ℒ~ So, it was about three and a half weeks ago, after 20-hours in a ‘skilled nursing home’ that I left ‘AMA’ with Mom and took her home to my house. That is where, in their infinite wisdom, the insurance company said that she needed to be. Even though she was just beginning to learn to walk again in rehab. The SNH was horrible; I couldn’t stop crying the whole time we were there. There was no way that I could leave her alone there. Not even long enough to go home and get her wheelchair so I could get her from the bed to my car. The only reason we stayed those 20 hours was because I didn’t have a wheelchair to wheel her out of there until she was evaluated by Physical Therapy. I don’t know which is more ridiculous, the term ‘skilled nursing home’ or ‘against medical advice’. In the SNH there was 1 nurse in her hall for 25 patients, several needing to be intaked with more coming in. Her primary purpose which she was tunnel visioned on was distributing medications. Her secondary purpose was shift changing on and off her six hour shift. As for leaving ‘against medical advice’, well in the 20 hours that she was there, there was no medical person who read her transfer chart, had a conversation with her or evaluated her. They would not call the on-call doctor for us and didn’t know if the main doctor or someone subbing for him would be the one on site in about 72 hours. Personally I would rather be left in my home to pass on peacefully and alone, if that’s what it came to, than to ever spend another moment of time in a SNH. But I have grievously digressed because this is so not what this day was about. Though it was in part how we got to where we are today.
This has been a long journey with my Mother that started the fifteenth of July, and that is a story for another day, maybe. For now I’m going back to the last three and a half weeks that my Mom has literally been living on my couch, unable to walk. Now mind you, that couch of mine is as comfortable as my memory foam mattress on my own bed. But, why can’t she walk? Well that is part of that three and a half month story. In these last weeks she’s kinda been stuck in limbo with a coccyx injury that prevents her from sitting up for any lengthy period of time. It has stopped her from doing physical therapy to strengthen her quads to get her upright again. The lack of movement has increased the pitted edema in her ankles and feet which is painful and another PT obstacle. And the compounding neuralgia coccyx pain can’t be treated with any pain meds which has tightened her body up further.
So a couple weeks ago I found a pain doctor who said he could treat the pain with spinal injections. But he couldn’t do so because it’s too risky with the oozing bedsore (that has been there for several weeks) near the injection site. That was a ‘Really, WTF! moment. Because this tailbone pain that had been present since the middle of August was never addressed directly by any of the couple dozen specialists that tended to her from early August through the beginning of October. Their solution was to keep pushing pain and anxiety meds down her throat that consistently did not help. That damned bedsore that western medicine is insistent upon treating by keeping the site moist and covered is an inane process that takes weeks to months for healing to complete. That’s another ‘Really, WTF!’ issue of mine over these last months… Uhhh, the body has the perfect solution to healing ‘broken’ skin called a scab. So, back home we drove. It took me days to figure out how to dry the wound out and get air to.
Did ya’ think I digressed again? Nope, I did not because today was about a week later and that quarter sized bedsore was smaller than half a dime in size. About a third of it was scabbed up and the other two-thirds was hard-covered over. The other half of that dime size area was already regenerated skin. I’m amazed that the bedsore is almost healed. Mom’s biggest complaint today was how itchy that area was. I told her to ‘thank God’ for the itches cause the itches mean it’s healing. And they’re nothing a little sprits of lavender oil can’t and did take care of anyway. So, ‘Yeah!’, bedsore is almost healed. So I tell Mom to remind me tomorrow to set an appointment with the pain med doc for Monday to get the spinal injection for the tailbone pain. Finally, right? Perhaps, but then this happens…
For those who don’t now, I’m a therapeutic bodywork and marma therapist. I specialize in alleviating or eliminating pain. Which in part is why these months with my Mom has been so frustrating for me. Until today, for a plethora of reasons, I have not been able to get her on any table to properly work on her. And the result of a two hour session with her is the reason why today was one of the best days yet in Mom’s recovery.
Her tailbone pain has been her consistent issue since she was allowed to be conscious after literally being sedated for weeks in the ICU. Today was the first time in these last months that I was able to get her on her stomach to assess the source of her ‘coccyx’ pain. And what I found was that her coccyx itself presented without any issues. The culprit appeared to be the very much out of position pelvic bones pushing into the coccyx causing the presenting chronic coccyx pain. About an hour later I had repositioned the pelvis enough to stop it from pushing on the coccyx. After the session Mom sat in a chair for two hours and only wanted to lie down because her mid thoracic back was a bit sore from the release work we did on her thoracic spine today. Until today she hasn’t been able to tolerate more than 30 minutes sitting without that tailbone going into severe pain. And after two hours sitting today she said there was zero tailbone pain. Oh, and we noticed when Mom went to lie down the pitting in her ankles and feet was gone and the edema had reduced about 75% too.
I’m a believer in everything in its due time. And some would say I should have, could have, (whatever) addressed this weeks ago. But it has been my experience in the work that I do, when the time is right then what shall be shall be. And today was a day for Mom to shift and shift big time she did cause after #1 bedsore almost healed #2 tailbone pain gone #3 pitting gone and edema reduced 75%… there is a #4 that I didn’t see coming. But first…
Mom spent twenty-one days in a good rehab facility that helped her a lot. But from her beginning in there I was pushing to get her on a recumbent bike to strengthen her quads and they kept saying she isn’t ready. So when we got to my house I collected my stationary bike and took the seat/pole off of it so Mom’s wheelchair could roll right up to it. And she’s been working those quads and getting them stronger every day. So today after our session with her on her belly I had her sitting on the side of the table and I had her slide her feet to the floor and she held my hands shoulder height. And when I told her to stand up she did just that with those quads of hers. She stood right up on her own without thinking about it and with very little effort, and then she did it two more times. The third time (and this is #4) I had her lightly place her right hand on my shoulder and she ‘danced’ her way (yes her feet moved when and where she told them to) and she ‘waltzed’ herself right to her wheelchair where she put her hands on the arms and slowly lowered herself into the seat. Yeah, it was pretty amazing. The woman who keeps saying she can’t do something, and often while she is doing it, (yep I said that right) proved herself wrong once again.
Then she rolled herself into the other room and mixed up dumpling batter. I cooked them up and she ate nearly a third of the batch. More than I’ve seen her eat at one sitting since this journey of hers started. This journey of hers has been mine too and is far from over. But today was almost as good as the day I got her off the respirator in the ICU back in August. Yepper, today was a very good day indeedy. Maybe one day I’ll write more about this western medical system of ours, that in my experience has nothing to do with healing the individual as a whole, and about some amazing healers working in a regulated system that doesn’t allow them the breath and space to help people heal (I now know why I couldn’t make myself finish nursing school), and an insurance industry whose focus and concern is making money and not about healing people.
All I know for sure is that within us we all have the ability to heal ourselves. It involves slowing down and listening to what our body is telling us. And we can learn to do this at any age; AEB my seven year old student and my seventy five year student (my amazing Mother) and all of my students in between those ages who are taking what they learn in our sessions out into their everyday lives.
That’s all I got right now, which I think is a lot. Though I had to ask what day today was cause these days seem to melt into each other. These last months have been jam packed and a blur at the same time. I’m trying to just take it one day at a time and sometimes it’s just one breath at a time that gets me through…