On the spur of the moment I came up with a wild goal of getting to my work Christmas party on January 21st. I then told my Physio and OT that this was going to be my goal right after the Christmas holiday.
Step 1: The Car Transfer
Up to this point I was barely able to slide on a varnished board but I gave it my everything to be able to do that. However, in doing that my muscles started to build more rapidly and I was moving on to being able to stand using a two wheel walker, and walking a little with it with a physiotherapist. We had arranged an afternoon with my step-father that had a higher vehicle to get into to try with Physio to get the okay to go. The day I picked turned out to be a quite warm day for January and in one try I was able to get in and place myself in the sea. I couldn’t get my own seat belt on myself but it looked promising.
Step 2: Arrange tickets
My coworkers were visiting me in the hospital regularly and I got them to arrange to get me a ticket and my parents a ticket as well, and it was to be kept a very tight secret which is almost impossible to do with closeness of the people I work with.
Step 3: Not arrive naked
Up to this point I had not needed any clothes so I was just wearing Johnnies and pyjama pants most days. I had to arrange my sister to bring me clothes. She got me everything I needed. I had also been working for weeks trying to be able to move enough to pull it off.
It was really funny the nurse helping me with the buttons as my fingers were still very week. I was nervous of having to use the bathroom while out.
Step 4: Arrange for my parents to bring me
This should have been the easy part but my anxiety made it the hardest part. Fortunately they were on board and I arranged for them to be able to go as well, which they enthusiastically agreed to do.
Operation a success!
It then became the night of the party. I arranged to get picked up after dinner as it was the best time to have the nurses get me ready to go out with the limited help I still needed. I was just starting with a walker a bit in therapy, but the most part I was wheelchair bound. With the help of my mother I made my way down to the waiting car. It was pretty cold and the temperature hit me as I had left the hospital for the first time since September (almost 4 months).
At this point my tentative release date was just a few weeks away and this was a real challenge to see my progress. We drove around for a bit as I had about 2 hours to kill before the party. So many things had looked different but quite the same. I was so happy to at least be home. If I had stayed in Brampton, or even if I was transferred to rehab at the Stan Cassidy Centre in Fredericton I don’t think I would have been as motivated for this as I was and it was a goal that pushed me forward and give hope that more was possible.
I waited fashionably late to arrive, almost a half hour after the doors opened. Mainly to have more people there to get a bigger welcoming. Much of what I do is plotted for maximum effect. The ramp was in the back door and the key people in on the secret met me and I transferred out of the car and into the wheelchair and I entered the legion hall.
So many people came up to me to see how I was doing it was incredible! The buffet began and I waited in line. My mother helped me, and everyone tried to help me. I really wanted to try and see what I could do but no one was letting that happen.
Eventually, I did manage to ditch everyone and made a solo run to the buffet. I had lots of trouble with the nachos and squeezing thongs.
I danced as much as I could in my chair and had a great time. I eventually needed to use the washroom and managed on my own. I wheeled up to the urinal and stood up on my own grabbing the pipe for support, and it took everything I had to do it. I really wasn’t ready but my brain was determined that there must be a way. As I left the washroom I found the handicapped washroom that would have been safer and easier. It was too late for that. I danced a lot more, said some goodbyes and left.
I wanted to let go and fly down the ramp but nobody was going to let that happen. I got frustrated that no one was letting me try things myself. When I got back to the hospital, I wanted to wheel myself back to the room but my mother wouldn’t let me do that and we got in an argument again. I was just so frustrated that so was not being considerate as I should have been. I wanted nothing more than to be independent.
I made it back and the nurse helped me back to bed and after some meds, I fell soundly asleep.