My last time at home was seven weeks ago when, in a semi-conscious state, I was transported to the hospital with the assistance of ambulance and police officers.
“What emotions or feelings might arise upon returning home?” my psychologist asked me this week. “I won’t know until I get there,” I replied.
And by “going home,” I don’t mean a permanent return at this stage. Many friends on Facebook have only half-read my post and mistakenly thought I was talking about leaving the hospital permanently. .
In the end, I didn’t experience strong emotions either way. Today, it was a “head over heart” experience.
For today’s brief visit to my apartment I was accompanied by a therapist and medical student. The purpose was to assess accessibility for when I can eventually leave the hospital. Can I navigate in and out of the apartment? Am I able to shower independently? What modifications, if any, might be necessary for me to live on my own? Activities such as getting in and out of bed, preparing coffee in the kitchen, taking a shower, and using my desk were all considered.
During these deliberations, the occupational therapist and I primarily focused on scenarios involving three modes of mobility: a prosthetic, a wheelchair, and a walking frame. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Factors like my reach height, overcoming the front door step of about 15cm, and maneuverability were taken into account. Some tasks can be accomplished using all these devices, including reaching the fridge. However, using a wheelchair presents challenges like surmounting the front step and accessing the kitchen counter.
“I’m going to recommend that you can’t return home without the limb,” the therapist told me, “as relying solely on a wheelchair would be too limiting. It would confine you to your house.” This is in step with all of the discussions I’ve had with the team here at the hospital.
The necessary modifications appear relatively minor. We discussed additions such as a shower chair, replacing my office chair with one that has lockable wheels, and acquiring an elevated armchair for better comfort than my couch. My apartment building is quite wheelchair-friendly already, featuring a remotely operated back gate and an elevator. However, we discussed the possibility of needing a ramp to access the apartment itself.
During my absence, friends and family thoroughly cleaned the house. I was impressed!!! And grateful. “You have a substantial collection of books and CDs,” Michelle noted, which prompted an internal reflection on whether I require additional storage space or, more likely, whether it’s time to make a donation to a charity store.
The other thing I’ll be selling sometime soon is my bike!