Part 6 – Home

I was released from the hospital on September 15th. For the 5 days immediately following my accident, my main view had been the hospital ceiling. It felt a bit weird to be riding in a car. I was so happy to be going home, but I was nervous at the same time. My parents would still be here for a while to help, but there seemed like there were a lot of unknowns. We have unavoidable stairs in our house, how would I manage those? Would the chair we borrowed be comfortable? Would I be able to sleep? How would the brace changing go? Clothing changes, cleaning up, meals?…

Being home definitely had some new challenges, but each day seemed to get a little easier. I was supervised on every trip up and down stairs for the first few weeks. The chair was comfortable to sit in for most of the day. Thankfully I slept pretty well overnight. I did wake up almost every morning with low back spasms that were quite debilitating. This was an unexpected complication as I had not experienced this in the hospital. Mornings were very painful, and slow for a while. I was also experiencing side effects from the pain medication. I had weened myself off of the prn percocet in the hospital, and not long after I got home, I started to taper off of the long acting pain meds. I will not go into detail about the side effects, but I will say I had a hard time eating, it made things very uncomfortable, and I was extremely frustrated. I was highly motivated to be off any pain medication and luckily my pain, besides the morning spasms, was significantly decreasing as the days went on. My parents, and Gary were extremely accommodating, understand, and compassionate. Some days were more challenging than others, and I shed a few tears out of pure frustration. I felt bad letting my family see me getting sad because I knew how hard everyone was working to make my life easier, and more comfortable, but sometimes I just felt so defeated. However, overall progress was still being made daily. My mom went home at the end of the week, and my dad stayed for the following week. My dad and Gary worked out the brace changing to perfection. This included precise positioning, and marking indicators on the brace to be consistent on strap placement and tightness. We developed specific strategies for clothing changes, and figured out which types of clothing worked best with the brace. Gary installed a remote controlled light for his office and upstairs. We adjusted the timing of when I took my muscle relaxants to try to help ease the morning muscle spasms. I tried a TENS unit, and different placement of pillows under my legs when I slept. Being home became easier every day. My sister came down on September 26th to spend the weekend and bring my dad home.  They both left on the afternoon of September 28th and to much of everyone’s relief almost all of the kinks and wrinkles had been worked out.

Since then, home has become much more comfortable. I move around my house very well, and I no longer have any muscle spasms in the mornings. I can tell when I have been more active throughout the day, as I seem to have more back pain and tingling towards the end of the day.  I have been completely off all of my scheduled medications for about a month. Occasionally I will take a flexeril before I go to bed at night, but that happens maybe once a week. When I was in the hospital the thought of coming home felt like a new kind of freedom. I am very glad to be in the comfort of my house now, but as time goes on it feels less and less like freedom. I am a little bit stuck here. I really shouldn’t complain because I do have visitors almost every day, and I do get out to go for walks, or breakfast, lunch, dinners… even bourbon tours! I do find myself dreaming about the day I get to wake up, shower on my own, get ready for work, drive to work, do my job for a full day, go work out… I have always loved my job, but who would have thought that going to work would feel like freedom?! I suppose I took so many things for granted before my accident. Maybe that means I will be more appreciative afterwards. I hope so. I know of one thing that I can’t stop thinking about…a full shower. Oh to be able to stand under hot running water for minutes on end…that would be my idea of bliss right now. Whoever you are reading this right now, please fully enjoy that shower that you take first thing in the morning, or right after a workout. Enjoy it for me, I beg of you.

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