October 9, 2017: Kessler

By Monday, October 9, 2017, everyone agreed that Matt had to leave the hospital. Lying around all day was not helping the forward motion of his recovery. The only hindrance to Matt’s discharge was the bone marrow biopsy, which was tentatively scheduled based on the doctors’ availability and whether any emergency cases arrived to push Matt back in line.

The doctors decided that Matt would be either transferred to the acute in-patient rehab facility (in which case he’d return for the test) or biopsied, depending on who was ready for him first. When I left in the mid-afternoon to spend time with G and H who were home from school for Columbus Day, Matt had been neither secured a facility nor biopsied. The inefficiency of city hospitals.

Just as I began to believe that Matt would not be transferred or biopsied, the afternoon shifted gears. In stark contrast to the slow, inefficient morning, everything happened seemingly all at once.

While I was busy with G and H–and throwing a temper tantrum on the phone with UPS, who had failed to deliver the package containing Matt’s most recent MRI CD to Duke– Matt’s mom witnessed the afternoon and kept me apprised via text messages. The story I can tell today is pieced together from my imperfect memory and the few text messages I still have from the day.

Around 3, the biopsy was underway. The results would return in about a week. Around 5, Matt was secured a bed at Kessler, an acute in-patient rehabilitation facility. It was the only facility of all we’d contacted that would agree to take him, that felt it had adequate resources to care for Matt’s particular needs. By 6, the transport ambulance had arrived to take him to Kessler. By 7, a frustrating and heartbreaking hour later, Matt was finally ready to go.

A frustrating and heartbreaking hour. I have a feeling that is an understatement, easy for me to write but impossible to witness. It had taken Matt an hour to climb out of bed and move into a stretcher. The deficiencies in his motor skills and short term memory, his refusal of any offered help, turned a thirty second task into a sixty minute chore.

Matt’s dad offered to meet Matt at Kessler so I didn’t have to drag G and H out of the house. Matt was settled in his new room by 9.

On June 9th, I wrote that after Matt’s brain surgery, a physical therapist tested him and announced he didn’t need physical therapy. I wrote that my initial reaction was obviously. Of course, Matt wouldn’t need physical therapy—he was Matt. I expected no other conclusion.

Exactly sixteen months later, when the physical therapist declared that Matt needed acute in-patient physical therapy, I wasn’t stunned. I couldn’t say he was Matt and of course he wouldn’t need any kind of therapy. He wasn’t Matt. And we (me, the doctors, everybody) needed to do something–anything–to get him back.

I had every hope pinned on the wonders of physical therapy. And cognitive therapy and occupational therapy. I had hopes of letting the kids visit, letting Matt’s friends visit—Matt hadn’t wanted any visitors in the hospital. I had incredibly high hopes of Matt returning to Matt.

The acute in-patient rehabilitation facility was the road to our next upswing. But the road to that upswing was long and bumpy and, also, predicted by a psychic-medium, who knew the day Matt would come home well before the doctors ever mentioned the word discharge.

8 thoughts on “October 9, 2017: Kessler

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