On Monday night I both sleep well and horribly. The sleep that I get is both restfull and deep but I have a long period of no sleep. Breakfast is, of course, not vegetarian as it has some sausage - fortunately separated from the rest of the food that I can eat. During the day I see the physical therapists and keep them laughing as I walk three times farther than I did yesterday (with a cane). And we practice getting in and out of chairs. From the walking I have a good sweat going. About an hour later the occupational therapist comes by and I get to brush my teeth, learn to put on clothes with my current injuries and limits, and I give myself a washcloth bath to clean up. Now I'm tired and I quickly eat lunch and finish watching the Moto3 race from Japan. It takes me three sepratte viewing time widnows to watcht the race because the first gets intrrupted by the appearance of the PT people and the second gets interrupted by the OT people. With each of these interruptions I show the teams a lap or two of the race but I cannot get them addicted. I just warn them that if they hear yelling and screaming coming from the area, they should know it is me cheering on my favorite riders. As we go through the occupational and physical therapy programs, I maintain a "can do" attitude and never pass up a chance to try another thing. After today's session I fall into a deep sleep. When I wake up dinner is already present and it contains rice, torillas, carrots, and pork. The paperwork that comes with dinner says rice, torillas, carrots, and blackbeans. But its pork. And I ask the lady when she takes it away and she agrees it is pork. She says she'll mention it to the staff. Later the head of physical therapy comes in and we have a discussion. He says he's read my file and heard about my attitude, so he offers to put me into a four times per day, 45 minute intense physical therapy session to make rapid progress. I accept and look forward to the sessions though I have to change rooms again to be placed into the intense therapy sessions. At night I just answer text messages and read the news.
On Wednesday, four days after the accident, I start four hours of OT/PT per day. This is fairly brutal on me - not the pain level, but the effort. The body is trying to use all of its energy to reapir all of the damage and now I'm trying to make it do fours of exercise per day.
On one night have terrible sleep with nasty dreams and hallucinations. I cannot tell when I'm awake and when I'm asleep. I figure there is nothing that I or anybody else can do except to take some deep breaths and "go with it". Nonetheless the next day I'm very worn out.
I think on Thursday one PT session involves going outside with the wheelchair and walking with my cane in the outdoors. This is an incredible feeling. And it's enhanced as Marco, the PT for this session, is telling me about a vacation he and his wife took to an ancestral villa in Southern Italy this past summer. Maybe Marco is also a psychologist because him taking me outside and plying me with the story of his incredible trip makes me want to work harder.
On both Thursday and Friday I again have four OT/PT sessions of about an hour each. I keep getting yelled at for using my right arm at all, since we're still waiting for an MRI on the right shoulder, but the OT and PT teams see that I am doing averything they ask and I even ask for more. Finally near the middle of Friday I ask the OT and PT teams if I can have "limited permission" to get out of a chair and walk back and forth to the bathroom unattended. I tell them that I will still ring for help getting in and out of bed since I have a bit of trouble (only) getting into bed. The team talks it over and grants me this permission. I'm happy that they can see the progress that I'm making and that they've gained my trust. Throughout Friday I watch F1 FP2 from Singapore and Both MotoGP and Moto2 FP2 from Thailand. And I finally get the right shoulder MRI and hopefully we'll see what is going on up there.
I'm awake at 6:30 on Friday morning when the nurse walks in and says that I have my first PT session of the day at 8am. I let the news sink in and then get out of, use the bathroom, brush my teeth, make the bed covers, get dressed, have breakfast, and wait for the PT person to arrive. I've done extra things like make the bed dcovers to show that I can do these things on my own. Today I have 3 PT sessions and 1 OT session - I get a good workout today. During one of the sessions, a PT who whas worked with me for a few days metnions the word "home" in her discussion with me and I get excited becuase this indicates my going home is on a short horizon. A new PT therapist, almost as old as I am, lets me get on the stationary bicycle and ride for 30 minutes or so because we share a lot of common background. And then I climb up and down a couple of steps a few times to get started learning that skill. Ruby, Joseph, and Lisa come to visit - overloading my allowed visitor list by one - and we have a good visit. I tell them that the black and blue mark on me extends from the middle of my back, down the lower back, downt the glutes, down the upper leg, and finally stops at the knee. I've never seen anything like this before. And yet the pelvis is not really giving me much pain and I specifically ask the nurse to reduce my pain medication and let's wsee what happens. All of the therapists and nurses are trusting in me (and I in them) so they let me break some of the softer rules.
Sunday is a slow day since there is no onnupational therapy or physical therapy. I've told the therapists that i'll go peddalling the wheelchair around the place. Since there is no OT or PT, I decline the pain relief medication for the day. We've noted that my second IV drip is leaking after only 36 hours so they come to put in another stnet/valve in my arm. the first lady hits my vein and it collapses. So she calls a collegaue and she finds another spot on the back of my right forearm and gets one installed. We hope this will be a better spot rather than the crook of the albow which gets flexxed a lot. Later I take the wheelchair and pedal around for a while, but I note that they must have waxed the floors overnight and I have a hard time getting traction. I even have to go backwards up the smallest incline in the floor. After a while I go back to my room - at least I've gotten up and got some exercise. And just walking around my legs are stiff probably from the last two days of hard work and no pain mediciation today. At mid-afternoon Ralph and Lanana come to visit and we have a good time. I'm appreciative of everyone rallying around me. And finally I watch the F1 race from Singapore as I try to delay and prolong the fun events as much as I can during my hospital stay.
Monday is going to be a tough day. I end up having three consectuive physical therapy sessions (with no break) and then a final one in the afternoon. One of the PTs says something like, "What would you think about going home this week?" And I certainly get excited and then give us an assignment that I should be able to get up by myself if I fall alone at home. The PTs are shocked that I would require this difficult task and we start working on it today. I'm also disappointed (again) when the imaging doctor comes by and says they haven't read my MRI from Friday yet. Reading the MRI of my right shoulder will tell us what is wrong with the shoulder and help us select exerrcises to strengthen it (so that I can use it to get up off the ground after a fall). This MRI debacle is holding my potential discharge up. Nonetheless it was a day of hard work and I'm sure I'll be extra sore and stiff on Tuesday (but hopefully not in pain).
I have super sleep on Monday night into Wednesday morning - probably a combination of hard physical therapy sessions, no opioids, and the new anti-inflammatory. I get up and make the bed and get dressed and get my blood drawn and take my medicines and eat breakfast and get ready for another day of physical therapy. The first session just involves safely taking a shower while disabled. The remaining three sessions are concentrated on being able to get up off the floor after and accidental fall when I've been released from the hospital. This is hard work and and I even lay in bed and try to take a nap to rest for the final session. There are two doctor visits and everyone is now talking about a Friday discharge date. So I'm excited. With each visit I try to draw the visitor into watching the Moto3 race from Buriram, Thailand, but most are not interested. Their loss. When dinner arrives the receipt says black beans, but it is pork (as happened last week). I managed to catch my Philippina friend who delivers the food and she confirms that it is pork and says that she will rectify the situation. She ends up bringing me both a diet Pepsi and Pepsi, extra vegetables, extra rice, and a vegetable soup - probably two dinners worth of food. I continuously thank her profusely but I can tell that she is just happy to make me happy. This has been the situation for a majority of the physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and staff throguhout the hospital.
I don't sleep well on Tuesday night into Wednesday. More than anything else, I think the lack of sleep is due to lack of exercise. The physical therapy and occupational therapy sessions wear me out, but they are not the same as cycling or running. Today my nurse is from Tanzinia so I am able to practice some Swahili with her. Because I know very limited Swahili, but know some, Faraja and I become fast friends and she keeps checking on me to see if I need anything. Nonetheless on Wednesday I've pictured in my mind how to get up off the floor at home (assuming I've had an accidental fall). And when I can actually perform the three step maneuver in the lab, the PTs are happy. I'll have to practice it a bit, but I think it was the last thing I needed to be able to do before I can go home. Near noon I watch a fun, if completely rain-interrupted and rain shortened, Moto2 race from Buriram, Thailand and relax. And I also note the reactions of many nurses and physical therapists who come into my room and read my progress board where I've written "Okay to walk to liquor store".
On Wednesday and Thursday I keep making progress with the occupation therapy and physical therapy. By Thursday I am able to easily get up off the floor without using the right arm. So now it looks like I'm going home on Friday.
Friday comes along and I get out of bed, make the bed (though the nurses can do it), take a sponge bath, get dressed and prepare everything for today's discharge. I have one more PT meeting and then I'm discharged near noon. Ruby picks me up and we go home and toss out spoiled food and make a list for grocery shopping. Ruby takes me to the pharmacy to fill all of my (temporary) prescriptions and then we go shopping at Vons. I insist on pushing the cart because the OT people showed me how to do it and it takes the place of the cane. Though I certainly still have the cane with me. Besides walking along and pushing the cart, I'm pretty tired at the end of shopping. And, of course, my favorite cashier is there and she comes running over wondering where I've been. It starts with the bicycle accident, but Ruby soon spins it into something with the gringo and pole dancing down in Tijuana. Everybody within a 15 meter radius is chiming in and laughing hard. And then Ruby and I go home and put the food away. We take a rest and then go to Mod Pizza nearby. I cannot describe how incredible the first taste of a fresh veggie pizza is after thirteen days of hospital food. Finally Ruby dumps me back at home.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are getting acclimated to moving around my house, cooking, cleaning dishes, doing the laundry and other household taks with my current disability. Each day I do occupational therapy and physical therapy exercises on my own (since the home health care service hasn't caught up to me yet). And there is a rain-delayed and wet Japanese F1 race from Suzuka which is always fun to watch.