Archives for the ‘Hospital’ Category

Doll

Doll / Wellcome Images

Doll / Wellcome Images

At my rehab hospital, therapists congratulated me on my pregnancy and immediately started getting me physically ready to carry a squirmy kid around.

They had me buy a life sized baby doll, which they promptly sliced open and filled with gym weights, so that my weak stroke side would get stronger. They put me on treadmills with the heavy doll. I became in better shape than I was before my pregnancy.

Similar stories?

News

Pregnant / Wellcome Images

Pregnant / Wellcome Images

Baby! My husband and I are very excited.

I assumed that because of my stroke history, pregnancy would be horrendous. But no. It has been fine.

The stroke/pregnant crowd is rather small.

Etiquette

Bow / Wellcome Images

Bow / Wellcome Images

Outside the rehab hospital, if I bump into another stroke patient I know, I say hello. Naturally. Trickier etiquette is how to comport yourself when you see a stroke stranger. I have an urge to run up to them: “I’m with you!” “I know your pain!” “Keep fighting!” which I squelch.

I once sat across from a stroke stranger on the Boston T (subway). He was older, had a cane as well as the hand that didn’t work. I could tell that he had noticed me. Suddenly, at the top of his lungs he yelled, “She has the same problem that I have!”

Passengers in the car turned to look at him, and then at me, curiously. Oh dear. I made a beatific smiled, but remained silent.

More unlucky than I.

Similar stories?

Skinny

Skinny / Wellcome Images

Skinny / Wellcome Images

At the hospital I lost about 20 pounds in a month. The hospital food didn’t help. I gained some of it back afterward but was still skinny. I was just not very hungry.

Did a hospital stay leave you skinny? Plump?

Visitors

Visitors / Wellcome Images

Visitors / Wellcome Images

At the hospital, I was friendly. When a visitor asked me what she could do for me, I told her to go out on the town, have a good time and report back.

My mother said I was more polite in the hospital than out.

At a hospital, are you friendly? Ornery?

Rebellion

Bath / Wellcome Images

Bath / Wellcome Images

At the hospital after brain surgery, I committed rebellious acts. I snuck out of my bed and went to the bathroom by myself, instead of ringing for the attendant and waiting a very long time. I only fell once, sprawled out on the gray industrial bathroom tile, feeling sorry for myself.

Did you commit rebellious acts?

Hand

Opening Sunday / Library of Congress

Opening Sunday / Library of Congress

My rehab hospital put me in a Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) program. For two weeks, I did four hours of hand therapy a day. At the end, my weaker hand was more dexterous, especially at picking up small objects. Thank you!

But, four hours a day for two weeks of hand therapy is deathly dull.

Triumph

Sword is Drawn / Library of Congress

Sword is Drawn / Library of Congress

A few years ago, I had a royal bureaucratic mess with Medicare over an expensive brace that they should have paid for. (Medicare is the US government’s health insurance plan for the disabled.) I called my Congressman, my Senator and filed appeal after appeal.

Recently I ended up on a phone call with a Medicare Administrative Judge from Ohio, who swore me in. It was court by phone! His verdict: Medicare would pay for the brace, but it would have to be made again, for obscure legal reasons. I had to mail back my old brace, which was in fine shape.  Then I had to go back to the hospital and get measured again. Then the company remade the brace.  This struck me as a waste of time and money, not to mention environmentally stupid.

I did win, though. Don’t mess with me on bureaucracy. I usually triumph.

Robot II

Robot Man / Library of Congress

Robot Man / Library of Congress

I am trying to get more time with the robot machine at my hospital. You watch a monitor and play video games while a special robot  joystick measures your movements and results. I found it very helpful, but I was in a research study that ended.

The hospital scheduler asked me, “Why do you want extra time on the robot machine?”

I said, “Have you ever seen Occupational Therapy? You move blocks and cones and weights around for an hour at a time. It’s useful, but it gets boring after awhile. I’d much rather play video games with the same results.”

We’ll see if that works. Robots are the future.

Inequality

Justice / Library of Congress

Justice / Library of Congress

US Senator Mark Kirk had a stroke last year. He’s back at work, sometimes in a wheelchair. He has noticed a huge discrepancy in care for stroke victims in the US.

Tell me about it. I had decent insurance for rehab, but lots of patients don’t.  I changed cities to get better care.

Do you have stories of stroke inequality?