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Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's as if I never left

I am sitting in my room at the SLO Transitional Care Center. I am tired but see no real hope to get any rest just yet. My roomie, Bernice, is a confessed television addict and the television in the sitting room is on some kind of game, loudly. My space is nicer than the hospital room I left this morning. It's funny how we expect that, yet the hospital will charge so much more. Seems like they could provide, say, a bathroom equipped for the disabled. The bathroom is sort of equipped but far too small to accommodate anything beyond a walker. tHe bed here is also far better than the one in the hospital. I can sit on it comfortably, and that is what I am doing now. It's a good setup for me with my iPad. I am again dealing with the many blocked websites, though. But I've got that covered this time: my phone has "wifi hotspot" enabled. So neener neener. But perhaps we should go back to this morning, or even last night. I slept all right last night, with the usual interruptions, both from my wanting to go to the bathroom and from hospital folks traipsing in. My favorite was the young woman who came at 4:30 every morning to take my blood. I asked her "why 4:30 am?" and she said that they can get the results to the doc before he comes to see me, in case some change needs to be made in blood thinner. She laughed then, and said she shows up at her other location at 2:30 am. I guess I should have felt better. Every morning I have to work out when to ask for pain meds. If I take them too soon, I may not be fully protected by the time I get into physical therapy. Ideally I should have taken the drugs about an hour before PT. This morning I called for drugs at about 5:45 but got no response. I called again and again and finally got the drugs at 6:15. I knew this could be a problem. And yes, the physical therapist showed at 9:15, right when I was due to take the drugs again. I toughed it out, and it really wasn't that difficult, fortunately. Today was the day to go to my new residence. At first I was told to show up there (here, SLO transitional care) at 12:30. Then, after I had arranged with Maryann to pick me up at 12 noon, they told me no, ten o'clock. I changed arrangements with Maryann and then was told 11:00. I said forget it, I'll just have to ask Maryann to wait. So that's what happened. We sat and chatted and talked a bit with my roommate Natalie. Natalie had a hip replacement and yesterday had some sharp pains and felt a "pop" on the side of her new hip. She screamed each time. When her doc came to see her he said it was nothing, it was "almost impossible" for the hip to be popped out of its socket. But then it happened again and he said let's get an x-ray and Natalie stays another night. And here at SLO TC? It's good. It's very much as I remembered it, and several of the staff members remember me and have been complimentary about how well I am getting around and how good I look. I thought that, because they did remember me, we might have a shorter initiation. NOt to be. The food people asked many questions, the PT person talked forever about his views on therapy (and he explained all of the exercises in his booklet, which I had already gotten and actually used since the last time), the nurse asked more questions and did a "skin check" and got me to sign millions of pages of legal documents. I guess I have given away my home and my first-born. I was finally set free, somewhat, and I made my way to the gathering area outside my room. This is a kind of living room, with tables and chairs and television and a snack table. I was cold, so I brought my book to the couch out there and read for a while. A younger woman came in with a chubby chihuahua. I asked if I could say hi and we got into a long and interesting conversation. She is 40 and a runner and is visiting her father, who has congestive heart failure. She now lives in New York and is returning there Saturday, but is very worried about her father. We talked about New York and heart trouble and a number of other things. The dog is her father's, and was visiting too. That's one of the nice things here: you can bring a dog to visit a patient. There is one woman here, though, who comes with her own assistance dog. It appears that she is there for some sort of respiratory therapy. She walks well enough, gets around easily, and has this dog with her, with his therapy dog vest. It is perhaps a kind of Golden Retriever, very dark though. Very nice dog. BUT. When the chichuahua came in and yipped at the larger dog, this woman pulled the assistance dog away and yelled at him, hit him, and told him unkindly to lie down. I could then understand why this beautiful dog walks the way she does - submissively. Later Maryann noticed that he (or she) is wearing some sort of choke collar as well. Assistance dogs are so well trained that I cannot think of any excuse for this collar other than the pure ignorance of this woman. It makes me upset every time I see her now. ANd I, without any dogs of my own and with no training degrees, can hardly step in and demand that she not do these things. I could, but it would do no good. As for getting any work done here: the occupational therapist talked a whole lot about what she does (and she knows that I know what she does) and kept telling me about how we'd be doing things that, frankly, I have been doing forever. She did not seem to understand that I really do not need her at all. I have dealt with knee pain for years. I have worked things out. I am hoping she bows out very quickly so I can catch up on my reading. But seriously. I've been reading quite a lot, in spite of interruptions. I released a book at the book cart in French Hospital, and got a very big thank you from the woman who manages the cart. Embarrassing. Just think if I'd given her two or three! I walked into SLO TC using my cane, and by doing so I have set the stage. I think I will move quickly. I really am hoping for some greater reduction in swelling, almost more than anything else. Oh, did I mention my flex is up to 100 degrees? Wooo!!!

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