Home Again, Home Again!

Home again, home again!  The simple pleasures of life for sure!  My temporary home for three weeks at Bryn Mawr Neuro Rehab Hospital was well worth the stay. I didn’t think I would ever say that. The days were long and demanding, allowing for necessary rest and of course, time to eat…and eat I did!

With this busy schedule, I really didn’t have much time to think about the long day or the projected length of stay.  In fact, they originally thought I needed 3-5 weeks of “acute” therapy to safely be discharged.  Rest assured, I did everything they asked while keeping their common goal in mind…MOD I…Moderate Independence.

Each morning began at 5 am with meds, breakfast, the nurse dressing you, and wheeling you to the sink to prepare for the day.  It wasn’t long before “transportation” would arrive and wisk you off to the gym for therapy.  Upon completion, your therapist parked you at the “bus stop” aka, waiting line, for your transporter to take you back to your room.  

To be honest, the first week truly was the hardest.  Not necessarily the therapy, but my raging emotions and thoughts were constantly on my mind. I was trying to wrap my head around what was going on? What progress could actually be made?  Would I be able to get out of my bed? To ditch the bed pan and use the commode? To shower? To dress myself? Was I being realistic or in denial? What? What? What?

All I could do was pray without ceasing.  My saving grace.  I needed to turn this hardship right over to Him and trust He knows exactly what He’s doing even when I couldn’t begin to understand…again!  

I knew this mindset would sustain and encourage me to think positively and do what needed to be done.  All I wanted to do was to get better, get home to my husband and dance with my son at his wedding. Let the therapy begin!

The Schedule ~

  • PT (Physical Therapy) – Typically consisted of ½ to 1 hour sessions throughout the day. Their primary focus was building strength, walking, managing steps, adjusting my BalanceWear vest to help with balance issues, building endurance and strategic use of the walker.  This was a starting point.  I went from 20 steps with a walker on admission to 225 steps upon discharge.  Progress!  

  • OT (Occupational Therapy) – Consisted of ½ to 1 hour sessions too. Their focus was to provide tips for every day independent living.  I learned exercises for my upper body and hand strengthening, lots of tips while having therapy in their “apartment.”  Cooking in the kitchen – yep, went through the strategic planning to make a grilled cheese while conserving energy and using a walker.  Aides to help with safely using the toilet and a shower bench (I found the bench allows me to really conserve energy). One great tool was a “leg lifter” – allows me to get one stiff leg, that refuses to bend, into the bed on my own!  That’s what I’m talking about!

  • RT (Recreational Therapy) – Consisted of 1 hour sessions 2-3 times a week. I quickly learned why this therapy was scheduled – fun for the patient.  We all need a break and this was perfect!  Activities included going to the horticultural center.  My favorite, digging in the dirt.  The group would transplant veggies and flowers while standing/sitting to work on strength and balance.  Visit with the therapy dog support team – smiles abound for all attendees as they enjoyed time with these amazing dogs. Finally, a field trip!  “What?  I asked.”  She responded, “A change of scenery is always good and gives you an opportunity to practice using your new found friend, the walker .”   They helped by providing tips to get in and out of a car, managing sidewalks, opening doors to business, and everyday life skills. At first, I wasn’t sure this was really necessary, but I found it rather helpful.  Our destination? Dunkin Donuts! One of my favorite places.  Iced mocha coffee provides great incentive!

  • Brain/Spinal Cord Trauma Education Series – I really had no idea what this meant or how I would benefit from attending.  I was game!  Afterall, it was on my schedule so it must be important.  That it was!  A psychiatrist headed this small, intimate ”support group” of patients with varying conditions: Parkinson’s, Stroke, MS, and GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome). We discuss our fears and concerns, management of respective disease, and everyday coping tips.  

I am forever grateful for my stay at the Neurological Rehab Hospital. They saw my potential to improve and willingness to do whatever I could to hit the goal of MOD I.  I didn’t disappoint.  With my new-Pfound independence (while at a much slower pace) allowed me to dress myself,  transfer to a wheelchair, shower using a bench and actually do my morning routine at the sink…hair, makeup and brush my teeth!  I really didn’t realize how much it meant to be able to do these simple, daily tasks! 🙂

Praises to hear the words that you’re ready to go home!!!  I can’t begin to describe the overwhelming feeling that I can regain strength and walk again.  While it’s not the prettiest gait, I’m ready to see how far I can push myself to see additional improvement…outpatient therapy, here I come!

During this time, I couldn’t help but feel so lucky to have a brilliant medical team through out my admission, the friendships that were made, and the humor that helped to brighten each day.  It became clear to me that God truly did know what He was doing, bringing me right where He needed me to be, just as I am.

“Count Your Blessings”

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20 Comments

  1. Brenda Alburger

    Love my bff from the 7th grade!!! What a Godly example you are to all! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

    • Love my BFF since the 7th grade! Thank you for your never-ending love and support, not to mention the laughter you provide for all! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you’re home and able to manage at least the basics. I hope your strength and abilities increase each day. Take care! Diane xx

    • Thank you, Diane! I’ll continue to work hard! Have a good day! xoxo

  3. What an experience, Cath. Your faith and strength and commitment to your family are so incredibly inspirational. Sending you a big hug and prayers for continued strength physically and spiritually. All the very best to you. xoxo

    • Thank you for you kind comments, Kelly! They all help me be the very best I can be! Enjoy your day! xoxo

      • My pleasure, Cath! All the best! 🙂

  4. I love you, GF! The true value of a “valley” experience is always clarified after one has endured it, and I’m so happy that this turned out so well for you! Thank you, too, for telling us how leaning on and trusting God helped you through it all! You are an example of giving your all for what you want to achieve with your body. You’re a shining light on a hillside for sure! ❤ Susan

    • Great big hugs and love to my dear friend. You know oh so well that it is not always easy to trust and lean on Him. To value and recognize the necessity to grieve, mourn, scream, cry, throw that hissy fit, in order to move forward. You have always been such an example to me how to do just that! Love you for that! ❤ Keep up the great work girlie!

  5. Congratulations for surviving your rehab! I know how grueling it is to learn how to walk again and be able to function like a human being. I send you encouraging thoughts and prayers for your continuing strength and stability.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement!!! Means so much! Enjoy your day friend!

  6. Congratulations on accomplishing so much with all your hard work. We were so fortunate to see our niece who has MS a few weeks ago. She is in a wheel chair now, but she is as beautiful and wonderful as always. We had a marvelous visit with her and her family who assist in taking such loving care of her. I wish you only the very best. 🙂

    • Thank you, Judy, for your kind comment! I have no doubt you and your family are such a joy and breath of fresh air for your niece and family! A new infused medication, Ocrelizumab, is being fast-tracked with the FDA for worsening MS. Clinical trials have shown good results! Stay tuned! 🙂

  7. Jill Wismer

    Dearest Cath, Thank you so much for sharing. What an inspiration you are to the rest of us! God richly used you in this trial as well to impact everyone you came in contact with at Bryn Mawr. Your humor & wit ALWAYS at your side in ALL situations. So glad to have had the opportunity to visit with you there and know that the Lord will be with you each and every step of the way in the all future pitfalls of this life we lead eh? Love you my friend!!!\

    • Oh Jill! Thank you for your sweet comment and encouragement! Means the world to me! One day, one step at a time, all with a bit of humor. Choices! Many patients benefit from just that for sure! I enjoyed our luncheon with you and Bren and for the love shown to my roomie! You guys made her day! Once we finish with PT, she is excited for our roadtrip! Love my girl!

  8. What a trooper! You’ve endured so much and have come out on top. Welcome home, Cath.

    • Thank you Mary! Enjoy your day!

    • Thank you for your kind message, Mary! Good to be back!

  9. Jil LaCroix

    Cathy, you are such a beautiful example of Romans 8:28. I am a good friend of Brendas and have been praying for you. I am so blessed she told me about your blog. Your love, dependence and trust in our precious Jesus is awesome. I am sorry you are going through al, of this. Your life is a true testimony of, when we are weak, He is strong! I will pray for Gods wisdom and knowledge and wisdom for your docs. And for your healing. I hope to meet you some day soon.

    • 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, encouragement and prayers. I would love to meet you some day…stay tuned!

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