Life Turned Upside Down

Spiritual Smart Aleck


It has been an interesting couple of weeks.

On my birthday I went to a birthday brunch with friends who also had birthdays recently, or at least in the last year when we couldn’t gather to celebrate anything.

It was a fine time and we broke it up a little after noon. As I was walking out the back door I turned to wave good-bye to Dona Bradley, and when I turned back, I swear I could feel my balance leaving my body from the top of my head.

I fell, and landed hard on my lower back on the concrete floor.

Dona sat by me and held my hand until the aid car came and took me away. She also got Michael Shapiro to drive my car and my dog back to my house.

Thank you, Dona and Michael.

I went to the Swedish ER on Capitol Hill, where they took one x-ray, told me nothing was broken, and sent me home. Friends Becky and Erin picked me up. Thank you, Becky and Erin.
I spent the next four days bedridden and in pain, and on Sunday my son Drew and I decided I needed to go to the Highline ER to get a second opinion.

The Highline ER did indeed have a second opinion following a CT scan. My Lumbar 3 vertebra had a compression fracture.

Well, no wonder it hurts. They gave me a prescription for Percocet and sent me home.
On the following Thursday I foolishly tried to transfer from my bed to the commode without assistance. Long story short, I ended up on the floor again, and my friends Sonya and Tara decided it was time to call the aid car. Again.

So they did. Thank you, Sonya and Tara.

So back I went to the Highline ER. This time I was admitted and stayed there five days, until they found a place for me to do rehab. They made pain management their mission while I was there. Thank you, Dilaudid and Percocet.

Brief note: Highline Hospital is now St. Anne Hospital. CHFranciscan purchased Highline and changed the name, because all their hospitals are named for saints.

You remember Franciscan, don’t you? They ran the clinic on the island at a loss until they decided to cut us loose and left us without a clinic for a few months. With the money they saved they were able to make and run videos about how caring and compassionate they are.

Anyway –
Last Tuesday I was transferred to Wesley Homes Healthcare, in Des Moines, where I remain.
Now I sink more deeply into how life has changed. I cannot walk, I cannot stand alone. The goal here is to get me strong enough to be back on my feet.

I am to do no bending, twisting, or lifting.

I am at the mercy of many people who do not know me. They are good caregivers, but what I realized quickly is that everyone has their own way of doing things, and most people are not in the habit of putting things within the reach of the disabled person. I wrote about this on my Meal Train (Thank you, Deb Pierce McCabe) page yesterday:
After five days  in the hospital on the “diabetic diet” which they interpreted as 100% bland, I am now a resident at Wesley Homes in Des Moines.

So now I begin to understand why no one wants to end up in one of these places.

For example, I said I wanted my CPAP machine set up. Someone set it on the nightstand, in pieces, considered their job done, and left.

Talking to another aide, I repeated that I would like to have my CPAP machine set up. She went over to the nightstand and put the pieces together, patted it proudly, and left.

Then I asked for someone to plug it in and put water in the reservoir. An aide came in and I said, “the cord is right there on the counter.” I even pointed.

He walked over to the nightstand, picked the machine up and looked at it, and said to me, “I have no cord.”

“It’s right there behind you on the counter!” I said. He turned, said, “Oh,” plugged the machine in and left.

When I am feeling up to it, I’ll try to get someone to put water in the reservoir.

So I am in rehab for the time being and I do not know when I’ll be fit enough to return home. Stay tuned.