I have heard from some that we might want to share inspirational stories. I think this is a great idea. We can get to know each other better and learn valuable lessons from the stories.
I can start us out. I will call this story “Do Not Give Up on My Husband!”.
I had been in a coma for 3 months and in hospital for 7 months, and lost all sight in both eyes and the ability to walk. Had lost 80 pounds and had four surgeries and many more procedures. I had finally run out of medical insurance so it was time for me to leave the hospital that had been my home for 7 months.
Very Weak, No Hope:
All doctors who had seen me during my stay thought I had no hope of ever walking again. At this point I could barely lift a spoon to my mouth to feed myself. Since I had just gone blind it was even hard to find the food on my plate and get it onto the spoon or fork without the food dropping off. I could barely sit up on the edge of the hospital bed without great effort. To sit on edge of bed I had to first brace one hand on the bed and push very hard to try to roll onto my side. Once on my side I rolled my legs towards the edge of the bed until they hung over a bit. Then I braced my hand on the bed and tried to push up until I was in the sitting position. Was not able to do this in one step, had to take many small steps. To get into the sitting position I had to walk both hands across the bed. With each small step with one hand at a time would push myself more and more upright. Eventually I was sitting on edge of bed in upright position with my feet on floor. Actually with the neuropathy my feet would not sit flat on the floor. My ankles would not bend much so my feet pointed more in the downward direction. Sitting up on edge of bed was very, very hard to do and required a lot of energy.
How To Get in Wheelchair:
I had learned to get into a wheel chair with a sliding board. My wife Kathy had come into the hospital for this training since she would be the one who would have to help me to get into and out of my wheel chair. A sliding board is a piece of smooth wood or other smooth material used to transfer to and from a wheel chair if you cannot stand. I would first have to sit up on edge of bed which as I described was not the easiest for me. Then I would put one end of the sliding board under my rear end. Kathy would place the other end on the seat of the wheel chair. When everything was secure I would then slide across the board until my behind was in the wheel chair. Kathy would make sure the board did not slip off the wheel chair seat or bed causing me to fall to the ground in between the bed and the wheel chair.
What To Do With Bill:
All the doctors and nurses were deciding what to do with me next now that I had run out of medical insurance and it was time for me to leave their hospital. They were thinking of transferring me to another local County hospital, but they would not take me. I had been in contact isolation the past few weeks and what ever contagious disease that was going on in my body other hospitals did not want. There was a rule against transferring patients who were in this type of isolation. Since doctors and nurses thought I had no hope they suggested I be put into a convalescent hospital where others could take care of me. This convalescent hospital was very far away from where I live and I knew my family or friends could not visit very easily. Not even my wife could visit unless someone would drive her. The doctors and nurses thought this was the only option since I was still too weak to do most things on my own and could not see or walk. I was too weak to question their thoughts or give my opinion on their idea. I mostly had just laid around for the last 7 months and was very weak.
This option of putting me into a convalescent hospital made my wife Kathy extremely furious. The thought of just giving up on a life made her enraged. She said “do not give up on my husband”. “I will take him home with me”.
Bill Goes Home:
Since I knew I was going home soon I asked the nurses if they could bring me to the shower so I could be washed. I knew it would be some time before I had the strength and ability to get to the bathroom where the bathtub or shower in my house was. While still in hospital with lots of help around I took this opportunity to get extra clean. The nurses wheeled me into a large shower area where they took hand held shower heads and washed me thoroughly. They even washed my hair with soap. Over the seven months they had used powder type stuff or other methods to sort of wash my hair in the later months. After showering I put on real clothes, including shoes for the first time. My clothes were very big on me since I was much thinner now to put it mildly. I used the sliding board technique to get into the wheelchair and soon I was being wheeled out of the hospital through the front doors. I felt like an escaped convict and felt very free. I had no more tubes in me and could move my arms and legs freely without these restrictions.
The sun hit my face as I left the hospital. I heard the wind blowing and birds chirping. I could smell all the smells of outside again. I had a great big smile on my face. We still had to get me into the car and were not sure how hard this would be so we both felt a little nervous. Up until now I had many doctors and nurses looking after me, now we were on our own. We did not want anything to go wrong to send me back into hospital. Once positioned the best we could with car door open Kathy took the sliding board and placed one end on the car seat and the other end under my behind. I then scooted along on my behind while Kathy held the board so it would not slip and cause me to fall into the parking lot. Once in the car, Kathy folded up the weal chair and put it in the trunk. Kathy does not weigh much, so lifting the wheelchair into trunk was not easy for her, but she managed.
I had not been in a car for seven months and it felt odd in the passenger seat. I always used to drive. I thought to myself I would never drive again as my wife Kathy started the car engine. I loved to drive and this thought made me sad. As I sat in the car seat I also noticed it hurt my behind. I had lost so much weight I had no padding back there and could feel my bones on the seat. When we drove off I rolled down my window so I could smell the outside air. It felt very odd having wind blow by my face. I looked towards where the window would be and noticed ghost images of things like poles and parked cars whizzing by me as we drove. Later I learned these are images your brain imagines from memory since the current situation you would normally be seeing such images, if you could see. Kathy put on the radio and I was shocked. Most of the songs they were playing I had never heard of. Since I had not listened to the radio for 7 months a lot of new songs had been released I was not aware of.
Soon we were home and pulled into the drive way. I imagined all my neighbors staring at us since they had not seen me in many months. Kathy helped me from the car to my wheelchair with the trusty sliding board method. My neighbors had not seen me since going into the hospital, and I wondered if they thought I would never come home.
Getting into the house was a bit hard because of the steps that led into the house. Kathy would have to tip the wheelchair backwards, then put the front of the weal chair up on the step, then lift the back again to go up each level. Once in the house we went to the bedroom by carefully navigating around furniture. Once next to the bed I used the sliding board to get into bed. I called my cats over so I could pet them. They were reluctant at first since they had not seen me in so long. I missed my cats very much and was very glad to see them again. The hospital would not allow my cats as visitors, I asked. My cats felt so furry and I could tell they missed me. As I laid in my own bed with real covers over me and not those thin hospital sheets I felt so comfortable and safe. I felt so very loved. I am sure glad my wife Kathy did not give up on me and put me away! This was just the beginning of a long and very hard journey for both of us. I could have never had the chance to make this journey if I was put away and had been forgotten about. I am so very, very lucky to get the chance to show the ones who thought I had no hope that help from Kathy, other family members, friends, organizations and others believing and helping me I am not useless! I can now walk again with help from 2 canes. I hold a steady and fulfilling job to provide for my family, help others in my community and world, and take time to experience life and have lots of fun.
• Sometimes you have to take things into your own hands and trust yourself .
•Not even experts know everything.
• Take time to help family and friends. You’ll never know how your help can help the person you are helping. That initial help of one person could cascade into helping multiple people if that one person you took time to help helps others.
Does anyone else have any stories to share? Look forward to hearing them and talking with you.
Global Dialogue Center