Sunday, 21 July 2013

A Screaming Banshee,Ramen and Brown Sugar.

With no further delay, I finally transferred to the rehab floor,and began the ever going saga of Therapy on February 1st,2012.This time around I was assigned to a roommate,but that was short lived. Due to the fact that I had logged in so many visitors on the ICU Floor,I  was granted a Private room and was moved there only after two days with a roommate. Rehab in BELLEVUE was a three tier Attack on Speech,Lower Left Extremities (Foot and Leg) and Upper  Left extremities. (Arm and Hand).
My Speech Therapist was a Cherubic gal,who left the ball in my court by providing me with Speech exercises to work on during my own time, instead taking time out of her  twice a week visits to work on them. With that being said,I reviewed my worksheets, lips, and Tongue exercises twice a day, every day.The primary goal of  BELLEVUE Physical Therapy was to get me walking again.
I made a pact with myself that I would out of the Hospital doors,not be wheeled out of them.
But that was still weeks away,so the first order of business was teach me how to use my Wheelchair.
Considering that I had a healthy and able body up until two weeks prior,tooling myself in a Chair was a new wrinkle for me. The hardest part for me was locking down the rhythm  of my right foot with my right hand.  Most people have either their hands or feet in sync when pedalling and navigating,but I only had my right foot and right hand. In those early Post Stroke days my left side was kind of useless. It some time for me to get the kinks out by crashing into Doors and walls,but I eventually became a seasoned pro in my Wheelchair. In fact, doing laps around the rehab floor and Hospital Lobby became my go to Exercise routine during my Residency at BELLEVUE. That first day in PT was difficult because I had  to stand up,try to balance for the first time,all the while trying to tune out the other patients who were doing their thing in the PT room. There was an Older woman in the opposite corner of the room,and she would begin to shriek off the the mere thought of being touched by her Therapist. The Therapist wouldn't even be next to her,and the screaming would be in full throttle.If I didn't see her reflection in the mirror,I would swear that a Banshee was in the room.
It was quite distracting and took laboured effort to ignore forty  five minutes of racket. I think it was safe to say that I was the youngest person in PT during that time slot.
Being that is two turns down the hall, the trip to the OT room was the ideal distance for me to  practice my Wheelchair skills.. Unlike the patients in physical Therapy,in Occupational Therapy I was surrounded by guys close to my age. Ramen was a slightly built Indonesian cat in his mid twenties.  His partner in crime was D'Angelo,a  mischievous ,young, Black man. Both of them suffered from  some sort of Brain Injury and now had deficits similar to mine. Given our closeness in age,I  was assigned to sit next to them during our Group,Occupational Therapy sessions.
The first moment he met me,D'Angelo told me that I looked like I listen to Eminem. I interpreted that as meaning,I look like a white guy with swagger. In our daily time together,I'd like to think that I brought the best out D'Angelo.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Not quite ready...

 As you can imagine,Post Stroke living  up in ICU on the tenth floor was much more difficult than it was when it was only post Dissection. For starters,I was pretty much restricted to a bed, Day Chair and  once in a Golden moment,the fold in toilet.  Being that my Heart, Brain and Nervous System were all put through the ringer within two weeks,Bowel Movements weren't easy to come by. Liquid Laxatives, Pills,OIL, Prune Juice suppositories,we tried and failed,and tried and failed some more-anything to get this boy to  make a NUMBER TWO.  I felt like I was in a Metamucil commercial with Wilford Brimley. Finally, after close to a week of trying to make the magic come to fruition,I completed my task while I was asleep in bed. I was quickly approaching a month stay in the country's oldest Hospital,when I received word that the time had come for me to transfer down to the sixth floor to begin my rehabilitation. The start of some sort exercise being back in my life would do wonders for my mind,body and soul,and I yearned to be fortunate enough to have that.
Anyway,I was all packed up ready to make the move downstairs,I was just waiting for the transport Orderly to show up and formerly escort me there.
Either I was disoriented by the anticipation of waiting for the orderly or I suffered a mini stroke,but something recognizably confused me,and that was the Catalyst  for me being suspended up in ICU FLOOR for two extra days.

Monday, 1 July 2013

NEVER alone for too long.

ONCE I was allowed to eat and drink again,it was all downhill from there.
The first thing to return Post STROKE was movement in the left side of my face.
Finally,I could  chew,talk and make funny faces, all of which were my favorite things to do as a boy.
A cherubic Speech Therapist worked with me to make sure I was properly exercising my lips,Tongue and cheeks.With the help of a Tooth Brush,and Tongue Compressor anything was possible.
if only my left hand arm cooperated as well as the face did. The arm/hand took much longer and much more work to come back around. My Father would place a rubber ball or squeeze Toy in the Palm of my left hand and  it would just roll out. At best,the visiting Physical Therapist could get me to stand up for 10 seconds.
It felt like all i did for 10 days straight was eat,sit around, interact with Doctors,Nurses and Therapists and host the myriad of visitors who dropped by my ICU  room at the HOTEL BELLEVUE.
Most of my visiting  friends  and family members would  enter my room with a decaf iced Coffee in hand for me. By the time of my discharge after 9 and a half weeks in Bellevue,I must have tallied way over a 100 different visitors and consumed at least 300 decaf Iced Coffees.