My experience in the NRGH just re-enforces my resolve to push the federal Minister of Health’s position that “transformational change” is needed. Our current system is broken beyond repair. One has to question, at what point do you stop using body filler to keep your battered and beaten automobile looking good? Healthcare is no different.
I grew up in a system that was more akin to the Cider House Rules kind of facility. It was community and not tax dollar focused. Today people expect at least a St. Elsewhere or better a Chicago Med type of institute. People see these wonderful institutes on the weekly episode of their favourite show slowly letting the lines between entertainment and reality get closer together. If we really want that level of health care run solely on tax dollars, that transformational change has to start happening quickly. Anyway onward and upward…
Day six I made my first transfer into my wheelchair. I was still getting IV antibiotics every six hours but each of those were over in fifteen minutes so by day six my leg had improved immensely. It was still tender, rosy but not as red as when I was admitted and the swelling was down considerably (skin starting to scale and itch). It was time to start planning for discharge and that meant initially building some endurance back in my wheelchair. See how having the leg hanging would affect it. My doctor agreed but also insisted on transfer supervision for the first while. Fine with me.
Now here’s we get a little bit into the understanding of functional ability. Like everything else I do momentum is an important factor but, I am learning, most people don’t noticed that, they just see the motion, not so much the action. So for my first transfer I had the care aid lower the bed so it was even with the seat of my wheelchair and she would need to keep my leg from falling when I transferred. I knew the momentum of the transfer would jump my leg off the bed at which point the care aid would grab the leg and let it down gently. After all I don’t have the muscle to do that, part of the nature of someone with lower limb muscle control so we adjust our “functional ability” to accommodate.
So, to borrow a line from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, it was a “quick step to the left and jump to the right” would put me in my chair easily. Apparently the care aid had thought I would tell her when to grab my leg while I had assumed she would know following my momentum shift from the bed, which left my leg flying through the air like a cowboy on a bronco at the Calgary Stampede, would be a hint as to that was the time to grab the leg.
Anyway it worked out and after exploring my freedom I realized right away I had to get home. This was re-enforced when I saw the bathroom and realized I was still stuck on that bedpan (speaking of the Stampede above also shaped like a horseshoe). I was able to go from 30 minutes in the morning to almost two hours that evening being in the chair so improvement was happening. I had given up on transfer assistance after transfer three. I could do it on my own, the staff was busy and the reality was there would be no one once I was home. So it was time to put my big-boy pants back on and head home. Continue reading “The Decomposition of Healthcare – Part 4 Discharge”