25 July 2018

Help! Part VII

My two friends from Physical Therapy showed up every day for the rest of my stay at the "Central Clinic of Athens". A guy and a gal, neither was a fluent English speaker, so trying to tell me how to coordinate my movements and use correct posture to keep me from busting my butt was almost laughable.
But practice makes perfect and I got better with the crutches on a daily basis.

My private balcony with the view of the Acropolis beckoned. But there was an obstacle-
There was a four-inch elevated sill at the bottom of the sliding door that I had to negotiate in order to get onto the patio.
It's hard to describe the scenario now. I'd been flat on my back for almost a week. My right foot is painfully swollen; traumatically injured. The leg I now must depend on is NOT my dominant leg, and it is weak from a week of inactivity.
The first time I attempted the trip to the patio my 

Physical Therapy friends suggested it. They knew how hard this short journey would be for me. To accomplish the task 
I hobble over to, and open the sliding door. Now comes the hard part... coordinating what really amounts to a "hop" while putting almost no weight on my damaged ankle. The sill is about four inches wide. I'm advised to put my damaged right foot on the sill, then, supporting my weight on my crutches, use the damaged foot as a stabilizer while I use my arms/crutches to lift my left foot onto the sill and balance there. (Shaky!)
From there I place my aching right foot out onto the balcony and repeat the process to finish the trip. It's amazing how hard and scary it was.
But I did it. And each day it got easier and my confidence level improved.

Pain is a funny thing. Different folks experience it differently. When asked, I describe my pain as "more of an irritation" than real pain. At this point I'm still at about a 3 on a scale of ten. The liquid Tylenol continues to control my pain level well, but, trying to sleep, the irritation, coupled with the bulk of my new almost to the knee cast, keeps me from sleeping comfortably.

We had made reservations to fly out of Rome where we would have disembarked the ship had we completed our cruise. The Ortho Surgeon came in to discuss how I'm doing. He speaks nearly perfect English and wants to know where we're from. He brags about coming to the States to attend Ortho refresher courses every two years... San Antonio. Chicago. San Diego.
We like the guy. He's a little loud; confident.
My care in Greece has been wonderful, and I'm hopeful this guy has been good with his hands. He's concerned about me flying. "When do you need to leave?

Oooooh." (Lifts hand to chin and displays a worried look.) He's worried about my still-open wound throwing an embolism as possible gases there expand during our flight. "We'll talk about this later", he says.
We've been planning to fly to Rome at our scheduled time, reunite with Big Bubba, spend the evening, then fly home the next day.
Now we're worried that things might get complicated.

14 July 2018

Help! Part VI

"Painkiller", she announced as she approached the IV pole on my left. Four seconds after the fluid started dripping I could feel the coolness of it as it entered my bloodstream.
I was being fed, hydrated, sedated, through this line. My pain had been minimal. I wondered what medicine they were giving me for pain and the answer was "Paracetamol".
"Huh?" Whazzat?
Later when I could use my laptop I found out it was liquid acetaminophen... Tylenol.
When they asked I would rate my pain at "about a two or three" from a scale of ten. The Tylenol was working just fine.

My first night in the ICU after surgery I actually turned onto my right side comfortably. Pressing my head solidly against the bed I heard the whirring sound of an electric motor.
What the heck is that?
A day later I figured it out on my own... I was lying on an air mattress that automatically inflated and deflated different chambers to prevent bed sores. I was hearing the compressor whirring, doing its job, and doing it VERY well.

After two full days in the ICU I was moved upstairs to a private room. It had a regular hospital bed with IV pole alongside, and a mobile dinner platform from which I could eat regular solid food!
My room was on the sixth floor. The TV mounted to the far wall had about 15 channels, two of which were English, so we could understand what was being said. Local Greek TV carried LOTS of game shows like "Wheel of Fortune". It was fun to watch contestants get excited in Greek. Local news was interesting, but indecipherable. Later at night, a couple American action shows were broadcast in English... with Greek subtitles!
My adjacent bathroom had a toilet, sink, and shower, and against the wall had a desk and chair. Since I was forbidden to walk unassisted, this room went unused except for my sponge baths. Outside a sliding glass door from my bed was a great view of the Acropolis from about a half mile or so. At night those ruins were well lit... absolutely gorgeous!

Breakfast was toast with real butter, a boiled egg, juice, and tea or coffee. Simply being able to finally chew my food seemed wonderful. Lunch was normally soup, some sort of meat or chicken, more toast, and a couple slices of some sort of white cheese.
AND... a glass of wine. The first day Sara Jean watched me eat lunch, to my server she feigned regret that she too wasn't served wine. My attendant went immediately and got her a glass!

Every morning my foot felt better by a tiny fraction.
The third day a guy and gal came in and said, "We're from therapy. We teach you to use these..." and showed me the crutches that come halfway up your arms, ending around the elbow.
They assisted me in walking about ten feet, then turned me around. I wobbled.
Getting back into bed, I felt tired.
This is gonna be a long journey.