After the high turnover of patients during the weekend, I asked the nurse come Monday morning whether a date for my discharge from the hospital had been set. I didn’t need to wait long. My doctor, after consulting my rehab team, decided that I would be discharged on Wednesday. Since the hospital was overly busy that week, he also told me that my discharge assessments would be done that morning. That last Monday in hospital was an astounding day. Coincidentally, I happened to work with the same physio who got me standing in that disastrous first 48 hours post-op and the nurse team looking after me were the same from my first full day at the rehab hospital.
The physio came first. I knew that my normal physio was away on holiday, but I was not expecting James when he walked into my room. He smiled immediately when he saw what I was doing. I was standing. When I saw him enter the room, I sat down to put my shoes on, putting my ankle foot brace on my right leg by myself; James continued to stand speechless. He couldn’t believe how much progress had been made in four weeks. We started walking and he commented upon how I was walking much more easily. We started the assessment with a 10 second test. I had to walk from one point to another while James timed me. I walked the short distance in exactly ten seconds. A third of the time that it had taken me the day I was transferred to the rehab hospital. He tested my movement on the stairs and I was able to finish going up and down the four stairs. He tested the sensation and movement of my right leg and saw that I had recovered not only some of the reflexes in my right leg, but movement in my right foot as well. He was staggered. He didn’t expect so much progress so quickly considering the nerve damage that had been done. Hearing from the physio, who was present at the beginning of this story, that he was encouraged by my progress was encouraging to me. While each day looked the same here in rehab and there seemed to be little improvement as the days progressed, what James saw was the sum of all the small steps and the progress I had made surpassed his expectations.
Similarly, my nurse that afternoon asked me if I remembered that first day in rehab. I remembered all too well. The nurse observed that not only had my movement improved, but my demeanour had changed as well. The prospect of going home after four weeks in hospital will do that, as well as more sleep! But she too was happy with my progress and told me that I should be pleased as well.
There were times I questioned whether I should be in rehab. That first night of no sleep and the decision to discharge if the situation did not change, or when the ten day mark had passed and being told that I would be staying for the month. I knew that I needed to work on my recovery, but a question lingered in my mind. Could I just get on with my life, enjoy the semester break, while continuing my rehab as an outpatient? But the comments of the physio and the nurse team helped me to realise that the time I had spent in rehab had not been wasted. I wouldn’t have made this much progress if I had slowed down my rehab program as an outpatient.