Waiting for Rock Bottom

Sundays were literally a day of rest in the Rehab unit, they would bring you your meals in your room, if you liked, and there were no therapy sessions. May 27th was a Sunday and I spent it just resting except for a visit with Matt and the boys. They came by after church and took me for “an outing” downstairs to the Tim Hortons, which was as far as we could go. My butt was so sore in the wheelchair that I couldn’t stay very long. The results on my UTI test came back positive, so I was started on antibiotics, but that still didn’t explain completely why I couldn’t pee. They continued to cath me every few hours.

The 28th was Memorial Day and was a therapy day, but with temporary staff again. The therapists I saw that Monday were not the same ones I saw on Saturday nor were they my “real” therapists that I would meet on Tuesday. It was a different set of “fill-in” therapists. I don’t remember anything about the Speech Therapist that day and, after my experience with Andrea, I am kind of happy about that. Although, as I type, I have this sinking feeling–what if I saw Andrea Saturday and Monday and my particularly bad meeting with her was on Monday? Again, go back to my first entry. I can’t promise everything I write is entirely accurate.

The only thing I remember about the OT (Occupational Therapist) is that she wore glasses and that she gave me a worksheet full of letters and asked me to circle all of the “H’s.” I did. Awesome. Gold star. PhD, you know. She took it from me and looked it over. She circled an “H” I missed. Well, I did just have brain surgery. And another. Crap. And another. And a few more.  Then she started telling me about something called “Left Neglect.” Basically, I wasn’t seeing or processing anything to my left. This gets better and better.

The only thing I remember about PT (Physical Therapy) is that my therapist was a man that day and that I spent a good portion of one session crying while he sat there in the awkward way men do when faced with a crying female. I think I saw him later on in my Rehab experience and he told me how great it was to see me doing so well (see, crazy Andrea-therapist, is that so hard?).

At some point I came back to my room to see a bright yellow sign taped to my whiteboard. TOILETING SCHEDULE. Oh Dignity, I remember you fondly. A tech came in and explained that given my trouble “producing” they were going to be scanning my bladder every two hours and cathing me whenever I had more than a certain amount of urine if I couldn’t go on my own. I don’t . . .I can’t . . .there’s not even any . . .so humiliated . . .so ashamed. Really, God? I can’t even pee? I can’t even PEE? I know. I know. Thankful to be alive and all that, but I could really use a break right about now.

A break would not be coming. May 28th is my eldest son’s birthday. In 2012, he turned 7. My husband had planned to take the boys to his favorite restaurant and then to bring a small cake to my hospital room. He was going to call when they were on their way. Early that evening, I was sitting on my bed and my cell phone rang. It was plugged in across the room and I couldn’t get to it. Then the big clunky land line started to ring. I knew it was Matt telling me he was on his way. It was on my rolling tray, just out of reach, only a step away. I stepped.

OH MY GOD I’M FLAT ON MY FACE ON THE FLOOR! I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t reach my bed control with the Call button. I was stuck. I didn’t feel hurt, but there was no way I could get back into bed. After a couple of minutes, I remembered there was a call button on the bedrail. I reached it somehow. “I fell,” I managed when they answered.

In rushed Amy, the nurse that day. “Oh my God, what happened?” she asked as she paged for another pair of hands. Two of them dragged me back up on the bed. I told her about the phone. “It’s always the skinny ones. You guys are wily,” she said.

Then the tech, I don’t remember which one it was, said “at least the skinny ones are easier to move.”

Amy concurred and then looked at me. “Did you think you could walk?”

Ummm. Good question. “I don’t know,” I answered, in the same way my kids answer me when they get caught misbehaving.

Amy shook her head and laughed. “Well, you’re in trouble now,” she joked. At least at the time I thought she joked. I was wrong. “We’ll have to tell Dr. R tomorrow. Did you hurt yourself?” Turns out I had scraped the bottom of my chin. It was bleeding a bit. Amy went to get a band-aid. She came back with a band-aid and something else. It was a white strap, a belt really. “Sorry, Katie, but we’re going to have to put you in a Swedish. It’s protocol whenever someone gets out of bed when they’re not supposed to.” This is what she had:

She belted me into the bed and explained that it was locked and that I couldn’t get out unless they unlocked me. Are you f-ing kidding me? Amy left with apologies. I know she really felt bad about having to do that to me. Amy was one of many awesome nurses, she would joke about finding me on the floor for the rest of my stay in Rehab.

A few minutes later, Matt and the boys arrived. “I tried to call,” Matt said.

I pushed aside my blankets to reveal my brand new Swedish belt. “I know.” I told him what happened. “I’m in trouble. They might kick me out of Rehab. What are we going to do?”

“Bring them cake?” Matt suggested. Excellent plan. I knew there was a reason I married you. He took out the little store-bought cake and I had a sudden flash. It’s my kid’s 7th birthday and he’s in a hospital room with Frankenmommy. This probably sucks for him. I apologized to him. He said it was okay and told me about his new bike, a 20-inch bike, the big time. It would be many long weeks before I saw him ride that bike.

Matt and the boys went down to the Nurses’ Station with half of the cake and Matt apologized for my antics. Later, I talked to my mom on the phone and told her the whole story. I can’t remember if I laughed or cried. I don’t think I did either. By that point, I was just numb. I can hit rock bottom any time now. Really, any time.




4 thoughts on “Waiting for Rock Bottom

  1. Pingback: Banner Day | The Missing Month of May

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