Three Weeks in Rehab – Day Nine

I wake up feeling human and I’m not totally shattered, I don’t spend the day collapsing in bed every spare minute I have!  Finally!

Stretch first. I get through it a lot better than the last two days, although I still have periods of dizziness and nausea. I can’t understand how I did all three sessions in week one with no issue, then have problems in each session this week.

I then see Lucy, my Occupational Therapist who takes me through to the kitchen to look at different items available. She shows me knives with handles to help support cutting, which are quite good. She explains I need to pick things like cutlery and pens by thick handles. It’s due to the fact my smaller joints are more prone to damage, so I need to put my larger joints to better use and thicker handles help this. She then gives me a catalogue of helpful items to look through, which has some excellent ideas – but I just can’t afford them!

My next session is with Rachel, my Physio and is all about setting my weekend goals. We decide on me practising relaxation at least once, to look at my desk set-up, to look at any kitchen equipment that might help, to do one set of stretches and one set of exercises and to look into getting a gym ball.

We are meant to have Nutrition next, but the lady who does it isn’t there. A nurse takes the session instead and she does it by reading the words on the sparse slides, and then saying she didn’t know the answers to any question asked of her. I’d rather they just cancelled it and put it on when the person was back!

When the girl in the bed opposite me saw her consultant, he put her down for the three week course, but when she got her letter, it said two weeks. When she arrived they said it was an error, but they had no beds, unless someone cancelled. Someone did cancel, so early in week one she was told she was okay for the three weeks. Just before we go into nutrition a nurse walks up to her and says ‘we made a mistake, there is no bed, but oh well, you thought it was two weeks anyway.’ She said it so blasé, and then just left.  Unfortunately she’s gutted, and leaves lunch in tears.  We try to help, but leave to give her some space.

We have work support next and again, I learn nothing new. I’m getting a bit annoyed with these patronising sessions, that says things like do you know about Access to Work? Yes… Oh right, well I have nothing more to tell you.  I just expected so much more.

The questions are dominated by our resident grumpy man, who hasn’t worked for nine years.  People that do work and are asking for relevant advice, is rudely interrupted constantly by him.  The instructor says nothing, so I interject on her behalf. Honestly, he’s like a child.

Half way through the girl who has just found out she can’t stay leaves, and doesn’t come back.  After we find she’s locked herself in the toilet and is retching.  Her physio comes to see her, and says she’s shocked, but there is nothing she can do. She says they will try and arrange it so she can comes back in for two weeks in about four months time.

Finally, we go swimming. I find it easier than the week before, and my neck holds up longer. I also do walking backwards and forwards, ‘water cycling’ and some leg exercises.

We have another pizza party with some of the boys from their ward over. We head back to the ward, and a group of us are sitting around my bed when the evening drug round starts.  The girl who dislocated her shoulder the week before is standing talking to someone when the drug trolley passed her, and the nurse accidently bumps into her.  I saw her react, but she didn’t make a noise.  When the nurse has moved on she says she thinks her shoulder is almost out, but when we look we can see the bone is out and it’s a full dislocation.  It was as easily done as that.  L

She says she needs her strong medication to take straight away, so it can start kicking in ready for the bone to be put back in place.

She isn’t actually on the same progamme as us – we’re all on the rehab or pain management programme.  She’s in purely for the shoulder specialists to teach her how to put it back in after dislocations, which she finds very difficult.  She had a plan in place, which involves the strong medications, and getting her to get her arm up above her head, and bringing it back down in a specific way.

I go and tell the nurse it’s dislocated and she snaps at me, saying she knows, and there is nothing she can do. She couldn’t have known, having left the room, and there was a lot she could have done. They eventually give her the meds and leave her to it. Her shoulder has been dislocating for five years, and she’s never been able to get it in. She waits and hour and the medications don’t help the pain at all.

Medication Credit: Zomb kille

Medication Credit: Zomb kille

One of the girls who is new to the programme this week, is also an accident and emergency nurse. She’s horrified they have just left her to it, particularly because the doctors put her shoulder back in the previous week it stretched her Ulnar nerve, which left her unable to move two of her fingers, and was already in a lot of pain. She goes to speak to the nurses and asks them to provide her with some gas and air so an attempt can be made to put it back in. She is told there is no gas and air kept at the hospital – which we know is a load of crap as she had it the week before!

One of the nurses – Mary, comes back into the ward, and someone asks her whether she was aware it was the drug trolley being moved that dislocated it in the first place. Mary turned to her and screamed, “No it wasn’t! The trolley didn’t touch her, it’s never touched anyone! Don’t you dare say that.”

She leaves and comes back a few minutes later.  The same girl tries again, and says she thought they should know as she thought as report should be filled in, but the nurse responds rudely and sarcastically.

She leaves the ward and she is overheard saying “Do you know what that they’re saying? That we banged into her! I don’t know why she is moaning because she walked into it herself.”

So suddenly the story had changed to she walked into it. Interesting. There were three witnesses, plus the girl it happened to!

People begin to head to their beds as it’s getting late, and we advise the girl with the dislocation, as horrible as it may sound to give it a go – and if her pain worsens and she begins to get hysterical so be it, perhaps they will take notice. She does try and can’t even move her arm. A doctor suddenly arrives and closes her curtains. We all have to listen for the next few hours as she tries to coach her through doing it herself. She’s screaming in pain, but manages to get her arm up over her head a millimetre at a time, and then can’t bring it down as she was taught. The doctor goes and magics up some gas and air and wheels it next to her bed. She then says she can use it if she wants – but if she does they will discharge her and not be interested in working with her again, as it’s obvious she isn’t interested in trying the plan. I’m so angry – as she has tried. It’s complete and utter blackmail – let’s put pain relief next to someone in agony and tell them they can use it, but with massive strings attached. I hear her respond that they will work with her, because she is trying, and I’m so proud of her as she doesn’t usually stand up for herself. She uses it, and manages to make her arm go the final downwards motion and nothing. Nothing bloody happens. Hours of torture, and the shoulder won’t go in.

The doctor then goes and phones the shoulder team to ask what she should do – whether she should leave it out when she already has nerve damage. No, absolutely not, they say. Get it in.

She comes back and tries three times using the method the physio said she had to use, and it won’t go back in. They then leave for the night with it still dislocated. She doesn’t sleep all night.

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