I slept in my own bed last night for the first time in nearly a month.
It felt strange not having a nurse walk in at 5AM looking to take my vitals or make me swallow a handful of pills.
I didn’t have to listen to my roommate’s television blaring out quiz shows, infomercials, and football player interviews at all hours of the day and night, and I didn’t have to suffer through the pre-dawn shrieks of “Help! Help! Help!” from that crazy old bastard across the hall.
There are no more daily rehab classes with those wonderful people in the gym, no more hospital meals, and no more blood tests. And I don’t have to wear those hospital gowns anymore.
That’s all behind me, God willing, and now my rehab begins at home.
I came out the hospital on Saturday the same way I went in—riding in the back of an ambulance. The two lovely crew members rolled me out into the blistering cold weather—my first taste of outside air in weeks--loaded me up into the bus, and zipped over to my street.
The only view I had of the world during the ride was through a pair of caduceus-branded rear windows. Lots of snow out there.
I live in a three-story walk-up and I got the chance to practice the stair-climbing technique the rehab staff taught me during my stay. It went pretty well, if I say so myself, except for one misstep near the top. And the ambulance people were right on top of me at the first sign of trouble.
“I know you’re going to get better,” one of them said on the way out.
This Tired Old Body
My apartment is frozen in time, virtually untouched since December 14, the day I wrecked both my knees after a pair of falls in the snow.
I’m still wearing the massive braces my doctor first put on my legs after the surgery and I have to see him in three weeks where—I hope—he’ll open them up 45 degrees. I’m praying that by spring I’ll be able to sit down and walk normally.
I’m can’t leave my house now, given the hideous weather and my constricted condition. My poor sister is running around town doing all the simple tasks I used to do for myself, like shopping and dropping off the laundry.
I have to do everything in slow motion--getting up, sitting down, walking around the apartment—things I once did without thinking now require planning and extreme care.
I’m still wearing my yellow hospital bracelet that tags me as a “Fall Risk.”
Going to the bathroom is a challenge when you can’t bend your knees and I have to skip the shower in favor of a body wash at the sink since I can’t get these braces wet.
I’m trying not to do the “Poor Me” routine, but it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been screaming at my computer all morning in response to several failed attempts to log onto my bank account. I suspect that some of my neighbors would’ve preferred I stayed in the hospital.
I’m trying to remind myself that there are people in much worse shape than I am, including several folks I saw nearly every day at the rehab gym. Anger and self-pity will only slow me down, but those sons-of-bitches are so hard to resist.
I have a lot to do going forward, but right now I’ll focus on the immortal words of John Denver and remind myself that, hey, it’s good to be back home again.