Friday, January 27, 2017

Oatmeal and blood pressure--a double whammy

Jordan labeled this "Going to see my mom"
Have you ever tried eating cold oatmeal with a blood pressure cuff on your arm? That’s pretty much how my morning went. An aide came to move me out of my room because they were fixing the heat in it—I protested I would stay, did yesterday. Attila the Hun went on about my safety and so on. I finally convinced her I wasn’t going anyplace before I used the bathroom—plumbing promptly backed up.

Being wheeled, pjs and all, into dining room brought back meals with my mom at the nursing home. Three men and a woman, all with bored expressions, sat staring into space. We waited. Then a good-looking man with white hair was wheeled in, and he boomed “Oh, my Lord, we’re having eggs again!” I wanted to howl. We waited some more. I had ordered dry cereal; I got oatmeal and a fried egg solid as a rock. I have learned to “relish” oatmeal with sugar and butter.

Someone from OT came to assess the woman next to me who arrived late last night—right there in the dining room with the rest of us sitting around. Privacy and modesty have flown. Efforts at conversation were useless (I would have liked to talk to that one man).  Mostly my fault—I hadn’t had time to grab my hearing aid. Gradually aides came and wheeled everyone else away—I was stranded in the dining room without a call button—had my cell phone so I could at least read. The occupational therapist rescued me.

PT and OT are interesting and not as boring as I expected. My shoulders are sore from pushing up on the walker plus work on pulleys yesterday, so I got a lovely massage today. I can see that both therapies are useful, more than just walking, and I’m learning new things, like what’s going on with muscles and nerves in my swollen leg. The physical therapist talks to me about the physiology of exercise and what’s going on in my body; the occupational therapist talked to me about food while I spent 15 minutes pretending to do the arm part of a bicycle. Turns out he also likes to cook. He’s from the Philippines, so we talked a lot about raw fish.

The food is almost traditional 1950s—mushy vegetables, potatoes gratin that were obviously not made from scratch. Apparently most residents want their hair back-combed a la the ‘50s The salon lady was astounded and then apologetic when I wanted shampoo only. A bit of a time warp that suits many patients.

In spite of my strong fight to avoid rehab, I’m almost glad I’m here. I can see definite benefits I would not get with home health care. The people here are friendly, anxious to make the patient comfortable. I find I’m learning both the people and the ways of the institution, such as when to call for help—way before your bathroom trip is urgent.

And speaking of dogs, we have a new one in the family—Buddy is an 8-week old German Shepherd with impressive German breeding. No, he’s not mine (thank goodness). He belongs to my brother and sister-in-law. John told me the most important thing he can do right now is bond with the puppy. I have a feeling they both spend a lot of time just like this picture.


Sharon Corcoran said...

Judy I had knee replacement surgery in November, then spent a week at Texas Rehabilitation Hospital. The food was very "institutional". It sounds like you're in a different rehab facility, as they were at least big on privacy. Hang in there, you'll be home soon.

Judy Alter said...

Yes. I am at Garden Terrace, and "institutional is a good word for the food!