No Pain - No Gain
While still at the Lehigh Valley Hospital the most I sat up was when I was laying back in a wheel chair with my feet straight out. So my muscles stiffened and atrophied. They did slowly get me to a standing position, but that was using a tilt table with me strapped flat against the table. Each time they attached me to the table, they cranked it up a few more degrees. Go too much too, too fast, and my blood pressure drops causing me to pass out. That only happened once. This is important to know for the next part of the story.
My story continues with me being transferred to Good Shepherd Rehab Hospital. I was transferred over a weekend, so they just transferred me to a bed while I was lying down. Come Monday morning things changed abruptly. In walks Sargent Julie pushing a wheel chair. (Her real name wasn’t Julie, but we’ll go with that.) She was short but husky. She suddenly pulled me up to a sitting position on the bed then swung me over to the wheel chair. I screamed and my eyes rolled back in my head. After a few minutes another nurse came into the room with a reclining wheelchair. They transferred me to that chair. Things were better but my legs still hurt.
The next place was the dining room for breakfast. I’m sure many of you have experienced hospital food and even the joy when it’s pureed. That morning’s delicacy was pureed sausage and pancakes. Fortunately I still enjoy some good pancakes and sausage. The thing that that was most frustrating was the fact that I had to be fed now, in the past few weeks and for several more weeks into the future. Again, the importance of little things.
Then it was off to Physical Therapy. I wondered what they could possibly do in PT, since I wasn’t walking and couldn't do anything from my shoulders down. I soon found out. My home for the next hour and a half would be an orangish red mat table. Transferring this time was pretty painless, since I was reclined and moving to a place were I was flat on my back. Vicki (again not her real name) welcomed me and informed me that we would be doing some stretching to overcome my atrophy and stiffness. The first task was to do a straight leg raise. Vicki got my leg about 2 inches off the mat when a screamed from pain in my hip. She was shocked that I was that stiff. It took many sessions before I could lift my legs to a reasonable height by myself. Anytime I even grimaced from the pain, I would hear that mantra “No Pain-No Gain”
You may ask like Vicki did why I was so stiff, Didn’t they do Physical Therapy at the hospital? The answer was both simple and horrifying. The PT department at the hospital was short handed and I wasn’t a priority. I was expected to die.
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