Such a lovely day today. Colin and I went for a stroll in the garden, and we sat in the canteen for a bit, we explored the hospital floors, and we just had “together” time. It was magical to connect with him again in this way. He is able to stay in his char for so much longer now – almost indefinitely if he does pressure relief exercises. I have learned how to them, and so we have been doing them together a lot, even though it is not something I have been officially taught.
The Physio case manager have me a few websites for resources, and I have really enjoyed learning some facts and practical things that I can do, and will have to do later, for Colin. One thing that is immediately helpful is being able to help Colin with pressure relief exercises. One of the risks of being paralysed is that you may not able to move yourself into different positions sufficiently to constantly redistribute pressure on the pressure points, and you can’t feel if there is a sore or pressure point that is developing into a potential issue. If left untreated (which doesn’t happen overnight, but is a real concern as it can go all the way down to the bone and cause nasty infections) they can be deadly; so it is important to learn assisted, and independent pressure relief. Obviously, when in the bed, the nurses turn him every 2 hours as he is not yet able to roll over or turn or do any unassisted relief exercises. He says that once you are used to the being woken to turn, you are able to go back to sleep immediately. But when in the chair, it is perhaps more important to be aware of the pressure points as a person can potentially sit in a chair all day, potentially up to 12 or 15 hours, and that can also cause issues. The easiest, or perhaps the most obvious one is for the person in the chair to lean forward enough to lift the weight off the sitting bones so they can have a rest. The best practice says you should perform relief for one second for every minute you have sat. Therefore, every hour, you should be in the habit of doing pressure relief for at least one minute. Up until now, I have helped Colin do this, but yesterday I noticed that he was not leaning too much on me, and today he suddenly realised that he was holding himself up completely. We did a test. I spotted him, and he tried to lean forward and then walk up with his arms (as the physios have been teaching him) to fully seated again. Just as he did that the three nurses who were sitting at the nurses station started cheering and clapping. It was amazing. I imagine they were watching just in case it went pear-shaped and had to come to our assistance. It was a really huge win, and Colin was really pleased.
I did get a video of him doing it, but it is very large. I am going to try to upload it onto YouTube and place a link later when it has uploaded.
Tomorrow we are having a braai, and Colin is really excited about it. I shaved him, as usual, but the neck beard that has been growing longer and longer because I was too nervous to shave so close to the trachy was no longer bothering Colin since he could remove his collar, but it still looked silly and unkempt, to I shaved that too. He will look grand tomorrow with a clean shave, wearing his tracksuit, t-shirt, and star wars slippers. 😀
I will post the pics and video when they are uploaded.
Today I am grateful for Colin’s strength, the caring nursing staff, and the gardens at the rehab which are quite beautiful.