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Starting Rehab

After lunch, on November 23rd I was wheeled down the hall to the next tower. I had escaped the mean nurses and now entered the rehabilitation program floor. I remember the weather was overcast or raining it was dark. This isolation room would be my final prison for the next 3 months. I had remembered being told the ESBL treatments were for a week. I was told within a few days that the isolation was to be permanent due to hospital policies.

The first nurse I saw went through the riot act that made me fear that the poor treatment from the last floor was going to continue. I spent the rest of my night in the room just listening to what I could hear from the hall.

The next day involved being assessed for what I was capable of. It was also more just waiting around doing nothing.

Over the next few weeks, I tried really hard and progressed to sitting up and sliding on a transfer board to a wheelchair with help. It was lots of long nights and days. Typically only a little over an hour of physiotherapy and occupational therapy. I was always excited when the respiratory therapist came four times a day to use this big hand pump thing to keep my lungs expanded.

Sitting in a wheelchair for hours was really hard. My bum would get sore from the pressure on it and it felt weird due to the lack of full feeling. There was one day in December, I made it up to 9 hours in the chair. That day they held a Christmas party and had some good singers.

I was upgraded to a better wheelchair and I started trying to push myself, which at first I could only do a few footsteps in length, but I think it was key to getting my arms stronger. I was eventually able to wheel pretty fast. Since I was in isolation, I was only able to get out with someone gowned up. Considering how busy everyone was, it didn’t happen that much. Partially because of my anxiety I couldn’t bring myself to ask for help.

Just before Christmas, they started me with standing. It hurt a lot using the standing lift, especially when slowly standing. I soon learned that if I stood up myself when almost there it hurt less. After standing a couple of days, I was put in a suspended support and walked a few metres on the first day.

The next time, I considered taking rests but when up I just kept going and walked a good distance, until after Christmas I was able to walk without a standing support and moved on to a two-wheel walker. It was at this time that I came up with the goal of going to my work Christmas party in mid-January, although I had not told anyone yet.

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Slitting My Wrist… the Surgery Experience

On my left hand, my Ulnar nerve had never really come back. The end of March, I had a referral to the plastic surgeon to see if he could do anything. It was pretty fast after the referral that I got the appointment to see him earlier in the following week.

I accepted and met with him. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. He had me attempt a couple of movements and explained the surgery that he wanted to try. After the meeting, I had to fill out a long form and then just wait. I was a bit nervous waiting for the operation and never heard anything back for a few months. On the last week of June, I was at work and my phone rang and it was his office and they offered July 12th as the date, and I eagerly agreed. She explained the hospital would call and make the arrangements.

The next day I had the call from the hospital and did the registration and was given the time and made an appointment for a phone pre-op screening call. On June 30th I had the call before I took off on the Canada Day quest. I was told to wash the night before and the morning of, not to eat after midnight, and to take my pills before 8 am, and bring my medications with me.

Leading up to the day I was getting more and more nervous. Besides the normal surgery complications, I was more scared by the 5% statistic that the anesthetic was going to trigger the GBS again.

When it came the day for the surgery, I got up early and showered, and got dressed. I had plenty of time so I drove to the bank and took out some money to pay for parking. I returned home and met my mother before driving myself to the hospital. Since I was early, I went to visit some nurses on my way to day surgery.

When I went to day surgery, I was immediately brought back and was changed and weighed. They put these socks on that pumped up and down to squeeze my leg every few minutes. Shortly after I was taken down the hall to the surgery hall and met with the Anesthesiologist who asked some questions and spent a while reading my files. I was then brought into the surgical suite and had to slide over to the table. They then took a few minutes to position me and place my arm on a side table.

The Anesthesiologist poked me in the other arm a few times and really hurt me a lot. After he got me to breathe in some air, and I blacked out with no dreams at all.

It woke up and my left arm felt like a cat scratched my wrist and elbow. It was covered with a bandage. There was a nurse sitting beside me, that kept checking my vitals. After I woke up she took out the IV tubes and gave me a popsicle to eat. I asked what time it was and it was almost two and a half hours later. I was kind of shocked at the amount of time.

I was moved back to the day surgery suite and got redressed and given Tylenol and Advil then instructed not to touch the bandage until I see the doctor 14 days later on the 25th. I also had my arm placed in a sling for the time. I then got home and watched TV and fell asleep until supper time.

Living with a sling really sucks. My fingers almost feel as before, there may be a touch more feeling on my pinky finger. The hardest part is pulling up pants with one had. It would be so much easier is it was socially acceptable to wear a dress.

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My Messed Up Canada Day Roadtrip

I was off the Friday before Canada Day and had Physio and a call for the pre-op to fix my pinky finger. I came up with a plan to take a spontaneous road trip to Ottawa. My surgery is concerning the possible side effects. I was pretty devastated after the call with my anxiety.

Since I was less than 500km from my oil change mileage I went to Kia and booked the appoint for this past week.

I went home and cleared out everything from my car I didn’t need, grabbed my passport and wad of US cash and took off down the Hwy 1 towards the border. At the border I got through pretty quickly and had no issues. Having all the signs in a weird foreign system of measurement increased my anxiety. In Calais, I fueled up and headed down Route 9 to Bangor.

I stopped for dinner at Dysart’s. It was a pretty good meatloaf. I then proceeded down Route 2 to Skowhegan where I needed to pee bad so I stopped at a gas station and it was there my fate turned. My GPS lost my route and I was lost. I kind of remember Route 201 so I turned on it and kept questioning that I was not on the right road.

It turned out I wasn’t, I really wanted 201A in the next town. Around midnight I ended up at the border on the highway headed towards Quebec City. By this point, it started to rain really hard. I was not able to even drive the speed limit it was that hard. I made it to an Esso in Ascot Corner in Quebec and refuelled again at 1 am. I then kept driving but got too tired and stopped at a mall and slept for an hour.

My sleep was interrupted by the lights of a cop that woke me to see if I was alright. He started talking in French and I was trying to translate it and I didn’t recognize enough words. He then spoke English and I responded I was okay and he moved on.

I then determined I needed to move on. I then crossed the bridge to Montreal as the break of the day was happening. I was having such bad anxiety Siri was giving instructions that made no sense and there were so many construction signs that made no sense either. I stopped on a side street for a while and decided I wasn’t making it to Ottawa and it was time for starting a return back to see fireworks.

After a few hours back on the Highway, I needed so sleep so I pulled into a gas station and slept for an hour in the back corner of a Petro Canada parking lot in my car. I continued on the journey down the highway. As I was passing the town of Levis I seen the sign to cross the bridge to Quebec City. Since I had never been there before, I made the decision I needed to see it.

I took a drive through the packed old town and it was very reminiscent of the old parts of Paris. (Montreal is more reminiscent of the rest of Paris.) After leaving Quebec, the next stop was a gas and Tim’s break in Rivière de Loup. (a place Siri can’t pronounce close to right.) When ordering I asked if she spoke English and it was a fast nope. So I tried to order a coffee and a Dutchie and I was certain that I can pronounce Hollandaise properly but she had no clue.

Armed with my coffee and gas it was off to New Brunswick and lots more highway with spots of rain along the way. The next stop was Florencevile and I grabbed a donair sub that was really good. The interesting part was a guy in line ahead of me was Amish and had his horses and carriage waiting outside.

As I passed through Fredericton, the rain had stopped and was starting to clear. The people from home were messaging on Facebook that the weather in Saint John was bad and there were no fireworks to hurry back for. So I headed home anyway.

The next day I slept in until noon and then wasted most of the day away. I had seen that Hampton was having fireworks and decided to go see them but then heard that Cambridge-Narrows was having some so I went there instead. They were pretty impressive and amazing.