Today was mom's first full day of rehabilitation and Chloe and I spent about 5 hours with her. I really liked all the staff. All the therapists seemed very engaging and truly seem to want mom to succeed and do well. Before we had gotten there, mom had had an intial Occupational Therapy (OT) meeting where they got the basic idea of what mom was able and not able to do. Mom was telling me how nice her therapist Ben was and introduced me to him. We also went outside for a bit to look at the grounds. There's a really pretty flower garden and mom enjoyed being in the sun and fresh air. After our walk, we went back inside and had lunch with her.
After lunch, mom had an afternoon packed with therapy. She will receive a daily schedule and the therapists will rotate and work on various things with her. Mom was wearing a Bates Hendricks t shirt and one of the physical therapists said she lives very close to mom and was familiar with her neighborhood. I saw mom's eyes light up as they discussed their area of town.
During mom's Physical Therapy (PT), I watched as the therapist helped with the aide of a gait belt and mom was able to walk a small lap around the gym with a walker. It was so wonderful to see! The therapist said that, even though it was only her initial meeting with mom, she doubted mom would need a walker when she leaves. Wahoo. She suggested it may just be a temporary cane which is fantastic.
The therapists all encourage family to watch in the gym and are very accommodating. Mom also walked up and down a staircase (4 steps) with the aide of one therapist and rode an exercise bike for over one mile.
After her third session, mom was in more pain so they took her back to her room and her nurse came and gave pain medicine. Then mom was off for her last half hour of therapy. We had about a 20 minute wait until her scheduled time and I could tell mom was getting really uncomfortable in the wheelchair. She says she wishes she could just get up and walk outside to her car and she doesn't understand why her body doesn't want to cooperate. I have tried to fill in bits and pieces of the last three weeks but I don't want to overwhelm her. She also tends to forget a lot of what I say so I keep details to a minimum unless she asks. One of her therapists asked her why she had back surgery, asking if she had been in an accident or something. Mom had a slightly confused look on her face and said "Heather can tell you better than I can." I know she knows she had an infection but she still gets confused on details, especially because the doctors initially thought it was just a ruptured disc.
Every single therapist continues to reiterate "No BLT" which means no bending, lifting, or twisting. They are teaching her new ways to get into and out of bed and chairs. They have tought her how to put on shoes and socks and I suppose they will move on to clothing and bathing soon.
I met mom's care coordinator who was also very nice. He informed me that mom's team will have a meeting on her this Friday morning and he will be calling me afterwards to update me on her progress and to give us an idea how long they think she will stay. He ended up talking to mom for a few minutes as he also lives in her area of town.
Moms last therapy appointment focused on taking mom back to her room, helping her to the restroom and then to bed and she was saying she was exhausted. Every person we met told mom the first two days are the hardest and she will be very tired. I know this is difficult for mom but I also know she's in the right place. We want her to be pushed so that she can get home as quickly and safely as possible.
All staff are aware of mom's meds and the pain she has had. She is now complaining of pain all along her right leg and her ankle was swollen today. The doctor came by and ordered an X-ray of her ankle, just to be on the safe side. Mom had her xray in the afternoon but we haven't heard any results. My guess is, if it was something broken, we would have heard right away. The doctor and the therapists think it's nerve pain from mom's lower back surgery and I know this worries mom. I can tell she's scared she'll always have it. I think it's too early to be able to tell one way or the other and I suggested mom ask for a higher dose of gabapentin (her nerve pill) to see if it would help to ease some of the ache. Gabapentin is not a sedative and is specifically for nerve pain. I know mom is on a low dose so it couldn't hurt to go up a bit. I also know that mom will probably not remember to ask the doctor in the morning. She still is confused about things that I'm used to her being very sharp on. I'm thinking she's still coming out of a huge fog.
Mom did get teary eyed while waiting for her final therapy this afternoon. I can't imagine the pain she still feels and I think the totality of what has happened is becoming more relevant to her. Chloe and I put up all her cards today and we brought a CD player so she could listen to music in her room. She seemed to really love that idea. I also printed all the comments from her blog and stapled them together so she can read them any time she wants
Mom has a better attitude than I probably would and I'm so proud of her.