Rehabilitation – 3rd Floor, Bolte Wing, St Vincent’s
Upon arrival at the rehabilitation ward I was still not even able to manoeuvre my body so that I could sit on the side of my bed. This was one of the first movements that the physiotherapists taught me which progressed to being able to stand on one leg.
The first part of this journey forced me into the rehabilitation gym, then very soon after, my first “walking” lesson which consisted of the two most experienced physiotherapists virtually carrying me around the gym with a very vague reference to “walking”.
Part of my seven weeks in rehabilitation was to experience living on a Ward with three other people and for two periods of time, it was particularly “interesting” that one of those three was in fact a women. I won’t bore you with all the details save and except to say that in the second to third week, I think we had the champion “noisemakers” of the world residing in Room 6 on the 3rd floor Bolte Wing!
I will relay two stories only – one was Faye, a lovely lady, except the seven cups of coffee between 5.00pm and 9.00pm or thereabouts meant that she wandered around at night looking for something to do, and surprise, surprise at 8.00am when breakfast was delivered, she was cuddled up in her bed as if the night were young. I might add that she was very helpful. Her night time walks made sure that we in the ward had towels in the morning when most of the patient’s didn’t, and if you ever needed a cup of coffee or tea, or a lemonade bottle opened, she was only too willing to help.
The second story involves “Radio Bob” whose name reflected that he was an amateur radio enthusiast. He had suffered a stroke of which the main side effect was that his memory was a little vague. The OT’s gave him a book to write in to help him remember various things, however the next day he couldn’t remember where the book was, so another book was given and on the next day, again he couldn’t remember where the book was. I don’t know how Bob is getting on at home, but when he left he said to the nurses, “St Vincent’s at Home”, Doctors, Pharmacists and mates all telling him when he was meant to be taking his pills and at last count, I heard six versions of when he should do what!
There were others there – Peter, on whose behalf we petitioned all medical and allied health professionals, so he could be released four days early, which was one of our successes. One of our failures was a garage sale to sell my Crocs, but we unfortunately did not get a bidder!
I will not single out any person in the ward or gym for particular mention save and except to say that Mel was the Team Leader. She and her fellow physiotherapy staff were fantastic and so was the support given to me by the Doctors, OT’s, the Social Worker, the Nursing Staff and of course friends and family who visited. (I might add that the night staff were fantastic but all I knew of them were their voices rather than their faces as they were usually flashing a torch around to get at my armband so they could give me some sleeping pills!). They also enjoyed the fact that I was addicted to watching the World Cup and could almost be guaranteed that my television would be on, they always seemed to visit more during the games involving Australia and the eventual winners, Spain.
It was during this period that the Tour de France began and in fact went through eighteen of its twenty stages and I watched it most nights leading me to name a Newsletter to my family and friends “Tour de Chinka”.
Suffice to say that rehabilitation was a huge learning experience. I left rehabilitation with slightly better speech, certainly the capacity to walk a few tens of meters and an attitude that is helping me forward over the stages of this great long Tour……..
To be continued…