Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lynne's Healthcare Adventure – Part II

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your responses to the first installment.   Some of you expressed a desire to know how Lynne is doing now.  The answer is really, really, well.  You'll see as the story progresses.

Thanks for reading.


You will never lose at calling a person to perform at his highest level.
- Vic Baranco

June 17 - “Lynne: Day 5”
Dear Family,

As you know, Lynne was transferred yesterday to the Rehab Center at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro. It is much pleasanter than it had been at Highland. Less modern, but more gemütlich, like the Hollywood hospital scenes of the 1950's. The atmosphere is quiet and mellow. The room is far more spacious and her bed is by a window that opens. I brought her her iPod, which helps a lot. She met with a physical therapist and an occupational therapist for an assessment. She has yet to be able to sit up straight on the edge of the bed without pain, much less walk. The PT said the preferred therapy for back issues like hers is motion rather than rest, so they will be encouraging her to get out of bed when they start her program on Monday. He gave her some exercises to do while lying in bed that will help make her spinal cord more flexible.

Thank you all for your constant loving attention.


June 18 - “SitRep”

Lynne was quite cheerful when I visited her today after her first full day of physical therapy. She was able to take her first shower today since last Monday. It's impossible to overstate how much that meant to her.

Her attitude is upbeat, determined and matter-of-fact. She enthusiastically related to me the developments of the day. She gets to and from her bed and wheelchair like a pro (with a nurse standing by to catch her just in case). She has substantially upgraded her level of communication in order to be precise with her PT, OT, and nurses. She needs to be able to ask them questions and give them instructions to make sure she's fully responsible for her rehab process. In addition, many of them are not A1 speakers of English, so she has to be even more deliberate in order to get through. She seems to be thoroughly enjoying the challenge. Her goal is to be able to handle stairs without assistance before she's discharged. (There are stairs from the street to the front door of our house, and our bedroom is on the second floor.)

Our housemates have been awesome about visiting her. Not only that, but our car died on Friday, and the housemates have totally stepped up to the plate regarding getting me to and from the hospital each day to visit her. I have been offered rides by everyone in the house that owns a car. I have not had to miss a day yet. 

June 21 - “Guts and Glory”
Dear Family,

When I arrived at Lynne's bedside yesterday, she pulled me closer and whispered a guilty secret. “I am having SO MUCH FUN!” She really loves her physical therapy sessions. She says it's as if she's having a reunion with her own body. Her PT, Mike, is so knowledgeable and so dedicated, and whenever I visit she excitedly tells me every detail about every exercise they did that day, and his explanation of why they do it. She is positively glowing. It's as if she has been given a “do-over” and is starting from scratch learning how to use her body .

Lynne's pain is being managed with medication to the point that she doesn't have the spikes that she'd been experiencing often when she stood up from her bed to get into her wheelchair. She was officially cleared today to make the transfer without having to wait for a nurse to come and stand by.

Today, a couple of the OT staff took us down to the model bathroom in the Occupational Therapy department and showed her how to get in and out of the shower, and showed me where I'm going to have to install grab-bars in the shower at home so she can navigate safely. The head of OT took me aside and said she's making so much progress that the original projection of a discharge next Friday could be an overestimation, and that she may get out earlier in the week.

She's so appreciating everyone's attention and support. Today, she listened to a voicemail from my sister while sitting at lunch, and she started to cry. The nurse came over and asked if she was all right, and she smiled and said yes.

Much love to all,

Stay tuned for Part III, y'all!

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