few minutes away. OMG, I hope I get one with plenty of patience as I’m not sure how long it will take me to get into the car. I forgot to recount to you the trip from St Vincent’s to Waratah.
I think I mentioned that I hired my own car … to be precise a limo, I wasn’t driving … to get me there as the hospital wasn’t sure what time the hospital transport would turn up – or indeed what day! There had been a mad flurry as the car advised it had arrived, and the Occupational Therapist wanted to demonstrate how I should get in and out of the front seat of a car. She ran off, grabbed a small towel, a plastic bag, and a seat sized square of foam. We went down to the car. She proceeded to have the front passenger seat pushed back as far as possible, used the rolled-up towel to fill the small dip at the back of the seat, placed the foam square on top of the seat and the plastic bag on top of that. She showed me that I should have my back to the interior of the car, use the dashboard to hold onto with my right hand and the pillar between the doors with my left, lower myself in whilst extending my left leg out in front of me to ensure we didn’t go past 90 degrees and then lower myself onto the seat. Then swivel around – ah ha – that’s what the plastic bag is for, to make swivelling easier. I was safely installed into the front seat when she said oh by the way, the foam square is $20. I just gave her a blank stare – I mean seriously?!? I suppose this will be added to the bill that goes to the health insurer.
Back to the Waratah discharge. So, I am now downstairs at the reception desk at Waratah – but wait, I am recounting the process for getting in the car and find that I have left my foam square in my room. I check with the security guard that he is happy for me to leave my bags there and he will keep a ‘casual’ eye on them whilst I go back to collect the foam. Yeah, he says looking up from his reading but he is actually sitting at the far end of reception behind a wall and wouldn’t have a clue if somebody came in off the street and took my things and simply walked away. However, I have no choice in the matter, I have to trust to humankind. Back in the room, pick up my foam and back downstairs again.
Seated in reception, on my piece of foam on one of the reception chairs, I tap into my Uber app. WOW, did you know there is a service called Uber Assist? This is an Uber that has a driver who has received training to assist disabled or movement impaired passengers, those with wheelchairs and guide dogs etc. WOW I think, this is just what I want as at least I can be assured that I have somebody with patience whilst I manoeuvre myself into the car. So, tap, order, finding ride – it’s 20 minutes away. That’s OK as I am earlier than I thought and if I leave now, I will arrive home at the same time as the lady who is coming to check out the sofas and David won’t be able to help me with my bags. I lean back in the chair and rest my head on the wall behind me. I have an enormous, pounding headache – have had this headache since about Thursday. I have put it down to all the meds, change of diet, hospital environment, lack of continuous sleep, noisy air conditioning, the air conditioning itself and lack of fresh air and I am hoping that when I get home, have a snooze and am in my own surroundings, I will feel heaps better. So, I relax there waiting for the car.
Geoffrey pulls up outside in his Toyota Prius and from the moment he says hello, he is helpful and calm. He loads my bags into the boot, I load myself into the front seat – without too much drama and much quicker than I thought I would be able to and joy of joys, we are off home. I text David on approach and as we pull up outside the building, I’m happy to see David waiting on the pavement. He advises that yet again, the person who was coming to look at the sofa has made some excuse about a broken-down car and isn’t coming – do people not realise that we have lives and we put stuff on hold for them? Oh well, at least we will have something to sit on to watch TV tonight and some lucky punter will be able to pick up the sofa from the rubbish bay at the loading dock for free when we finally put them down there on Tuesday morning – this is simply because we don’t want to pay to store them for a few years before unpacking them for the house in Spain to decide that they don’t fit the style of the house and we don’t like them so will throw them out anyway.
Out of the car, not too spritely but not too slow either, and up to the apartment. The fridge freezer (which was supposed to be collected yesterday by a buyer) is outside the apartment door – no point in moving it as the ‘second’ buyer will collect later today. David has done an absolutely stellar job clearing out the cupboards, sorting out the foodstuffs that we will throw away or give away or keep and the apartment now really looks like we are about to move out. David has made a fridge by filling a couple of plastic tubs with huge bags of ice from Coles and immersing some items into it. Brilliant. I know that most of this has been achieved in the last 24 hours when it was a definite that I was coming home, as there didn’t seem to have been much progress in chores between his visits to me in the hospital – so we need to crack on with some stuff today. We have coffee and chat about what we will do next.
We go through some of the things we are going to give away to Lexi – there’s stuff left over from the Glebe markets, foodstuffs etc and stuff we are chucking away. That done, the Lexi boxes are packed and ready for pick up.
Next is to do the final sort of the wardrobes so that we have an absolute idea of what we are taking with us in suitcases and what is being packed by the removers. David’s wardrobe is more or less done and so I do mine – didn’t take too long as it was mostly done except for a bit of fine tuning. I complete this task and then I know that I need to rest. My left leg and foot are swollen (as is my right but to a lesser degree) and my head is still thumping. David drops the blind and puts the air conditioning on as it’s a bit humid and steamy today, I lower myself onto the mattress, put my head back on my lovely bamboo pillow and hey presto – sleep. I think it’s about an hour later that I wake up and although I am feeling much better, the headache is still there.
Time for a snack – need to keep David’s energy up for focus and build my energy up for recovery. We eat whilst watching something on TV and then potter around doing bits and pieces. The person who has bought the fridge freezer and washing machine has an AirTasker picking the items up and they let us know they will be here around 3.30pm. I had no idea such a service existed – brilliant idea. There are a few shirts that need ironing – I think I am OK doing those so David sets up the ironing board and off we go. Whilst I am doing that, the guys arrive to collect the whitegoods. That done, I sort through some paperwork and David is tapping away on the computer.
I make a loaf of protein bread and then set to with doing dinner. It’s fish for dinner – kind of just using up things that we have left in the cupboards / defrosted from the divested fridge freezer etc.
Relaxing evening in front of the TV, my headache is still there but comes and goes in waves so now that it’s getting annoying, I think I’ll go to bed. I make preparations and then retire with a book and a cup of tea. Being back in my own surroundings in our bed is one of the small pleasures in life we take for granted. This is a heavenly moment and I feel totally relaxed. Let’s hope the headache acknowledges the changes and finally gets sorted.
Exercises to be completed twice per day each day.
40 reps of each execise
Lying on your back on the floor:
Single leg raises – believe me, trying to do this with the leg that has been operated on is soooo hard. I am advised this takes some people months – I am able to do 40 so that’s brilliant even if it takes all my strength and concentration
Single leg bends – bending the knee and sliding the heel as close to the buttock as possible
Quad squeeze and hold
Step ups (side ways and normal)
Knee raises (not beyond 90 degrees)
Hamstring curls with squeeze and hold at top
Squats – no further down than 90 degrees
Standing hip abduction
With the concentration and mind to muscle connection, this lot takes around 1 hour.
Hippy Times ,.. 🏋🏻♀️