Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday July 7th

Finally I received a full schedule! For it felt like it had been about a week or so since I really had five or more things on my schedule. But, of course today started out with hand group. I ate my breakfast, jumped out of bed and headed for hand group. Thank God, the medicine they got me started on to fight my bladder infection worked like a charm and had me feeling so much better already! We got out into the main area and Mike, the activity coordinator, stopped us to tell us hand group was actually going to be upstairs again on the 9th floor. He also let me know that one of the other patients, a young punk like myself, named Matt, was having trouble getting out of bed and was supposed to be in our group but saying he wasn't going to make it. So, I rolled right over to his room to go harass him and see if I could help him fight whatever he is going through and come and join us for our activity. I got into Matt's room and began asking him what was going on. He also had a bladder infection and was feeling bloated. He mentioned that between the bladder infection and his pain he just wasn't feeling like eating or even getting out of bed. I encouraged him to try as hard as he could to fight it and explained to him I had a bladder infection as well and yesterday was a tough day for me but I just MADE myself get out of bed. I told him by noon or so he would probably be feeling fine. Next, I explained to him that Kalli had gone and gotten me some cranberry pills and those are supposed to help quite a bit as well and asked him if he would like to take some. Right away he said yeah that would be great so I buzzed over to my room, grabbed a handful, and brought them over to him. Continuing to encourage him not to let his poor condition get the best of him. I could tell he wasn't quite going to just pop out of bed and I needed to get going, but I left him with one more thing. I said Matt, don't let the multiple symptoms pile up and all get you down. I was referring to not eating. He was planning on not touching his breakfast at all and I told him if you don't eat then you are going to be hungry and not realize it and you are going to think it is urinary infection and then also you won't have any energy which makes it even harder to try to fight anything. I think coming from me, who had already gone through that, it kind of clicked for him. He said "yeah I will try to eat". So, I just encouraged him to try his best and that I was going to head up there and if he was able to get out of bed in the next half hour or hour he should come upstairs and try to join us.

Kalli and I headed upstairs and when we got up into the activity room, Haley, Mike's intern, was running the activity today. She had purchased several small plants for us to transplant into some nice pots. We used soil and decorative rocks to cover the top. I think I picked the nicest two plants in the whole bunch. It was fairly enjoyable to shovel the soil and decorate with the rocks creating two nice potted plants for my room. After getting my green thumb on we headed back downstairs for an OT session with Diane.

The two of us wanted to focus on a tub transfer so that I could move from my chair into a bathtub for a shower. Unfortunately someone was in the therapy bathroom at the beginning of our time together. So, we sat in the canary room and talked for a little while until the bathroom was available. Diane is actually going to be leaving on vacation for two weeks and I won't see her for a little while. The tub transfer went really well. I was quite easily able to slide board onto the tub chair. Then, the most difficult part was lifting my legs over the tub in order to get them both inside. It pretty much took all the energy I had and was really a great accomplishment.

After I thoroughly exhausted myself in the tub, it was time to push the limits even further with Kate, by far the toughest OT exercise group leader I have had. She pushed and pushed us as we sweated through each move and weight lifting exercise. After a great heart pounding workout it was time to get some chow. While I was in my exercise group some very good family friends of ours, David and Patti Lee, arrived for a two day visit. They decided to get a hotel two blocks away so they could stay overnight and visit with us. So, we all sat down for lunch in the canary room and caught up on how everyone was doing.

My next therapy was to go down to the life center and I asked my mom to come with me with a notebook and pen to take some notes for me. I have been meaning to go down there for a while to get some answers on questions I have pertaining to financial assistance, home re-entry, social security, disability, etc. During the meeting with some of the advisers down in the life center we basically found out our first point of contact needed to be addressed with my case manager Rose.

After the life center I needed to take a leak and I was a little bit past my scheduled time so I was actually breaking into my next scheduled appointment which was with Dr. Grant with psychological services. The meeting was only a half an hour and by the time I got out and done with my business it was almost 3 o'clock, the time in which our meeting would have concluded. So, soon there after I headed down the hall to see if I could find her and she came walking down the hall and said I am so sorry I missed you I was in another meeting and it went much longer than I thought with some pressing issues. I said no problem, no problem I actually needed to take a leak anyway and it sounds like that person needed you more than I would have. So we left it at that and quickly talked about how each of us were doing.

Starting then, I had my last therapy with Carey for a little PT. It has been a week since my last encounter with the tilt table and I certainly wasn't willing to take it on yesterday with the slight lull that I was battling with my bladder infection. But, today I was feeling very strong and said bring it on! So, Carey strapped me to the table and began tilting me up ten degrees at a time. Our session was only a half an hour long and normally we dedicate an hour to getting me up in about twenty five minutes Carey had me at 90 degrees, standing straight up. Our goal for the week was to be able to withstand 10 minutes without losing blood pressure control at 90 degrees. So, once I got all the way up, the clock started ticking. I of course was swinging my arms, doing tai-bo, and acting goofy in order to keep the blood flowing up to my head. I hit ten minutes and we were five or more minutes past our scheduled time. So, even though we didn't go until I was light headed I had hit my goal so I told Carey just let me down I don't want you to be late for your next appointment. It felt great to get one step closer to be able to use the lokomat, which sounds like an incredible machine.

The tilt table was the last activity of the day so the rest of the night was open for whatever. The Lees wanted to take us all out for dinner so we burned some time playing cards in the canary room and headed to Kamehachi, a nearby sushi restaurant that we enjoy. We had a great meal and it was fun to be able to spend time with the Lees. Kalli and I headed home and my mom and the Lees headed to the apartment.

When Kalli and I arrived back at the RIC up pulled Steve, Barb and Anna Wilhelms for a quick visit. They were passing through and took the time to come visit. It was really great to see them again. As we walked inside the RIC Steve asked where is the bathroom I really need to go and proceeded to have one of the largest flatulent I have ever heard come out of a person. Then, we got back from the bathroom he continues to impress us with his trumpet behind. Then, we went up the elevators to show him the 7th floor and all of a sudden Steve's flatulence felt like they were practically coming out of me! Slightly confused and dying in laughter for I couldn't believe Steve was just letting them rip like he was the Wilhelms finally let me in on the joke they were playing with me. Steve had slipped am electronic farting machine with a remote control trigger for making it toot. It was absolutely hilarious and I was so excited to start playing tricks on people here at the RIC. We had a great visit and they headed their way so I could start my nightly routine.

So, I got in bed and Kalli placed the toot machine underneath my bed. Now I had the trigger in bed and for the next 45 minutes I tricked my PCT, roommate, and nurse into thinking I had the worst flatulence a human being had ever experienced. My roommate after 45 minutes of letting them rip became incredibly concerned of my safety and ordered the PCT to get the nurse to help me. Soon thereafter the nurse came with medicine in order to help my gassy situation. Now, the nurse actually had to call a doctor in order to get the pills prescribed for this kind of situation. So, when he started trying to make me take them I finally confessed and showed him my toot machine. The nurse just about shoved the pills down my throat anyway and everybody couldn't believe that they had been had for forty five minutes of me pretending to be in incredible pain from some bad sushi. The whole thing was incredibly hilarious and made for an absolutely hilarious end to the evening. Steve, Barb - thank you so much for the great toy. I know I will have more fun with it tomororw!


  1. Andrew that is a great joke to pull on someone. Larry and I laughed, I actually had a hard time reading the blog to him. We are glad you are getting better from your infection.

    Larry & Katy Connor
    South Bend Indiana

  2. Andrew -- I have tears in my eyes from laughing . . . I don't think I've had such a good belly laugh in a lo-o-ng time. GREAT story on the toot machine!

    SO glad to see that you are up to your old tricks. How great that you could use your experience with the UTI to benefit somebody else.

    You're truly a champion!

    Love, Maureen

    PS: Paul is playing tennis but I will definitely make sure he reads this as soon as he gets home. He'll love it.