For me, St. Patrick's Day brings grim reminders of that day in 2012, and the long road that followed. I've had multiple sclerosis for 40 years, and was having issues with pressure sores. That evening when the VON nurse arrived, she immediately recognized that I was septic, and I was rushed to the hospital... no memory of that evening.
I spent the next long 16 months hospitalized. Slight contracting had begun in my legs, just before I was hospitalized. Daily physiotherapy is crucial. Sixteen months later, when I was finally discharged, my legs were completely contracted, stiffened up to my chest, fetal position. I didn't have the luxury of physiotherapy treatment during my stay, even with continual efforts of Dr. Park, my neurologist, and my surgeon. No one listened.
Very early on, a physiotherapist had visited me. In that one visit she 'concluded' that never would I stand again, never would I ever transfer independently again. And shortly after, I’d need an electric wheelchair since I'd be losing my arms soon too! I wondered where her crystal ball was, that she could know all of this. So, I had to buy an electric wheelchair before I could go home… never been used.
After that initial 'informative' session, I felt very thrown under the bus. Every day they'd walk the floors, always walking by my door, to treat the other patients. That was devastating day after day. I worked my arms with weights. I felt such hopelessness, wondering how I could be ignored in this way, when it was so obvious that I was in desperate need.
Nearing the end of my stay the CCAs on my floor kindly offered to be trained on my exercises. They saw what was happening with me, so they stepped up, going above and beyond, making sure that my exercises were ALWAYS done three times a day, until my discharge. The only option I was given for treatment was to have the ligaments in my legs cut. My legs would straighten, but I'd be paralyzed. Not an option.
I hung on to little hope. I knew whenever I did get home, though, and away from the constant NEGATIVITY, I was going to do whatever possible to turn things around. Finally, I was discharged in July of 2013. VON services had a team of CCAs trained to do my exercises twice daily, until recently. POSITIVITY was now on my side. What these team of ladies have accomplished is quite miraculous. Just minor contractures remain in my legs. And now, I AM ABLE to stand with a walker. I AM ABLE to transfer independently. And my arms ARE good and strong.
Heartfelt appreciation to all those who played any part in my recuperation, and also to nurse Lorna Stewart, for saving my life! During that whole unbelievable experience, I so hoped that the day would come, that I'd feel emotionally and physically ready to share a story that I felt needed to be shared, and it may help bring closure as well.
Little Harbour Road