February 21, 2012
Elaine is ecstatic that this is her last night in a hospital. In fact, she was so excited that when she woke this morning (Tuesday) she thought she was leaving today. That is her positive, optimistic attitude shining through.
Her last full day started with a new therapist who was thrilled to be working with her. He had heard about and seen Elaine on the days he was working, and he couldn’t wait to get her on his schedule. All the therapists fight to work with her because her effort and determination are outstanding. This particular therapist incorporated some massage into the workout since Elaine has experienced a lot hip pain. The massage really helped and she felt like her hip opened up quite a bit. The therapist also spent time on her head in an attempt to relieve some the tension that is causing her headaches. At the end of the day, he referred to Elaine as his “star student.”
After therapy, Elaine, Julie, Staci, and the girls enjoyed a last lunch on the patio. Elaine requested an omelet since both Julie and she had dreamt about them. Christi practiced pushing the wheelchair while Taylor went along for the ride because “her legs ran out of battery.”
No rest for the weary! After lunch, it was onto more therapy. She started her session in the parking garage so she could practice getting in and out of the car. Elaine was so excited to see her car, and the actual process of getting in and out was easier than she initially thought. It was incredible to watch her figure out to maneuver herself in and out. Less than two weeks ago, she arrived at the rehab center in an ambulance. Admittedly, we had high hopes when she checked in, but even we were surprised when she climbed in and out of her car. At one point, she hopped in the passenger seat while Julie was in the driver’s seat. She quickly buckled up and yelled to Julie to just drive! It happens for real tomorrow. She practiced a few more times everyone got comfortable helping her in and out. It turned out to be great confidence booster to let her know that she is ready for the world.
Following the car drill, we headed back inside for her final in-patient rehab session. Once again, she topped herself and had the best session yet. It was truly incredible to watch her walk on her own. Several therapists came by to marvel at her progress and wish her well. She also practiced step-ups adding to her confidence. She walked around for ten minutes or so with minimal breaks. It is amazing to watch her walk and to hold herself up.
We are in complete awe of her progress, strength, and growing independence. She is able to transfer herself from wheelchair to bed without assistance. Remember that two weeks ago when she arrived, she could barely be out of bed.
After all that hard work, she headed to the room for some downtime. Christi and Nammie are the two most unlikely members of our family to EVER take a nap and look at what happened when they were all snuggled in bed. It was earned!
Tomorrow is a BIG DAY! They will release her at 11 AM, and she plans to be out of the door at 11:01! The case management person came in this afternoon to talk about her release. Here was how the conversation went:
Elaine: ”Oh good, I have been waiting for you all day to tell me what I need and when I can leave.”
CM: “We have everything ready and have ordered your wheelchair and cane. We are finishing up the paperwork and need to ask a few more…”
Elaine (interrupting): “What time can I leave?”
CM: “We start to release people at 11:00”
Staci: “Does that mean we can plan to walk out the door at 11:01?”
Elaine: “I am ready to get out of here!”
CM: “You can leave as soon as your final papers have been signed which will happen before 11. The only thing you have to wait for is your wheelchair and cane.”
Fred: “Well, you tell that company to have the stuff here before 11 or they can deliver it to us at home.”
CM: “Yes sir. I will go order it right now and make sure it is here first thing.”
Elaine: “Thank you. I’m definitely leaving tomorrow!”
We are pretty sure they are ready to get rid of us, too. Well maybe “us,” but not their star student. I think they found out quickly we are a package dealJ
Say good-bye to mystery meat, disrupted sleep, reciting your name all day, and the constant beeps and sirens. After exactly 26 nights in a hospital, Elaine is going home. It is a miracle and we are overjoyed and humbled. Thank for you all the love, prayers and support. The next phase of recovery starts tomorrow, but it will be on a regular schedule, sleeping in her own bed, and eating delicious food.
Fred and Elaine enjoyed their last lukewarm meal in a take-out bag tonight and shared some tears and emotion. Fred has been a rock and logged in more hospital hours than we can count. Although Elaine is thrilled to be going home, Fred is equally as excited to be bringing her home to him. He has displayed love, kindness, and patience you usually only see in the movies.
There is no way to sugar coat the last three weeks, they have been hell on so many levels. BUT she is alive, she is making incredible progress, and she has inspired so many people, many of whom we don’t even know. Her story is not over. It is really only beginning. Elaine, your family is SO PROUD of you. You’re incredible and it is an honor to be on the journey with you. We know YOU CAN AND WILL DO IT!