Day 30, March 27, full moon. The morning was spent doing the usual morning routine followed by finishing packing, paperwork and good byes. The transfer ambulance was hours late as usual. And the drivers did not know where the next hospital was. Oh well, situation normal. We arrived at Hospital C late. I was put on the sixth floor, the same floor that congresswoman Gabby Gifford stayed during her rehabilitation. We settled into my new room and I had my vitals checked while my mother and brother unpacked. My mother would sleep in a reclining chair next to my bed and Kevin would spend the night in a motel. They would start a search for an apartment tomorrow. For me, tomorrow would be evaluations and goal setting.
Day 31, I met my main nurse, Heather and my main tech, Martha. They were two angels sent to me in my hour of need. My usual morning routine continued. vitals were taken, traech maintenance done, and an anti-clotting shot to my waist. I was still on an oxygen assist line just under my nostrils, I had a catheter, and a PIC line with an IV.
Evaluations started with a psyche exam. The psychiatrist asked the same questions as the last hospital to determine if I knew who I was, where I was, what was the date, who was the president, etc. Then cognitive testing was done. I passed. Then physical testing for strength, range of motion, and speech were performed to determine the extent of my damage. A lot more didn’t work than worked. I had to keep building my web…. My mother spent the night in my room again while Kevin stayed at the Comfort Inn. They had a lead on an apartment with a church group.
My first weekend was spent resting and settling in. My roommate was Otis, an elderly black gentleman, who had suffered a stroke. He was in bad shape but much better than I. He had the window on his side of the room while I had the door, looking out on the nurses’ station.
Day 35- Today was eventful. My catheter was removed and now I would pee in my diaper instead. It was a step forward, but a hunbling one…. My mother and brother found an apartment from a church group. A man named Monson (same as I) had canceled and my mother got the apartment. It was nice, affordable, close, and on the bus line. I spent the night alone.
Day 36- My feeding was transitioned from an IV to using my feeding tube. This would remove the IV line that always got in the way during therapy. Now I would be fed through the feeding tube into my stomach. First the meds were crushed in a mortar and pestle by the nurse. Then they were washed down the tube with a couple of cans of liquid food. Then the line was rinsed with water. I could feel the coolness of the liquid in my stomach and I usually got hiccups
Day 37- My father and my brother, Bruce arrived today after flying in. They were exhausted. The plan is for my dad to stay with my mother in the apartment and for Bruce and Kevin to return to Wisconsin.
I kept my MIRR valve on all day…. I had removable casts made for my right arm and leg. The idea was for me to wear them while sleeping. They were intended to hold my foot and wrist in a more normal position so the tendons and ligaments did not become stiffened in an undesired position. I was able to talk night shift into not rolling me over. From this point forward, I slept on my back with the end of the bed with my head slightly elevated. A hospital bed has the ability to raise or lower the head or foot of the bed and to raise or lower the whole bed.
Day 38- Bruce and Kevin left for home. They would stop in Austin to pick up my mail and get it forwarded to Wisconsin. Kevin would pay my bills and be my accountant. Thanks Kevin, even when a person is laid up in the hospital, bills continue to have to be paid. Today was the evaluation meeting to discuss the options for my treatment. My therapists were assigned. Emma was my physical therapist. Victor was my occupational therapist and Jamie was my speech therapist. Three more angels arrived to help me in my time of need.
The PIC valve in my right arm was removed. It was a relatively simple procedure and minimal blood was lost. It felt good to get that contraption removed. Slowly I was ridding myself of the paraphenalia of stroke recovery. And I was getting more movement in my right hand.
Day 39- Kevin was hurrying home to see a dying friend. Johnny B died the day before he got there. I cried uncontrollably because I felt responsible for the delay.
Day 40-A weekend of no therapy except what I did on my own. The highlight of my weekend was that I could change TV stations with the controls using my now long fingernails. The small TV was mounted on a mechanical arm that would swing over the bed.
Day 42. My typical day would start with vitals taken, feeding and meds, glucose testing, and shots. Then a respiratory tech would show up and do a series of procedures. First the traech would be cleared with a small suction tube ending by the tube touching my lungs which set off a fit of violent coughing. Then a mask was put over my face and a fog for some medical reason I did not know was released into the mask for about five minutes followed by a inhalation from a aspirator. Then I was dressed and transferred to a wheelchair, usually by my number one technician/angel, Martha. She would start my day with the chant of ‘Rock and Roll’. That would bring a smile to my soul and I would be ready for therapy. I would need to have an oxygen sensor on my finger and a bottle of oxygen with a tube running to my nostrils. Then I would be wheeled to my therapy session by a tech or therapist. Everyday a schedule was delivered. It showed what time different therapies were scheduled. One hour each for occupational and speech therapy and a hour and a half for physical therapy.
Day 43- Today’s highlight was my physical therapy session with Emma. I was doing time on the inclined board. I was strapped in the upright position. Linda, who was really funny, was the technician. Otis, my roommate was there with his technician, Lafayette. We were playing balloon volleyball, where we would pop the balloon upward and try to keep it from hitting the ground. This was to build our stamina, eye to hand coordination, and keep us entertained. After the game, Emma put on some Irish music and Linda and Lafayette did their interpretation of an Irish jig. It was hilarious.
Day 44-In Occupational Therapy, Victor stretched out my right arm to stretch the muscles and tendons and increase my range of motion. Stretching sounds easy, but it is very painful to stretch tightened muscles and tendons. It brought tears to my eyes, as Victor stated “There is no crying in therapy” My arm was very sore afterward. In physical therapy, I was upright on the inclined board for a longer duration. Speech therapy focused on facial excercizes and talking…. My buddies from a band called Austin Heat showed up around lunch. Don, Austin, Dexter, Freddie, and Brian. They brought a good vibe to my day and we had some good chuckles. It was a nice break to my day.
Day 45- I had a swallow test today. This is a test where various foods were given to me to swallow. They started with something easy like pudding.and progressed to something more difficult like a dry cookie. These were mixed with a Barium solution so they could observe the swallowing sequence using a medical monitoring instrument. I did okay with the pudding but choked on the dry cookie. So I failed. One of the effects of a stroke is that the swallowing mechanism gets messed up. While swallowing seems so simple, it is actually a series of well timed rhythms and movements. When the swallow starts, the throat sends a contractive wave to move the food or drink to the stomach, and simutaneously signals the flapper valve to close over the lungs and open to the stomach. A stroke might damage the strength of the contraction and/or slow the signal to close the flapper valve over the lungs. The weakened throat contraction could cause choking while the delayed flapper valve closing could allow food into the lungs, which could result in pneumonia. This is a great concern for stroke victims.
Day 46- Having to wear a diaper as an adult was a humbling experience. And changing a diaper on a full grown disabled man was quite a process. First the tech would roll me over on one side. I tried to help as best I could but I was essentially paralyzed. And what muscle control I had was very weak. I would try to keep myself in position by holding onto the side of the bed. Then my old diaper would be pulled out and my butt would be wiped clean, disinfected, and dried. Then I would be rolled over onto my other side to make sure I was clean. Finally a clean diaper was put on me and snugged up. This occurred about three times a day or as needed. The dirty diaper was usually due to urine as a good, regular bowel movement in the hospital is rare. The hospital records bowel movements religiously. A week without a bowel movement ends with the dreaded enema.
Day 47- The highlight today was that the oxygen requirement was removed. Prior to this, I had to be hooked up to an oxygen bottle for transport or therapy. In the morning, when the respiration tech came in to clean my traech, they would check my oxygen saturation. Occasionally I would be borderline, like 91%. So they kept me on oxygen until today. One more piece of stroke paraphenalia gone.
Day 48- The Hoyer Lift. When it was time to transfer me from my bed to a my wheelchair, a Hoyer Lift was used because it was too difficult for a person to lift me and transfer me. The Hoyer Lift was an electric Lift that had an arm like a crane. The first step was to put a lifting tarp under me similar to a stork carrying a baby. The blanket which had grommets in the corners, was manuevered under me. The blanket fit like a canvas chair, when the grommets were attached to the arm. I was lifted out of the bed and the Hoyer Lift was rolled over to my wheelchair and I was lowered into it.
Day 49- April 15. The Boston Marathon bombing happened today. It put a cloud over the day.
Day 50-The dark cloud in Boston got thicker and weirder. But life goes on and so does therapy. My physical therapy now involved putting me in a special chair, which when cranked, would raise me to a standing position. Emma kept checking my blood pressure and asking me if I felt light-headed. I remained standing with my legs and elbows supporting me, and we usually played balloon volleyball or an easy board game. The hard part was getting me in or out of the chair.
Day 51- The water wars. I felt I got too much water every morning. The last thing before therapy was to feed me my liquid diet and water. Then I would end up urinating in my diaper a couple of hours later. I could not hold my bladder and it came with little warning. This would often happen during therapy which resulted in embarrassment and missing therapy time. So I would refuse a good portion of the water recommended to me by the dietician. I would rather be a little thirsty and get my full regimen of therapy. This would result in butting heads and compromising with the dietician. Also I was losing weight faster than she preferred. But I was happy with the weight loss. This conflict with the dietician would continue throughout my stay.
Day 52- Laps. One of the ways I would get exercize was to do laps in my wheelchair around the sixth floor unit. It was a square shaped hallway. I was slow and it was very difficult. My left side did most of the work. My right foot stayed on the footrest and my right hand did little work. While the floor appeared flat, it seemed hilly to me. It had sagged a little through the years, so where the beams were located was high ground, which created a gently rolling road. I often had to make several attempts to clear the high spots.
Day 53- Rotisserie Baseball. My buddy Bob dropped by. We are in a rotisserie baseball league, called Rotohead. It is a pretty intense keeper league for old style hard core roto owners. It was great to see Bob and talk about sports instead of hospital life.
Day 54-55. I am now doing some therapy during the weekend. One is a social session where we play games. And some speech therapy.
Day 56- Today’s highlight was my first field trip. We went to The Houston Natural history Museum. It was my first time out of the hospital since my stroke. Another step on the road to recovery.
Day 57- Therapists have excellent posture and are strong. This is necessary because they have to be able to transfer the patient from the wheelchair to the exercize table and back. The exersize table is padded and about the same height as the wheelchair seat. The wheelchair is locked in place, the seat belt is undone, and a transfer board is placed between the wheelchair seat and the table top, forming a bridge. The therapist squats down, keeping their back ramrod straight, and give the patient a bear hug. They then lift and pivot the patient so his butt lands on the transfer board. Then a series of lifts to scoot the patient down the board to the table. The patient is now ready for therapy. When finished, the process is reversed.
Day 58-Swallowing- Because of the delayed reaction time between my swallowing and the flapper valve closing over my lungs, swallowing water results in coughing because water enters the lungs. So the solution is to add a thickening agent to the water, to make it move slower down the throat. This is accomplished by adding a packet of thickening agent to the water, which results in a thin syrup, which tastes horrible.
Day 59- Today I had day surgery to remove scar tissue in my throat due to my traech. It started with a ride in the ambulance to the hospital where the surgery would take place. The hospital was mammoth. My mother rode along on another ambulance comedy. The ambulance drivers didn’t know which door to enter. We ended up circling the hospital and entering through the emergency room and found our way to the day surgery ward, where I was put in a private alcove. Once there, the nurse prepped me for surgery. Then I was wheeled to surgery, chit chat, the doctor arrived, the anesthesia started, and down the rabbit hole I went. I woke up in my alcove. My mother was waiting and I returned to a groggy reality. Eventually the ambulance crew arrived and returned me “home” I was not supposed to talk for 24 hours.
Day 60-I have been at Hospital C a month. At 9am every weekday, I now do an extra occupational therapy class. It includes exercizes like picking up pennies individually from the table and putting them to another can. Or picking up clothes pins from a tray and attaching them to a vertical rod from bottom to top. This sounds simple, but it was difficult for me. It improved the dexterity of my fingers and required me to lift my arm.
Day 61&62- the weekend. Therapy was self therapy, a social game playing session, and speech. My parents dropped by both days. My dad shaved me….Every weekend had a shower day, in addition to three showers or sponge baths during the week. This was accomplished by transferring me from my bed via the Hoyer Lift to a special rolling chair designed for showering. I was naked with a towel over me. I was rolled into a shower stall and sprayed down like a car. Then my hair was shampooed and body washed with a soapy wash cloth. There was a flexible hose with a shower head used to rinse me off. I was towel dried and returned to bed.
Day 63- They capped my traech today. The traech was plugged, which forces all the breathing through my nose or mouth. It went okay except when I laid down, it became very difficult to breathe. That was very disappointing. If I can’t tolerate capping the traech, I may require more surgery….Today was the first time I tried pureed food, which is grinding up a perfectly good food into a mush and putting it in a form that for example looks like peas. Hospital food, yuk.
Day 64-I had a stomach x-ray today. I have not had a bowel movement in a while, so they are checking for poop backing up in my plumbing. An enema may be in my near future. Also I still have a hard time breathing when my traech is capped. Bummer times two.
Day 65-The low point of the day was an enema. I was rolled on my side and a containment dam of absorbent towels was built behind my butt. Then soapy water was pumped up my rectum and I waited. Not very long. An explosive wave of poop, followed by a horrible sound and smell. My colon convulsed until I was drained, exhausted, and empty. Finally the god awful clean-up and it was over. A necessary evil.
Day 66- My therapy schedule was expanded again. I get two 60 minute occupational therapy sessions, 90 minutes of physical therapy, two 30 minute speech therapy sessions ending with 60 minutes in a gym session(riding a stationary bike, step master, and arm stretches, all done from my wheelchair). My speech therapy sessions involved supervising me eating pureed food, to insure I didn’t choke. The other 30 minutes was spent having me work on breathe control by blowing into a spirometer.
Day 67- Today the doctor put a smaller tube in my traech. It made it harder to breathe.
Day 68 & 69- The weekend. Breathing continues to be difficult, especially when I lay down. I may have to get the surgery done. Otis could be pretty frisky. When they got him ready for his shower, I heard him say “I’ll take mine off if you take yours off”.
Day 70-The GOB (Get Outta Bed) Team. My morning routine has changed. Instead of Martha getting me ready for therapy, the team of Linda and Matt drop by. They wash my face, put my clothes and shoes on, and then transfer me to the wheelchair. This was done by physically transferring me instead of using the Hoyer Lift. It is faster but harder on the technicians’ backs…. Otis checked out today. He’s going to an assisted living facility. Good luck, buddy.
Day 71-My new roommate was Chris. He was not there because of a stroke but because of an accident and had a brain injury…. My stay at the hospital was extended because I continued to make progress. The insurance company demanded reports of my progress every week. The insurance company has been very fair and I feel blessed.
Day 72-Chris REALLY did not want to be there! Chris apparently had hit his head in a car accident and had bleeding on the brain. He was suffering from paranoid delusions, or was he? His belief in his delusion was so absolute and his delusion was so vivid and detailed. His belief was that his wife was having an affair with the doctor and they had colluded to get him committed in the hospital. He refused to eat the hospital food (which was a sign he was sane) for fear that they would slip medication into it. He refused to sleep and drank coffee 24/7. He had to have constant supervision because he was definitely a flight risk. He tried to escape constantly. I felt sorry for the doctors, nurses and techs because he refused to cooperate with any of them. They were the enemy. His psyche exam was epicly belligerent. He absolutely wanted out of this “prison”. Through it all, he did have a sense of humor. He was my roommate for about three weeks.
Day 73- My roommate Chris continued to be high maintenance for the staff. I warned my family not to stare at him, because he was like a caged animal. I was asked if I wanted to change rooms, but Chris had become a comrade in arms who I would not abandon….The funny thing today was when Hannah, one of my therapists, told me to sit up. Then she kept pushing me and trying to knock me over. I thought she was mad at me. But this was just therapy to build core strength and balance.
Day 74-The hospital lobbied the insurance company for me to stay, based on my continued improvement. My insurance company had been very fair and helpful, so I hoped for the best. The criteria was there must be continued improvement for me to stay at a rehabilitation hospital.
Days 75/76 (the weekend). My mother has flown home for a couple of days to take care of personal business. My brothers have been taking care of my personal business, such as paying bills, while I was in the hospital.
Day 77- I had the surgery again to remove the scar tissue from the traech. Everything went well. Again, I couldn’t talk for 24 hours.
Day 78- While breathing was still difficult, it was better than before. I could breathe while lying on my back, without feeling like I was going to suffocate.
Chris had some trouble with the security guard last night. I got my sleeping pill about 9pm and that knocked me out. Apparently the security guard held Chris down while they force fed him his meds. Chris claims they messed up his shoulder and he was livid.
Day 79- My mother returned from Wisconsin and all is well.
Day 80- I got my traech removed in my room. The doctor unscrewed some parts, pulled out the tube and put on a band aid. It was pretty easy. I was told it would heal up in a week or two. From here, I would breathe through my nose and mouth, and talk using MY vocal cords. It was another big milestone.
Day 81- I had therapy with Hannah and her technician, and Lafayette. Lafayette skipped lunch and stayed around to help. I took my first steps between the side bars. It wasn’t many steps, and it wasn’t pretty, and it was very difficult. But it was a major accomplishment and another huge milestone.
Days 82-83. A ‘normal’ weekend. My fingernails and toenails are getting long, like Howard Hughes. I need a pedicure.
Day 84. Today was a field trip to an Astro’s game. Heather, my nurse wrote GO ASTROS over my traech band aid. The trip was fun. We had good seats and the Astros won. We started a two game winning streak which was unusual for 2013. Pushing my wheel chair around Minute Maid Park was hard work.
Day 85- In occupational therapy, I was wired up. An electrical charge was sent to a sticky pad applied to my skin over a muscle that was intended to be stimulated. In my case, it was the right arm. It was hooked up to a controller that sent electricity via wires to the sticky pad to cause my muscles to fire. I was pedaling an arm bike. The amperage was adjusted to an intense but not painful level. It was very high tech.
Later, in an attempt to loosen up my shoulder, I was given a cortisone shot in my shoulder socket.
Day 86- I got the band aid removed from my traech. It had healed over pretty good. There was a hole, but it was healed over.
Chris seemed to be getting better. He apolagized to a nurse. His first signof empathy and respect. He still won’t eat hospital food or meds. His family brings in food when they visit.
Day 87- I had another swallow test today. I did better than last time, but I still failed.
I got a green armband today, which allows me to leave the 6th floor, unsupervised. From now on, I am supposed to get myself to therapy on my own. Nobody will come to pick me up. I have to push myself to the elevator, then therapy, and back. I took a couple of steps in therapy using the sidebars.
Day 88- I dealt cards today in Occupational Therapy. Texas Hold Em.
One of the patients was an older Italian gentleman who had suffered a major stroke. He had an entourage with him. A therapist, a nurse, a young wife 30 years younger than he, an infant, and a nanny. The rumor was that he was a retired boxer, who owned a vineyard. Obviously wealthy.
Days 89/90- Another typical weekend. My mom drops by everyday. It is pretty quiet. My roommate’s family visits him a couple times everyday. They’re getting him ready for discharge in the near future.
Day 91- My meals are now chopped instead of pureed. And I feed myself .
In physical therapy, I was walking with assistance using a high walker. The routine was, I got help to stand up and support myself on my elbows on the walker which had wheels.Emma scooted along on my right side in a rolling chair and moved my right foot as we went. A technician followed behind me with a wheel chair for when I needed to rest. I was building my strength.
Day 92- I did 120 steps in the high walker. A new record everyday. Some days I felt too tired, but those were often the best days. This was one of those days.
I had a treat today. One of the nurses brought in chopped BBQ and strawberries with whipped cream. What a great break from hospital meatloaf and canned green beans.
Day 93- I usually had two 30 minute speech sessions per day. One of them involved eating my lunch with supervision. The other involved breathing exercises to build my lung capacity. Occupational therapy continued with arm and hand exercises, especially on my right side, raising my arm higher and increasing my range of motion. Physical therapy focused on walking. Emma had an intern from Boston. She was great. And very pretty. There are a lot of pretty therapists here.
Day 94- There was a meeting with my doctor today about where my next facility will be. The goal of my mother and I was that the next facility had a good therapy program.
My old roommate, Chris moved out today. He was one happy cowboy. He was much improved and the paranoia was gone. He left with his family. The floor nurses and techs had a big graduation ceremony where they sang and danced on the way to the elevator.
Day 95- I am to the point in my recovery that when I return to my room at the end of the day, I did the transfer from my wheelchair to the bed, using the transfer board with supervision.
Day 96/97- My brother, Kevin and his wife, Sue came from Wisconsin to visit and vacation for a couple days. It was good that my mom had someone to visit with.
Day 98- I got a new roommate. He had a stroke on the golf course. He was proud that he finished the round before going to the hospital. Not a good idea.
Day 99- I got another swallow test. I finally passed. Another milestone. I was qualified to eat real food, though it was hospital food. The representative from the therapy facility came by for my evaluation. The dog and pony show went well. My mother and I were hopeful.
Day 100- Wow, 100 days. what a long and strange trip it has been.
Day 101- I had a couple of weird symptoms from my stroke. I could inhale through my nostrils, but I could not exhale through them. If I kept my mouth shut while exhaling, my cheeks would puff up like a chipmunk rather than air exiting through my nostrils. Another weird symptom was my right eye did not completely close, even during sleep. I was like a cat, except my eye dried out when I slept. …My golfer roommate checked out. My next roommate was a salesman who loved hot dogs.
Day 102- We went on a field trip to a great cajun restaurant. I had crawfish ettouffe over mashed potatoes (not rice). The food was delicious, spicy and rich.We had a big group: 5 therapists, 5 technicians, and 5 patients. A fun time was had by all. Later, after going to sleep, I woke with an odd feeling in my diaper. My stomach didn’t adapt to the rich, spicy diet and I had diarrehia. I felt even more sorry than usual for the technician who changed my diaper.
Day 103- The nurses started giving me mini-enemas every night. They put a suppository in my bunghole every night. Fifteen minutes later, a bowel movement occurred. Not a big one, and it is usually mostly water. They were trying to get my bowels regular. This was a constant hassle in the hospital. They were always tracking bowel movements.
Day 104- My mother and I went to the chapel. It was done by a local church, a different one every week. It was always uplifting.
Day 105- I was turned down for my Austin rehabilitation facility by the insurance company. I was surprised and disappointed. The list the insurance company provided upset my mother. They were mainly nursing homes. My mother had done volunteer work at one, and she felt it was too easy to fall through the cracks, and they were understaffed. We were back to square one.
Day 106- There was a patient here whose name was John. He had attempted suicide. The top of his head had been repaired from the bullet exploding through his skull. It was hard to believe he had survived and was coherent in thought. He had a good attitude and thanked God him being alive.
Day 107- My doctor had a brainstorm. She had a friend in Austin who was in spinal rehab, which is similar to stroke rehab. She was going to recommend to the insurance company that I transfer there. …Emma tried a new exercise to break up the routine. She brought a big, bouncy ball for me to sit and balance on. All in all, it was humorous.
Day 108- The nsurance company had been pestering me for a signature. I had been signing with an ‘X’. I told my mother I would try to sign my name with my right hand, but it was a waste of time. I tried and it actually went pretty well. My brain had remembered the motion of signing my name. It wasn’t great but it was legible. I was surprised and my mother was thrilled. Another milestone.
Day 109- I had my first day on the treadmill. I was suspended on a harness to prevent a fall. and to bear my weight. It felt weird but good to be psedo-walking.
Days 110/111- a typical quiet weekend.
Day 112- I found out that the insurance company had approved me for the hospital in Austin. My mother and I were elated. I leave in a couple days. Wow.
Day 113- They weighed me today. I have lost 50 pounds. I would not recommend this diet program to anyone…..Therapy continues on schedule. I still had trouble drinking water because it routinely ‘went down the wrong tube’. So it was decided to leave my feeding tube in, for a while.
Day 114- My mom started packing and preparing for the move to Austin. Kevin flies in tomorrow to help with the move. A special thanks to my mom. She has been here to help everyday. She has been dealing with insurance, getting ready for the move, financial matters, and even doing my laundry. And to my brother Kevin, who has been paying my bills, and whatever else that needed to be done. …I am saying my goodbyes. It was still hard to believe I was leaving….In physical therapy, we did a trial run to transfer me into an automobile. I was too tall to fit into the car. bummer.
STATUS CHECK. I am still in a wheel chair. My left arm and leg do all the work to push the chair. My right arm and leg just try to stay out of the way. Some ramps in the hospital are like mountain passes to me. I still can not get up from a chair or my wheel chair on my own. When I am using the high walker, my right knee will buckle and my right foot drags. I am still transferred to and from my wheel chair. I still wear diapers. My swallowing is weak to a degree that I drink thickened liquids and my food is chopped up. My voice is weak and slurred. My lungs are weak. My right arm and leg are very weak. My left side, though much stronger than my right side, is weak. But my spirit is strong.
Day 115- I am going to Austin in a Yellow Cab, outfitted to carry a wheel chair. We are leaving tomorrow. I have been here for ten and a half weeks. It is holy ground to me. Thanks to my doctor, my primary therapists (Emma, Jamie, & Victor), my #1 nurse, Heather, and my#1 nurse’s assistants ( Martha & Ucha), and the entire hospital staff, except the cooks. Thanks to, in no particular order or occupation :Sue, Deanna, Susan, Big Mama, LaFayette, Jessie, Hannah, Angie, Alan, Tomas, Melissa, Bennett, Linda, Matt, Sam, Glen, michelle, Tiffany, Felicity, Jamal, Lavar, and those whose names I have forgotten, or never knew. And of course to my incredible family. To all the friends who stopped by to visit. To all the people who prayed for my recovery. And to my insurance company.