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the Long and the Short of it part two

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Yeah. Here I am,ninety days or so after leaving the “convalescent center”,still occasionally short of breath,wearing a tube in my nose with fifty feet of frequently-tangled green cord trailing me around the apartment,with a boarder that drives me bananas,and I call it progress.
Gad. The recovery can take up to a year,or so I’ve been told…and it is possible that I may have this chalupa in my snout until the end of my stomping on this terra. The boarder for somewhat less time. That’s just until either my dear D. gets a decent job situation or social security finally makes a decision,or both.
I have an appointment with the SSI/SSD doc next Tuesday. They are notorious homers and will lie for their cause,a feat for which they are no doubt paid handsomely and allowed to continue to dispense pharmaceuticals. You can tell I’m very hopeful. Plans are already in place to seek legal counsel and appeal. Yay.
The topic sentence had to do with the nursing home,so let’s get right at that:I arrived at 5 pm on a Friday night,with no chance of being set to eat real food until the following Monday. The aide who brought me in had been working on cars or something and reeked of gasoline. His hands were clean,and he was very nice,extremely helpful…but my senses were working overtime,to make up for my lack of mobility.
I was placed in a nice cozy bed,and a tray was brought in,some baby-food looking stuff that tasted as bad as it looked. Didn’t have much appetite then,so no big deal. D was there,of course. I couldn’t feed myself,so she spooned me some of the vile stuff until I felt like I would gag.
She left a couple of hours later,and I cried myself to sleep. I really missed the use of my arms and legs and the ability to get a decent meal.
The place had a lightbulb system to summon an aide,but it wasn’t working,so I was given a cowbell. Supposedly I could shake the thing day or night and someone would come running. That didn’t get tested that first night as I had some kind of attendant in during every waking moment (or would be awakened as soon as they arrived).
Places like that should be called “take drugs”homes because there’s very little rest involved. Every four hours I underwent a breathing treatment,and my vitals were taken at irregular intervals. I took to sleeping away part of D’s visits because I was A) exhausted and B) Nobody would bother me when she was around.
Dynamite comes in small packages. D is @5’1″. You do the math.
The rest of the weekend was much the same,except for the gas smell. The CSNs and nurses and such were nice people and mostly seemed competent,if harried. Nursing homes are usually understaffed.
Monday I met more staffers,was asked many questions,got poked and prodded and all. Remember that I was immobile and probably still withdrawing from the opiates that had been pumped into me until the previous week. Everything was a blur. I was real emotional and cried a lot,and then would have to ring the bell to get the salt off of my face and out of my eyes,which galled me. I could move my arms all of about one foot,and pick up objects weighing less than a pound,though nay real manipulation was out of the question.
It was then that I set my goal,which was to play my guitar on the porch,in the sunshine,and put something good on the grill. I decided this while talking to someone…I think one of the administrators. Good goal.
The speech therapist came in and pronounced me fit to eat certain foods,which didn’t necessarily have to be pulped. That was a plus. He then brought me a bowl of soup,which was wonderful. D arrived during this time (at that time she came @9 am),and the s.t. scurried away.
The next time,he brought her a bowl too. That was very kind,I think. Time passed. I ate,slept,cried when I was alone. Shat the bed once when I couldn’t get an aide to come for a couple of hours.
Physical therapy came in and got my legs working a little,which made for many entertaining moments when I developed restless leg syndrome and kept pushing myself into awkward positions. Csns would have to come in and pull me up. This happened a LOT. I was happy about it,though,because my legs were getting better fast. No core strength,but I could dance in place,lying there.
The second week,Denise started having me try to feed myself. That was tiring. My arms were next to useless,and pt wasn’t doping anything about them.
At night,when I couldn’t sleep due to the frequent interruptions,I would exercise. Move my legs around,tent my knees. I took to working on my arms. Stretch them,try to get some range of motion. Got to where I could wipe my own face and feed myself more accurately. Kept at it. Didn’t cry so much anymore.
Got to really hate the tracheostomy tube,which interfered with my attempts to turn over or to lie in any position other than flat on my back. My heinie was getting sores. Pillows didn’t help.
By the end of the third week,I was able to move my arms around,and would flap them and wave in circles by the sides of the bed. I could now operate the controls,and did. Not without misadventure,mind you. Aides were summoned frequently…though I found that they often weren’t around my area due to two of the other residents at that end of the hall,who I took to calling “tinkerbell”because the guy would ring his bell every ten minutes,all night long,and the “help me woman”because she would cry out asking for someone to help her,often at the same time that tinkerbell was doing his Salvation Army impression (I hollered out to him once that he should apply for a Santa job-just couldn’t take it anymore).
I discovered that they were doing this just for attention,didn’t really need the help,by listening to their requests. Contemptible,I thought. Pathetic. Crying wolf has to backfire sometime.
That was my routine,for several weeks. Constant interruptions of sleep,anxious times waiting for D to arrive. The food wasn’t so bad. Not great,but not as bad as first appearances would seem to have indicated. One Saturday night was French Bread Pizza with pepperoni. That was quite good,or so I remember.
Toward the end of the month,beginning of the second one,I was moved to another room. That’ll start the next chapter…when I resume.

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