I’m pumped

The Littles #8

So, the Pump. That happened. Here’s the short version of the story.

I had the surgery on December 1. After a very surreal 48 hours, I made it to The Rehab. For whatever reason, my own confusion, being given incomplete information, whatever, I was under the impression that I was only going to be there for 2-3 days, maybe a week. When I got there, I discovered that the plan was for me to be there for two weeks. It took me a few days to calm down, understand and accept the plan. I’d been in the hospital for extended lengths of time before, but as an attending parent, never as a patient. It’s a weird place. I gradually discovered that my mental and physical fitness was constantly being evaluated through every interaction with a nurse or a therapist or a doctor. Each morning, my physical and occupational and speech therapy schedule appeared on a white board in my room. This being the short version, I won’t go into the daily details. Suffice to say that when they told me they were considering letting me out a few days ahead of schedule, I buckled down and followed The Rules to the letter.

My body came home on December 15. It took me at least another week to mentally get home. Needless to say, I was totally unprepared for Christmas. What had happened to my body had thrown me for a huge loop. The baclofen being squirted into my spine was removing much of the spasticity, revealing a surprising underlying weakness. I felt I was back to square one. Simply rising out of a chair required a bit of preplanning and a major effort. Walking down the hall was a challenge. I was guarding my spoons like never before. The fact of my disability was unceremoniously revealed to me.

We all know how it goes with continuing physical therapy. They set up a program of exercises, and leave you to do them on your own every day. Which you don’t do. At least I didn’t. But this time has been different. I’m working with some wonderfully inspiring and dedicated therapists, and actually doing the work. Rebuilding my muscle strength will be a long road. And I am unsure how much mobility I will be able to regain, how much hand strength and small motor skill I can recover/build. But for some reason, the idea that doing that work is my Job, just as important as going off to work, has sunk in. I’m looking forward to a long and productive career.


Author: Stephen

Stephen Harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in Maine.

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