At the end of my first hospitalization, my physicians wanted to send me to an inpatient rehabilitation facility; a facility where I would be taken care of by a skilled nursing staff and pushed to my limits by a team of highly-trained physical and occupational therapists. I objected and ultimately refused at the time. I didn’t think it made sense to do intensive physical therapy until my cast came off and I could put weight on my leg. I also was completely out of time off from work. We struck a compromise: I would be released to go home in care of Mrs. Loco, I would get regular visits from a physical therapist and visiting nurse, and I would work from home. To this day, I stand by this compromise as the right decision for the time.
At the end of my second hospitalization, though, with my leg nearly healed and my cast soon to come off, we had to revisit the same decision.
On one hand, I enjoyed being home with my family and I had a lot of work to do. On the other, taking care of both Baby Loco and me was a tremendous amount of work for Mrs. Loco and inpatient rehab gave me the greatest opportunity to recover quickly. After speaking with a caseworker from the rehab center, a new compromise was established: I would go, I would work with their therapists, my sessions would be scheduled around meetings that I would attend remotely and I would do the rest of my work between sessions. Again, this was the right decision for the time.
I was in rehab for 15 days. If they wanted to keep me longer, I would have gladly stayed. How was my time spent? I kept busy.
Rehab was, overall, a positive experience. I was easily the youngest patient in the facility; most of the other patients were recovering from stroke. A couple others were recent amputees and two middle-aged men recovering from double knee surgery arrived toward the end of my stay. The first few days were taken up in evaluation sessions with physical, occupational, speech and psychological therapists, orientation sessions, and at last getting my cast removed (even though it had been bi-valved a few days earlier and was held together with ace bandages, the orthopedic surgeon needed to make a final evaluation to allow me to put weight on that leg). The speech and psychological therapists released me, allowing all of my therapy sessions to be spent on physical and occupational therapy.
I didn’t know there was such a thing as occupational therapy before my encounter with GBS, and most people probably don’t know the difference between occupational and physical therapy. I still don’t know exactly what the two jobs are, but occupational therapy seems to focus on performing everyday tasks like eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, upper body strength and fine motor skills. Physical therapy seems to focus on lower body strength, balance and walking. The two overlap in some areas, obviously.
Rehab was like a hospital in some ways. The nursing staff administered my meds and routinely checked my vitals and physicians made daily rounds. Otherwise, it was more like being in a workout spa. I had two sessions of PT and two more of OT every day, each lasting 45-60 minutes. Outside of sessions, my time was my own. It was incumbent on me to get myself to the cafeteria for meals, bathe and dress myself, and fill my own free time (catching up on work took care of this).
Once my 15 days were up, I was again released into Mrs. Loco’s care. Home again with my amazing wife and daughter.