I was tossing and turning until the early hours of the morning. Wide awake. To be honest, I didn’t expect anything less or anything more. I knew this was going to be an incredibly emotional day, but I wasn’t expecting how bad I would be.
Thankfully, I managed to get a few hours sleep. Abbie, another favourite, woke me up as it was breakfast time. Abbie has known me since my first few days at Rehab. I spoke like a regular at their local pub, I got into the habit of saying, “Can I have the usual, please?”
While Abbie went to the kitchen, my SLT (Speech and Language Therapist) came in to say goodbye. Although I didn’t spend much time with her, she helped me massively and made me realise just how important communication methods are. She also helped me to receive funding for assistive technology, which I am eternally grateful for.
Abbie returned with toast and orange juice. Shortly after, it was time to have a shower and get dressed. Why is it that when you have a shower or a bath, you reflect on life? Or is it just me? 😂 I was thinking about when I was in critical care, I could not do anything by myself. Now, even though I need to use a commode, this has given me the ability to shower independently, however I do need help with a few areas.
I was getting dressed, with the help of Abbie and another nurse. I then had my blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature took as this was a daily procedure. Abbie said, “I bet you won’t miss this being done every morning” I replied, “Too right! After 9 months of having it checked daily, I will be glad to see the back of it!”
Not long after they left, my PT and Soohie came in. We headed over to the big gym so I could use their treadmill. It is a specially adapted one with a hoist. I have used it before but only a few times as it bloody knackered me out 😂 All the safety gear on, hoist attached, holding on to the handles for dear life, I climbed onto the treadmill.
Within a few minutes of walking, it suddenly stopped. I thought, “Just my luck, at least they will remember me for breaking the treadmill!”. It turned out that Sophie accidentally leant on the emergency stop button. She made me laugh as she said, “I didn’t realise it was that sensitive!” When I sat back in my powered wheelchair, Sophie turned to me and said, “That’s it! Your last physio session” We were both sad as we were two peas in a pod, thick as thieves.
Returning to my room, I was hoping to have a breather. Sophie came back with me but a doctor followed. She asked if she could have her photo taken for the staff photos. She said she would come back at lunchtime and as she shut the door behind her, I let out a massive sigh. “It feels like this morning hasn’t stopped!” I said to Sophie. She smiled and sat next to me.
Seconds later, a student nurse came in, while she was explaining the reason she came in on my iPad, Sophie took down my list of qualities (I mentioned this list back in Rehab Antics Part 4) and began writing on the back of it. I tried to peek at what she was writing but I wouldnt have been able to see what she had written from that distance anyway.
The student nurse needed me to sign their copy of my discharge summary. Before I finished signing, Sophie had to leave as she had to attend to another patient. They both left and I had a few minutes to myself.
My mum had got presents, on my behalf, for my PT and the physio team, Grace and the nurses. I laid them all out on my bed ready to give them out.
My PT returned with Sophie and 2 other rehab assistants. One was my rehab mum, she has been incredibly supportive and looked after me well. My PT stood against my window while my ‘rehab mum’ read out aloud the card.
Within seconds of reading the card, she gave me a hug and all 3 women were in tears. And so was I. This was the start of goodbye’s. Sophie had to leave at lunchtime so this was going to be the last time I saw her. We hugged each other, both crying our eyes out. “I don’t want to let you go” I said, sobbing into her shoulder. She hugged me tighter and said, “Look at how far you’ve come, you’re amazing”. Watching her leave my room was one of the most painful things I have witnessed. She means the world to me.
A nurse came in and asked if she could have her photo taken, she had not long started as a nurse but she was brilliant . It was lunchtime so we quickly popped to the lounge, this is where I took the staff photos as the lighting was good. I took her photo and then we headed back. Abbie bought my lunch in and I was still teary-eyed from saying goodbye to Soohie. I said to them, “I don’t know what I am going to do without you guys, you all have changed my life”.
They began crying and I added, ‘I’m even getting emotional over my lunch because it’s my last meal here”. They chuckled and gave me a comforting hug. They made sure I was OK and then left me to eat my lunch. As soon as I finished I started crying again – small things, eh?
That doctor never did come back for her photo…
Grace came to see me after lunch, our last session. She bought her laptop so I could upload and edit the photo I had took earlier. Once that was done and dusted, I gave her a card and a present. Only a small token to say how grateful I am for all that she has done for me. Grace gave me a hug and I started crying. She is an amazing woman with a tough exterior!
As she went to leave my room, I said, “Thank you for giving me my freedom back” Grace quickly replied, “No, no, don’t make me cry!” And with that she waved goodbye and left. Occupational therapists deserve more recognition, thank you Grace, for everything.
One more goodbye to go…
My PT came in and sat on my bed, next to my mum. I was quiet for a while because even though I had so much to thank him for, I just couldn’t find the words. He was talking to my mum and saying that the walking frame was a wildcard. He took a gamble and I am glad he did.
He added that I had overcome every challenge he had gave me. It really got me thinking…my body had nothing. Nothing left to fight off what could have killed me. There must have been something in me, something so small that decided, “No, you will get stronger, you will survive this. You are not going to give up. Fight, Ami. You can do it”.
And here I was. Sitting infront of my PT, preparing to say goodbye to the man who taught me how to walk again. The man who restored my hope of being able to live my life.
The time came…
This is it…suitcase packed, leaving the powered wheelchair behind, I transferred into my manual wheelchair. I looked around my room with tears in my eyes. I propelled myself out of the door and I was now sitting in the corridor.
I managed to get to the bottom of the corridor, just before the entrance and saw everybody standing in a line to say goodbye to me. I realised Abbie wasn’t there and I refused to leave without saying goodbye.
I waited as she was attending to a patient. She came running down the corridor and gave me a big hug. She had let me borrow her sign language book during my time T rehab and now I was returning it. Abbie hugged the book with tears in her eyes.
My PT was waiting in the lobby as he was going to help me transfer into the car. I waved to the nurses, and sat by the entrance doors. Abbie, a rehab assistant and another nurse followed. They each gave me one final hug and mum steered me outside towards the car.
Once I was in the car, I said to my PT, “I don’t know what I am going to do without you, I will miss our banter”. He laughed and shook my hand. I hugged him and said, through tears, “Thank you for everything”. He smiled and said a final goodbye. Shut the door then quickly went back inside.
Mum broke down in tears as soon as she got in the car, I asked, “What’s wrong?” She replied, “Because it is all finally over”. Once she composed herself she started the engine and we pulled out onto the main road.
Waiting at the traffic lights, tears streaming down my cheeks, I looked up to the sky and there it was…
A massive cloud with a silver lining.
Thank you so much for reading my story ❤