I feel like I still have so much to cover from the hospital, but I hope you'll hang in there with me as I kind of go back and forth from past to present. I really want to talk a bit about some of my visitors while I was in "the big house" as my RN friend Kim calls it, but I'll write about today first. Ethan's mom left today and we miss her. It makes us realize that we are just too far away from the northeastern part of the family, but hopefully they'll eventually end up in Carolina part of the year. I was trying to get dressed and had my pants half on when she whooshed in to kiss me goodbye. I said: "I was trying to get my pants on for you first!" But she didn't care and gave me a good squeeze.
I swear, I thought I cried easily before, but ever since surgery, it takes nothing. I'm always crying, sometimes out of gratefulness, sometimes out of some hospital memory. I cried when I got flowers on the porch today from "the barn" (Barnes & Noble co-workers) and a short time later when my friend Barb brought over lasagna with garlic bread AND another dinner of meatball subs. She is amazing! She also brought over her 3 kids plus the 2 she nannies and everyone had a blast (at least until the worst behaved golden, goofy labs from up the hill spotted us and one (Tanner) came bounding over). I swear those huge dogs get out for 5 minutes 3 times a day and that's it. Crazy dogs. The owner is this jerky woman who has no control over them and curses them loud enough so my girls have heard plenty of bad words.. At least the dogs are friendly, right? Or I would have gotten a rifle by now. (Kidding!)
Today was my first occupational/physical therapy appointment. Our insurance covers 30 visits. We went over to VA. Baptist and Ethan & I had the same reaction to being back in a hospital. Dread. We're so through with this, but I gotta do it. Upon walking into the therapy room though, I cheered up -- it's like Romper Room (I'm dating myself, & Ron, a big lollipop just for you!). Or like preschool for adults. All sorts of colorful mats and therabands, and huge rubber balls in primary colors. Board games like Connect Four and Operation. Bells and whistles, wizards behind curtains, and where the schnozberries taste like schnozberries! (for Kimba).
Ellen was the occupational therapist to give me my evaluation. Strength tests, eyesight tests, gripping machines, levels of balance, the three levels of pinching doohickey, and then the cruelest test known to man. The putting pegs in holes box. With my good hand she said I was at 14 seconds, the fastest she had ever measured (thank you! thank you! go big or go home -- woohoo!). Now for the gimpy side. Time seemed to stop. Or at least slow way down. No -- time definitely stopped. I had my left hand on the table trying to pick up a peg...any peg. I just kept pushing them away from me as I was trying to pick one up. My concentration was focused, I probably started to sweat. Just pick one up and put it in the hole Cathy...just one, the rest will come. I tried for so long, I laughed but inside I was so frustrated! Almost, then, nothing. Ethan told me later he was thinking "you got it baby, you got it baby -- oh, you don't. No. Maybe....not. Nope." She eventually had mercy on me but I could not get a single peg in its hole. Ethan said "this is like that box...I finished his sentence: "from Hellraiser". I imagined being tested in front of Pinhead and Chatterbox, failing as they laughed, then damned to hell for all eternity. I told Ellen "get that box away from me!" Otherwise I did pass most of her tests and she will concentrate on my left arm rehab.
The physical therapist was Maureen, and she will be working on strengthening my legs. Though I did not know it, my left leg is significantly weaker than my right. She thinks it is purely from being in bed for so long, not from my surgery. I actually failed most of her tests. She had me walk down a hall, fast, then slow, then fast. Walking while looking up, down, side to side, weaving between green tiles in the floor, stepping over the tiles...noting I dragged my left toe twice (what? how did she catch that?) and stuff like that. She said I was at a high risk to fall down, but that we'd be working on hips, knees, ankles, all of it. It was a revelation to hear that my legs were actually more dangerous than my arm, because I assumed the arm was the main problem.
It was a fun place though, I was the youngest patient by about 30 years, but everyone was in good spirits. I'll be going three times a week and hopefully by the time Ethan goes back to work I can make it up the hill to the girl's bus stop. Otherwise, I may have to ask Mrs. Sharon (the bus driver) to stop at our sidewalk on the way up the hill for a few more weeks.