A place that fits

A place that fits

Philippians 2:14-15

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Before we knew it my in-home therapy came to an end and I finally qualified to go were my mom had been wanting me to go for months and since I no longer had insurance  through my past job, I was free to go were ever I chose and that place was Casa Colina in Pomona.

We didn’t have any kind of handicap vehicle and my dad had a full time job and my younger sister was a full time college student and was only able to go with us to help a few times, so my mom had to figure out how to get me in and out of her car on her own.  My previous insurance carrier, that denied my mom the most basic items she would need to care for me had finally come out to the house, at my mom’s request so they could see and understand what they had been denying us, after that we got the things my mom needed and  one of those things was a Slide board. People use a slide board when they need to move a person that cannot move themselves from one place to another like the bed to a chair; in this case it was from my wheelchair to the front seat of the car.

I was still really weak from all those months of lying in bed in a coma.                  When you lie in bed for almost five months while never moving a muscle your body begins to change, your muscles weaken from the lack of use, your tendons weaken and shorten and your joints lose flexibility. My family knew that was happening to me but every time they would try to move or stretch me my heart rate would sky rocket and my blood pressure would enter the danger zone so all anybody could do is give me sponge baths.

It had only been about ten months since my coma, I barely had the strength to keep myself in a sitting position so I was unable to help with the car transfers at all; my foot was curled in and under. They called it drop foot and even though I could no longer use it,   I still had feeling in it and it had become extremely  sensitive, so even if it wasn’t deformed I still wouldn’t have been able to put it down on the ground to help out in any way.  If it was just my mom taking me, she had to use the slide board to get me into car. ; And so, in August of 2001 I began therapy. I had entered into a new world this hospital would, in a way become like a second home to me. I came from a place of comfort and a community that accepted and embraced my position as an active participant to, not knowing where I fit in and who would notice me now. Not that I wanted to be noticed but I would have liked to have been acknowledged.

Casa Colina was great they treated me like I was a person from the start; no one talked down to me or treated me like I wasn’t cognitive or like I had become hard of hearing. We met all kinds of people from   all different walks of life from a high-schooler who got a brain injury when he hit a tree while snowboarding without a helmet to a young paralegal that was severely injured as her friend was attempting to pull into a parking lot.

I had therapy three hours a day, three days a week; physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. When I was released to go home from the last hospital I was in, the doctor had me on a high dose of Baclofen, an anti-spastic medication that relaxes your muscles; I was also taking blood pressure medicine and the combination made me sleepy so I didn’t have a lot of stamina but they made it easier for me to receive therapy.

I don’t think my pt. sessions were all that  exciting, I mean, I  don’t think I was strong enough to do much of anything but that is the point of rehabilitation, to give you strength were you’re lack it. My therapist, Dianne and Lisa definitely had their work cut out for them. Over the months I would struggle with myself and my mind that left me with a body that didn’t work. My body had betrayed me and the fight to reclaim it was daunting.  But they were great and kept working with me until, one therapy session, after what seemed like forty-five minutes I was finally able to role onto my side without help.  That accomplishment took me almost a year to do.

Sheila was my Occupational Therapist. I was now left handed so she helped me learn how to do things as a lefty. There are a lot of things people do with their hands but I only had one and I had to make that hand do things it wasn’t used to doing like button and unbutton a shirt. She also told me what would be a good way to do everyday task like brushing my teeth, to putting on my shirt. She gave me some great tips on how and what to do, for instance, put the toothpaste on your teeth first; my vision was so bad that I would end up smearing toothpaste on my hand instead of the brush.

Then I had speech. The thing I cared most about, my voice. Adam was my first speech therapist at Casa Colina.  He was right around my age. He was an okay speech therapist but he kept pressing me to hear myself and come to terms with my voice, I said “no, I’ve heard myself and I don’t need or want to hear myself again, so he dropped it, or so I thought. He asked me if he could start recording our sessions I said “as long as I don’t have to hear it”; he agreed and began recording our time together. Can you guess where this is going? One therapy session, part way through he said he was going to turn off the recorder and we continued to talk. Then he wanted to rewind the recording to the beginning when he was taping it because he said he wanted to change something that he had said, I said okay, thinking I would just hear him but he didn’t rewind it far enough and I heard a bit of the conversation that we were just having, the conversation that he said he wasn’t recording.  I felt tricked; he had been recording me the entire time. I was angry and upset at being forced to hear myself. I was trying not to cry and he just said “you have to deal with it, it’s like you lost your best friend” and, in a way that was true for me. My voice wasn’t great by any means, I couldn’t sing or even hum well but it was my connection to people and animals which was so important to me. I felt like it was my super power and I lost it. I mean, I could no longer walk or run, I couldn’t see and just to make sure my life wasn’t too easy I lost my way to connect with both people and animals. At the end of that session with Adam my mom could tell that I was upset and that made her upset, I told her what he did and she spoke to the therapy coordinator and that was the end of Adam. The speech Therapist I got next would turn out to be the best for me. Chip was great, we would talk like we were friends, and I think I was with him until he retired. Both I and my mom were sad to see him go but I didn’t dread going to speech after that. Therapy was, now going well, I was getting some strength back but in order for me to keep moving forward in my recovery I would need surgery… again.

A place that fits

Philippians 2:14-15

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Before we knew it my in-home therapy came to an end and I finally qualified to go were my mom had been wanting me to go for months and since I no longer had insurance  through my past job, I was free to go were ever I chose and that place was Casa Colina in Pomona.

We didn’t have any kind of handicap vehicle and my dad had a full time job and my younger sister was a full time college student and was only able to go with us to help a few times, so my mom had to figure out how to get me in and out of her car on her own.  My previous insurance carrier, that denied my mom the most basic items she would need to care for me had finally come out to the house, at my mom’s request so they could see and understand what they had been denying us, after that we got the things my mom needed and  one of those things was a Slide board. People use a slide board when they need to move a person that cannot move themselves from one place to another like the bed to a chair; in this case it was from my wheelchair to the front seat of the car.

I was still really weak from all those months of lying in bed in a coma.                  When you lie in bed for almost five months while never moving a muscle your body begins to change, your muscles weaken from the lack of use, your tendons weaken and shorten and your joints lose flexibility. My family knew that was happening to me but every time they would try to move or stretch me my heart rate would sky rocket and my blood pressure would enter the danger zone so all anybody could do is give me sponge baths.

It had only been about ten months since my coma, I barely had the strength to keep myself in a sitting position so I was unable to help with the car transfers at all; my foot was curled in and under. They called it drop foot and even though I could no longer use it,   I still had feeling in it and it had become extremely  sensitive, so even if it wasn’t deformed I still wouldn’t have been able to put it down on the ground to help out in any way.  If it was just my mom taking me, she had to use the slide board to get me into car. ; And so, in August of 2001 I began therapy. I had entered into a new world this hospital would, in a way become like a second home to me. I came from a place of comfort and a community that accepted and embraced my position as an active participant to, not knowing where I fit in and who would notice me now. Not that I wanted to be noticed but I would have liked to have been acknowledged in some way.

Casa Colina was great they treated me like I was a person from the start; no one talked down to me or treated me like I wasn’t cognitive or like I had become hard of hearing. We met all kinds of people from   all different walks of life from a highschooler who got a brain injury when he hit a tree while snowboarding without a helmet to a young paralegal that was severely injured as her friend was attempting to pull into a parking lot.

I had therapy three hours a day, three days a week; physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. When I was released to go home from the last hospital I was in, the doctor had me on a high dose of Baclofen, an anti-spastic medication that relaxes your muscles; I was also taking blood pressure medicine and the combination made me sleepy so I didn’t have a lot of stamina but they made it easier for me to receive therapy.

I don’t think my Pt sessions were all that  exciting, I mean, I  don’t think I was strong enough to do much of anything but that is the point of rehabilitation, to give you strength were you’re lack it. My therapist, Dianne and Lisa definitely had their work cut out for them. Over the months I would struggle with myself and my mind that left me with a body that didn’t work. My body had betrayed me and the fight to reclaim it was daunting.  But they were great and kept working with me until, one therapy session, after what seemed like forty-five minutes I was finally able to role onto my side without help.  That accomplishment took me almost a year to do.

Sheila was my Occupational Therapist. I was now left handed so she helped me learn how to do things as a lefty. There are a lot of things people do with their hands but I only had one and I had to make that hand do things it wasn’t used to doing like button and unbutton a shirt. She also told me what would be a good way to do everyday task like brushing my teeth, to putting on my shirt. She gave me some great tips on how and what to do, for instance, put the toothpaste on your teeth first; my vision was so bad that I would end up smearing toothpaste on my hand instead of the brush.

Then I had speech. The thing I cared most about, my voice. Adam was my first speech therapist at Casa Colina.  He was right around my age. He was an okay speech therapist but he kept pressing me to hear myself and come to terms with my voice, I said “no, I’ve heard myself and I don’t need or want to hear myself again, so he dropped it, or so I thought. He asked me if he could start recording our sessions I said “as long as I don’t have to hear it”; he agreed and began recording our time together. Can you guess where this is going? One therapy session, part way through he said he was going to turn off the recorder and we continued to talk. Then he wanted to rewind the recording to the beginning when he was taping it because he said he wanted to change something that he had said, I said okay, thinking I would just hear him but he didn’t rewind it far enough and I heard a bit of the conversation that we were just having, the conversation that he said he wasn’t recording.  I felt tricked; he had been recording me the entire time. I was angry and upset at being forced to hear myself. I was trying not to cry and he just said “you have to deal with it, it’s like you lost your best friend” and, in a way that was true for me. My voice wasn’t great by any means, I couldn’t sing or even hum well but it was my connection to people and animals which was so important to me. I felt like it was my super power and I lost it. I mean, I could no longer walk or run, I couldn’t see and just to make sure my life wasn’t too easy I lost my way to connect with both people and animals. At the end of that session with Adam my mom could tell that I was upset and that made her upset, I told her what he did and she spoke to the therapy coordinator and that was the end of Adam. The speech Therapist I got next would turn out to be the best for me. Chip was great, we would talk like we were friends, and I think I was with him until he retired. Both I and my mom were sad to see him go but I didn’t dread going to speech after that. Therapy was, now going well, I was getting some strength back but in order for me to keep moving forward in my recovery I would need surgery… again.

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One thought on “A place that fits

  1. joantav

    It is amazing to think of all you had to learn to do, from even just simple movements that we all take for granted. I am impressive with your determination and spirit through all of this. You had some very special people helping you along the way!!!

    Reply

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