February 18, 2011

The Sunny Side, February 16

The surgeons were great, the physicians order good meds, but it's all the other people--nurses, dieticians, therapists--who have really made a difference since the operation. They are the ones who are really making a difference, ensuring that my muscles are exercised and healing properly. About the first words I heard here were “We don’t believe in just lying in bed. We want you up, eating in the dining room, and will start physical therapy tomorrow.” It's a good philosophy--no chance to just lie around and think about pain.

Last night as I was trying to get to sleep, the following doggerel came to mind. It’s silly but heartfelt.


They help me to the bathroom.
They know when I’m awake,
They chart my every bite and sip
Before they go on break.

They check my skin for bedsores
And how I breathe in bed.
And often check my vitals
Am I alive or dead?

I buzz. They come, and quickly know
Just how my senses feel.
With care like this I have no choice...
I cannot help but heal.

-Sybilla Cook

*Skilled nursing facility

February 10, 2011

Hip Hip déjà vu!

Did I ever hit a slippery dark patch in my life a week ago! I decided to take the streetcar to the Museum and see the Monets, so stepped inside the one just outside OHSU, and looked around for a place to pay. The ticket machine was near the door, I fed it the dollar which I had at the ready, and the machine spit the dollar back. I looked around for a button to push to tell it what I wanted my dollar to do. Just as I found the “Honored Citizen” button, the streetcar—very dishonorably!—immediately gave a lurch and sent me flying across to the far corner. I tried to push up, couldn’t...is this beginning to sound familiar? Just like last year, my legs wouldn’t move. I asked a couple of nearby young people to pull me up on my feet and then I couldn’t move any further. The streetcar was still stopped, someone notified the motorman, he called the ambulance, and soon my long-suffering son got another call: “This is Mom. I’m on a gurney at OHSU,” almost a duplicate of last year’s call After x-rays, of course, I was told the OTHER hip was broken and I was going to get a matching half hip. I got the new hip a week ago Monday morning--same make, different model.

So here I am, in the SNF (sniff or Skilled Nursing Unit) of my retirement home, where I am receiving wonderful care. I guess my body felt I hadn’t learned my lessons the first time around, so I’m back in Rehab 101. Some wonderful PTs and OTs are working my muscles, and brushing up wheelchair driving, walker walking, and transitioning skills.

Since the care part just received its last endorsement, it hasn’t taken patients from the outside yet. There are only a total of 6 patients here now, with a full complement of caring young CNNs and RNS. I never have to wait for a button push! And the food here is great—I had northwest fish potpie for lunch. My new doc is right across the street, and I DO have a lot of blessings to count—especially my family that’s been dropping in, and my new retirement friends.

But it is still the pits...not the way I planned to spend this year...