This week just completed was quite significant for my sister-in-law. She continues to improve on a daily basis although she would argue this point. She’s been in the Surgical Ward for just over one week now and in that time has had her tracheostomy removed and is functioning completely independently of all machines. Her blood pressure has stabilized, her appetite has improved and her body has commenced healing to the satisfaction of all the doctors and nurses charged with her care. The doctor is preparing to move her over to the Rehabilitation Ward in the hospital; this should occur in the next couple of days.
The rehabilitation process will not be an easy one. Her memory of the events leading up to the state she is in is limited. She doesn’t really comprehend how ill she was and for how long and what the physical outcomes were. That doesn’t mean she has lost any mental capacity, it just means it’s still all a blur to her. I think a number of people have tried to prepare her for the hard work that she will be required to put in to get back to full independence. As of this point in her recovery my sister-in-law has been required to stand supported by a walker, for as long as she is capable of, and also to sit in a chair. Both these activities drain her strength completely. She feels nauseous as a result of the strain of moving or standing. She’s woozy if she stands too long.
I suspect that we will have lots of tears, anger and frustration as she moves through the rehabilitation phase. The rehab staff will push her to determine what her limits are and whether they should push her a little harder. In this case the anger and frustration will likely fuel her determination to get out of there faster. I can hardly wait to hear the nicknames she develops for the rehab folks, she’s had some doozies for the nurses where she is now – “Evil”, “Jekyll”, “Dropkick” – and the explanations behind each moniker are priceless and likely heavily influenced by the drugs she was prescribed during this time. As I left her tonight I took a picture of her to share with my hubby, he hasn’t seen her for over a month. It was a great photo ( even she was pleased with it) and providing visual evidence of her improvement to my husband lifted his spirits tremendously.