My absence


Just thought I’d let you guys know why I haven’t been around for awhile. I’ve been in and out of the hospital since before July. Mostly due to falling. I fell 5 times and I still don’t know why. I didn’t feel dizzy, light-headed, or like I was having a stroke. I just fell. I didn’t hurt myself except on the 4th fall. I fell sideways and dislocated my right shoulder. Now, I have a gimpy right arm. I’m told it will take awhile before I have full “range of motion” in that arm. I was in two different hospitals two different times and both times I wound up on a ventilator because the doctors claimed I had a mild heart attack and my kidneys failed. I’m not so sure I believe them, but it wasn’t fun. I had to go to a rehab place (horrible, horrible places) for over 6 weeks in one place and 2 weeks in another. I fell again the day before Thanksgiving and wound up going to the hospital again on Thanksgiving day and the day after. Now, I am getting physical therapy, occupational therapy, and weekly visits from a nurse. I get the PT and OT twice a week each and they have helped me tremendously. I didn’t have a stroke or a TIA. The doctors aren’t sure what caused my kidneys to fail or my heart attack. I am 100% back to “normal” except I have to walk with a walker now because I’m afraid of falling again.

So, I just wanted to let you guys know what’s been happening with me. Please say some prayers that I will continue to recover and won’t fall again. It’s great to be back, but I am still confused with the new format. :dizzy_face:


Wow! Sorry that you are having so much physical upset but do hope that you continue to recover. I know what you mean about the rehab places. I had the misfortune of four weeks in an acute care rehab center in August of 2015. Twernt no fun!

Get better as I have missed your posts.


Wow is right! Sorry to hear about this. I’ve been having the same sort of issues. Haven’t fallen just yet, but I’ve barely avoided it a time or two by grabbing onto something solid nearby. I HATED the rehab place I was sent to after my surgeries last year, but managed to escape after only one week. Will keep you in my prayers.


Ugh. Sounds kind of like Mom; she’s had a lot of falls in the last decade, and a nasty one early last year. May the Lord guide your steps; literally!


Thank you all for your kind wishes and prayers. Those rehab places should be outlawed.


You be careful, CT, and have a speedy recovery in the new year


Get well and have a better new year.


My prayers are with you, Teri! I usually know what caused my falls (not that I could have anticipated them!). I think the last one I had was when I tripped over the dog. When I came back from the bathroom in the middle of the night once (I use solar led lights as night lights, and they are usually quite adequate), because I had turned the bathroom light on (I don’t usually), when I turned it off, the solar lights were overwhelmed, and unbeknownst to me, the dog had come out and stretched herself across the hallway. I got an awful lot of useless advice telling me how I could have avoided it.


I keep my hallway light on that leads to the bathroom. I’m so afraid to fall again.


CT Fall, Part I

Unfortunately, falls come with age. You are wise to walk carefully. I had my own calamitous fall almost three years ago now. Broke my back and haven’t been out of the wheelchair since (well . . . not entirely true . . . I do exercise with a walker . . . more on that later).

CAUTION: This post is going to be lengthy. I have no idea if this new format limits characters or images . . . the old one DID. Consequently, I’m going to divide this into three parts.

The reason this is lengthy? I want to give CT, AND others here, the benefit of my experience (mistakes, really). I considered just sending CT an email, but I think this can help all members.

I’ve been doing this dance for almost three years now, and have done things WRONG quite a bit. Have learned from my mistakes, so I figure sharing my experiences will help someone else.

To the younger generation folks: While maybe this is not a concern to you now, in your dotage IT WILL BE. You can benefit from this too.

OK, CT, let’s get right down to this.

Here are my recommendations to you, based on what I’ve learned from my mistakes.


When you’re walking, concentrate and focus ONLY on walking.

What does this mean in detail?

Put everything else out of your mind. Pay attention ONLY to where your next step will be. If you have an itch . . . STOP, sit down and itch it. If the doorbell rings . . . concentrate ONLY on walking to the door and then STOP. If your mind begins to wander, like you’re humming a tune that you like . . . STOP, get it out of your head, and don’t start walking again 'till you zero in on WALKING.

If you bump into something, that’s a warning that you weren’t focused enough. You either weren’t concentrating on turning, weren’t looking where you were going, or were going too fast. STOP, and redouble your effort before you start walking again.

If you start “shuffling”, that’s a warning, A VERY URGENT ONE, that you’re not paying attention to lifting up your feet . . . or you’re fatigued. If you start shuffling . . . STOP and REST.

All this is why I fell and broke my back. I forgot I had to think about what I was doing.

I made a quarter turn when I needed to make a half turn, bumped into the guest bathroom wall (I was headed to the guest bathroom), and fell hard down on my butt on the bathroom tile floor. Had to call 911, and they strapped me into a body board and raced to the hospital.

It took me two months to get up on my own, and only then for a few minutes, and with a back brace.

A very very costly mistake. (Because I had to hire someone to come in and be with my Alzheimer’s wife . . . 24/7. That cost $2700 dollars ONCE A WEEK. I was in the hospital one month and a rehab facility for two months . . . will address the rehab facility experience in a bit.)

My checkbook has never recovered, nor has my back.

I realize all this think about what you’re doing stuff sounds like a huge PITA, but walking is no longer an automatic motor skill. Those days are gone. The days of walking and chewing gum ARE GONE.

When you were young, your motor skills were centered in the cerebellum (brain stem) as part of the autonomic nervous system (breathing, heartbeat, digestion, etc.)

For some of us oldsters, the brain stem portion where motor skills are located has become damaged. Consequently, the cerebrum has to take over that task. IOW, we have to THINK ABOUT doing it. We have to RE-LEARN it.

That is what’s happening to you, and it has happened to me already.

(The rest is not necessarily in order of importance. Actually, you’ll have to decide what’s most important to YOU. I’m sure some of this stuff you’ve already looked at/known about.)

  1. Get a pair of hospital gripper socks:


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There are two disadvantages to these things.

A. They don’t come up over the ankle, slide down a lot, and just flat out “don’t feel right”.

B. And this is most important. With each washing, the grippers (the rubber strips) get less . . . gripping.

I’ve tried just about every kind there is. I’ve found the best, in terms of ankle fit AND gripper wear is the “Pembrook” brand:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The grippers will not make you stumble, and will enhance your step when walking over a smooth surface, like kitchen or bathroom tile.

(You actually can adjust the “gripping” characteristic by just rotating the gripper surface of the socks so that there’s less gripper making contact with the floor. So if they seem too “sticky” to you, just rotate them.)

  1. When using the walker (technically, a “Rollator”), keep equal pressure on both handles of the walker by KEEPING both hands on the walker at ALL times. If you don’t do that, the center of gravity for the walker will change, AND IT WILL TIP OVER, AND SO WILL YOU.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

When we were younger, we could compensate with our good balance, agility, and strength . . . NONE of which we have anymore.

I discovered this center of gravity thing one time when I had an itch, removed a hand to scratch it, and me and the walker quickly tipped over. Fortunately, I was on the carpet leg of my exercise routine at the time, and the fall, luckily, didn’t break anything. I DID have to call 911 to help me up . . . which is a nice lead in to my next point.

  1. Get one of those alert/911 pendant thingys:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Since you live alone, this would seem to be right up there in priorities.

DO NOT GET THAT “Life Alert”.

Why? Lemme’ 'splain.

Ten or so years ago, Life Alert defined the industry with their ad line: “Help . . . I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”. In that regard, they WERE good for starting to get the message out that seniors often need help. But they have failed to keep up with the times, their prices are outrageous, and their web site doesn’t even quote the prices (you have to call them, and endure a sales pitch before you even get information about prices.)

But here’s where they fail miserably. When you press that button, you’re NOT connected to 911. You’ll be talking to one of the persons they hire to take these calls (which is why you have to make a contract with them AND pay a monthly fee . . . more on that monthly fee in a second), AND THEN THAT PERSON CALLS 911.

Lemme’ summarize why I wouldn’t recommend them:

  • Their costs (which are not listed on their website). Their base monthly costs are higher than similar medical alert companies ($50.⁰⁰ bucks a month), and their start-up costs (up to $200.⁰⁰ bucks) are higher than most providers too. I guess you’re paying for the name. They’re resting on those ten year old laurels.

  • You must contact them by phone and there is no online ordering, which can result in conflicting information from their sales reps.

  • Their website has a dated look with very little detailed product information on it. They also have more than one website and that can be a bit confusing.

  • No email support or live chat.

  • They have a 3-year contract requirement with limited cancellation options. Cancellation is difficult, and most often there is a huge penalty.

  • You’re not connected directly to 911. (I don’t know about you, but I would trust a trained 911 operator at 3AM more than I would trust a Life Alert employee at 3AM.)

OK . . . I have that “Guardian Alert 911” device, pictured in the image above. It was the very first thing I got after I got home. Have had it for over two years now.

Is shown in it’s charger cradle, but comes with a ribbon loop so it can be worn around the neck (which is how I use it):

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here are some of the features:

  • The Guardian Alert works with your existing telephone and there are never any additional service fees . . . NONE! It’s just like a cordless phone.

  • Press the blue button and it connects with 911.

  • You get two-way voice communication from the pendant . . . as I said, it’s just like a phone.

  • Water resistant pendant . . . you can shower with it.

  • The pendant is powered by ONE AAA battery . . . easy to replace, but lasts for more than two years.

  • System test and battery test functions. On pressing the test button, a voice says: “Battery is OK” (silky, but robotic voice) . . . or, if it will soon need to be replaced, the voice says so.

  • Plus, when you keep the test button depressed, the voice says: “System check, OK” . . . or not, in which case you probably need to check your phone. (The GA manual has troubleshooting advice if the System check is NOT OK.)

  • Installation and set-up is EASYPEESEE.

I think I got mine at WallMart. While the price is steep ($150.⁰⁰ bucks . . . though in line with competitor prices), there is NO monthly contract fee. If I had gotten a “Life Alert” (or one of its many clones), I would so far have paid $1,700.⁰⁰ bucks ($50/mo @ 30 months, plus $200.
⁰⁰ bucks for the device). Easy pick on which one makes more financial sense.


CT Fall, Part II

  1. Get a “Gait Belt” (or sometimes called “Grab Belt”:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What IS a gait belt?

A gait belt is a safety device used to help someone move, such as from a bed to a chair. The belt is also used to help hold someone up while he/she walks if she is too weak to walk on her own. The gait belt helps you provide support and helps prevent a fall. It also decreases your risk for a back injury while you help the person move or walk.

Considering your shoulder injury, I would put this high on your priority list. (And you can get one for 10 or 15 bucks . . . most are closer to 10).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(This is what I have).

Why is it pertinent to your shoulder injury?

The normal reaction is to pull somebody up by the arm. That is very WRONG, and in your case doubly WRONG. Nine times out of ten things go OK. But . . . if the person pulling you up fails to get you up the first time, they yank harder the second time. Arms come out of shoulder sockets that way.

A gait belt is the remedy (I know because it has saved me more than once).

If I am stumbling during my exercise routine, a quik yank up on my gait belt (which Miss Lynn does) will straighten me out. If I DO fall, which I’ve done a few times, the gait belt will enable Miss Lynn to let me down gently. And then when the 911 guys come, they can haul me up quickly and easily by just pulling on the gait belt . . . NOT MY ARM.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

BTW, the natural reaction is to pull the person falling (as I said, by the arm) and try to pick them up and stop the fall. Without a gait belt, that’s a recipe for injury to both. The person pulling is likely to injure their back, and the person falling is at great risk for a shoulder injury.

If a fall is inevitable, the best thing to do is try to let them down gently. A gait belt makes that maneuver easy.

I would wear one all the time I was up if I were you. If someone from another apartment comes in and finds you on the floor, their natural reaction would be to pull on your arm. Holler at them: “STOP”, and tell them to pull on your gait belt.


  1. Get a bed rail:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

They run around $40.⁰⁰ bucks. Make sure it’s HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE.


Because if it’s not, and your bed frame is not one of their “standards”, you’re SOL.

However, you said your RIGHT shoulder was the injured one, so I’m not sure this will work . . . since you would be pulling yourself up BY THE RIGHT SHOULDER.

I have one, and it helps steady me when I get in bed (transfer FROM the wheelchair) and out of bed (transfer TO the wheelchair). Before I got the rail, I fell several times trying to make the FROM/TO transfers.

  1. Get an elevated toilet seat:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Prices are in the $20.⁰⁰ to $50.⁰⁰ dollar range.

I fell trying to make the transfer FROM the wheelchair to a standard height toilet. I’ve had an elevated seat for about a year now and haven’t fallen since.

I have one made by "Glacier Bay, got it at Home Depot, and I’ve been pleased with it.

Can’t remember exactly what I gave for it, but I think it was in the $20.⁰⁰ dollar range . . . maybe less.

  1. Tub Bench and Shower Wand:

I bathe while sitting on a tub bench set up in the standard tub in the guest bath:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

We have one of those huge and fancy corner tubs in the master bath:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I haven’t been in it for about 4 years, and Miss Lynn longer. Back when we DID use it, it was pretty kewl.

Now, Miss Lynn uses the shower only, and I use the guest bathroom standard size tub with the bench and shower wand.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Actually, we have shower wands in both the guest bathroom tub AND the shower enclosure in the master bath (which, again, Miss Lynn uses . . . the shower wand . . . and you’ll see why in a second).

I use the shower wand WHILE sitting on the bench. It enables me to remain seated and direct a stream at a specific body part WITHOUT getting water outside of the tub (I use the shower curtain too).

I have a grab bar near the tub (permanently affixed to a stud), and I use that to help me stand up from my wheelchair and get in the tub. I also have a caregiver help me (I used to be modest, but being north of 70 now, I don’t care anymore. Anyway . . . turn 'em upside down, and they all look alike).

Miss Lynn uses a shower chair in the enclosure:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Same thing for her as for me with the bench . . . it enables her to remain seated and direct a stream at a specific body part WITHOUT getting water indiscriminately all over.

Note: We got the shower chair for free. Here’s how, and you might see if you can go this route too.

We are enrolled in a Hospice service. Now Hospices are typically for end of life services. But they are ALSO a service that helps individuals STAY in their home (not many people know that . . . I didn’t until our PCP told us . . . as it happens he is also the COO for the Hospice and pulled some strings to get us in.)

So we’re not on Hospice for end of life, but rather as individuals that want help staying in the home (I can’t live here without her help, nor can she without mine).

So the Hospice service, seeing that if she fell in the shower she would likely break a bone and have to go in the hospital, thus NOT enabling me to stay in the house, got her a shower chair.

Had I gotten them on board two years ago, I don’t know how much of this stuff they would have gotten for me/us.

So, it’s worth a shot for you. Look into it.

  1. Suction Grab Bars for the shower enclosure.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Why suction cup and not permanently fastened “regular” grab bars?:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Because the shower enclosure is fake tile and really flimsy plastic sheeting.

The studs are about an inch behind the enclosure, and to fasten the permanent “regular” grab bar would require ripping out some plastic and exposing a stud . . . a handyman job I just can’t afford right now.

Hence the suction cup version. Not really what I would prefer since they really aren’t load bearing, but better than nothing . . . just need to be aware that these things are not meant to support a person’s full weight but rather act as steadying devices.

I have a caregiver help Miss Lynn shower, and attach these devices to the enclosure before she steps in. Plus, I have the caregiver pull on them to make sure they are as secure as they can be, and also support Miss Lynn when she gets up from the seat, and be prepared to hold her up if one of these suction grab bars come loose as Miss Lynn is holding on to it.

If you have “real” tile in your enclosure, then I would recommend a permanent “regular” grab bar. If not, then the suction cup versions will have to do until you can have a handyman mess with the plastic enclosure.

That’s it for the recommendations.

Now for the comments on the rehab facility.


  • Wheeling in:

On coming in to the facility (I and my wheelchair were transported to the facility by the hospital), as I approached the “front desk” (a central structure where all the nurses and CNA’S . . . “Certified Nurses Assistant”, the one that gets to clean up soiled beds . . . hang out), I witnessed a scene straight out of central casting . . . BUT REAL.

Some guy was by the front desk, in a wheelchair, and he was turning blue and gasping for air. He had a bandage around his neck, was clutching his neck, and had a tracheotomy tube protruding from the bandage.

So what did the gals behind the front desk do?

I heard one say, “Where’s the oxygen bottle?”.

The others were frantically looking all over, in a scene right out of Loony Tunes.

Meanwhile, this poor guy was turning DARK blue and gagging loudly.

Nobody came out from behind this front desk structure to attend to this guy. Now I’m not a medical person, but my first thought was, “his tracheotomy tube may be blocked, maybe with liquid he’s aspirated . . . I’d check that first . . . and at least let the guy see that somebody is tuned in”.

But noooo . . . nobody came out. The guy was unattended . . . just struggling and gagging in his wheelchair.

Meantime, a gal DID come out from behind TO WHEEL ME DOWN TO MY ROOM. I was craning my neck to look back and see what was happening with the guy, but I never did find out what happened. Last I saw, the guy was deep purple.

  • My Room:

As I was wheeled down a corridor, past some rooms, there was a distinct odor. BO plus musty. You would think something like a Glade Plug-in odorant, maybe Lilac, up and down this hallway would solve that problem. No . . . nothing.

Also, the path was too warm and was stuffy. If there’s anything that is an impediment to sleep for me, it’s a temp that’s too high. I sleep when the room is super cool (which I think is why hospitals keep the temp so low).

I saw thermostats as we went down the hall, but they were covered over by clear plastic lock boxes. Not a good sign.

Now in the room . . . which was at the far end of the corridor, there were two beds . . . both empty.

One bed looked to be 1940’s vintage, and the other looked more like today’s hospital bed.

Guess which one the CNA wheeled me to?


CT Fall, Part III

Yup . . . the antiquated one. That thing should have been in a museum!

It had a hand crank at the foot to adjust the upper torso elevation. The other bed was electronic and had push button elevation adjustments . . . several ways.

So the CNA cranks the handle at the bottom, and says, “How’s that?”. My butt is sliding down the bed, and I’m trying to say, “Too much”, but nothing comes out because the scene is so surreal that I think I’ve descended to the seventh circle of hell and am speechless.

I speak finally, and ask her if I can get in the other bed, since it’s vacant.

She says, “I’ll have to ask tomorrow . . . they just told me to put you in this bed tonight”

As my butt slides down further, she leaves . . . but before she does, she hands me a call button.

As I’m sliding further, I press the call button. After what seemed like a long time, another CNA comes in and says, “What’s the problem?” (I don’t like the tone, but no point in saying so).

I ask her to crank it down some. She does, and leaves without comment.

Now my upper torso is almost completely horizontal, so I press the call button again.

The same CNA comes in again, and says, “Now what?” (definitely don’t like THAT tone and I’m thinking, “Look, you minimum wage queen” . . . CNA’s probably make more than minimum wage, but whatever they make, THESE gals were OVERPAID . . . “if it weren’t for me and the other patients here, YOU wouldn’t have a job at all”. Of course, I don’t say anything . . . am still incredulous.

The bed gets cranked again, the CNA says, “How’s that?”, and I say, “Fine” just to get the moron out of my sight.

Oh . . . one more thing. The CNA, before she leaves, gives me a lecture on how busy she is and not to keep calling her. Now I’m descending to the eighth circle of hell, and am coming real close to saying, “Just get the hell out of here before I put you over my knee and give you a few swats”.

This ain’t gonna’ work.

About this time, our caregiver and Miss Lynn visit.

My first comment? “Get me the hell out of here”

Our caregiver says, “Why don’t you try it for a day or so, and if you still feel the same way after that, we’ll take you home.” They visit and leave.

Hmmmmm . . . makes some sense I guess, so I’ll give it a shot I say.

But if I’m going to stay in this torture chamber, it’s going to be ON MY TERMS, NOT THESE CNA’s.

Now my Marine Corps adjust and adapt training kicks in.

That old saying, “Possession is nine tenths of the law” prevails here. So I struggle out of the ancient bed and climb in the new one.

After playing with the adjusting buttons and listening to the whrrrrr of the electric motors, the first smile crosses my face.

There were two TV’s in the room . . . one at the foot of each bed, mounted on the wall. I couldn’t get the TV at the foot of the ancient bed to work, but the one at the foot of the modern bed DID work.

The modern bed mattress was egg-crate foam . . . good for preventing bed sores.

So . . . push button adjustable, a TV that worked, egg-crate foam mattress . . . MOVE to THAT bed, Bob.

That night, I didn’t sleep at all because I was so upset. But at least I was comfortable and could watch TV. Didn’t press the call button anymore 'cause I didn’t want to get hassled for changing beds. No CNA visited for the rest of the night anyway.

Next morning . . . a new CNA comes in, but says NOTHING about me being in the other bed. That “Possession . . .” thing, I guess. “Squatter’s rights” and all that.

That previous evening, my caregiver had given me a few things from home. After I switched beds later that night, I laid those things on the old bed.

The “morning CNA” scolded me for having those things on the other bed: “You can’t keep your stuff on the other bed”. What do I do? Ignore her, of course.

I continued to put more of my junk on the other bed and never heard any more about it.

That second day, I explored more of the room.

Had it’s own bath . . . toilet, sink, call button, and shower wand for bathing sitting on the toilet. Permanent grab bar, too.

Out in the room was a sink and counter. Plus a closet.

That day I overheard a conversation that was enlightening.

The guy in the room across the hall apparently had the same first reaction that I did: “Get me out of here.”

He was telling this to the Head Nurse. Her reply: “OK . . . you can leave, but you need to know this. If you have to come back here, Medicare WILL NO LONGER PAY for your stay. You’ll be charged for it.”

Hmmmm . . . a hostage situation. All the more reason to make this stay ON MY TERMS.

As I settled into my room, I had it more and more like a “MAN-CAVE”.

One other thing I found out. My room was a “quarantine room”. I didn’t have any kind of contagious infection . . . apparently that’s the only room they had left.

As a quarantine room, it had its OWN ventilation. IOW, it had its own air conditioner, with the controls OPEN right there in the room. I could make it as cold as I wanted . . . and did.

Now, other than the wisecracking CNA’s (which I later defeated and I’ll get to that in a second), this was becoming at least tolerable: a comfortable bed, as close to a MAN-CAVE as possible, TV, and Air.

The CNA’s. I befriended the Head Nurse and the Head CNA (people like to talk about themselves, so I’d wheel down to the front desk, where they were and ask them questions about themselves). Got on a first name basis with them. That way, whenever I wanted something, I could say to a CNA, “Well, Doris said it was OK”, or “Mary said it was OK”. These smart aleck CNA’s soon learned I had some stroke and I never had a problem with them again.

Physical/Occupational Therapy (Some of this is prolly not news to you.)

Now the purpose of being in a rehab facility (of course) is to . . . “rehabilitate” yourself. In my case, it was to learn how to walk again.

To that end, there were daily sessions with PHYSICAL THERAPISTS and OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS.

For all the drawbacks of this place, these people were professional, skilled, and a pleasure to work with . . . albeit the Physical Therapists were a huge PITA (I’ll 'splain why I say that in a second).

Each morning one of them would come down to my room and then wheel me (later they made me wheel myself . . . which was expected) to their LARGE exercise room.

My understanding of the difference between Occupational and Physical Therapy is this: Occupational focuses on upper body strength, IOW, from the waist up. Physical focuses on lower body strength (like . . . walking), IOW, from the waist down.

My upper body strength is just fine, so the Occupational Therapy was a breeze. I actually liked it.

Now the Physical Therapy was a different story. I knew I needed it, but it was very very difficult and intense. I didn’t like it at all.

These people PUSH you to do things you didn’t know you could do (or WANTED to do, for that matter).

For example, they have the classic walking rails:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(This is one thing that the movies portray accurately . . . it’s a dramatic struggle just to take one step).

This was the dialog after I had struggled to make the steps to the far end:

PT: "Now walk back."
Me: What? I can’t take another step."
PT: "Yes you can."
Me: "No, I can’t."
PT: "Yes, you can."
Me: "Look, if I try to take another step, I’ll fall. I can’t even turn around to take the step."
PT: “Try . . . and I’ll catch you if you start to fall.”

Realizing she wouldn’t let me alone 'till I tried . . .

Me: "OK . . . but when I get back to the end where my wheelchair is, I’m sitting down."
PT: “Sure.”

So when I got back to my wheelchair, I plopped down. She promptly took me by the gait belt, raised me up, kicked the wheelchair away, and said, “Your wheelchair will be waiting for you at the other end. Now walk to it.”


Can’t remember the number exactly, but a PT told me that for every week of not using the legs, you lose 40% or so of the muscle mass.

I already had chicken legs back when I was using my legs, but now I had been inactive for about four weeks. I could wrap one hand around my thigh now.

If it weren’t for my upper body strength (I could hold myself up on those parallel bars), I don’t know how I could have made it down those rails.

There were some folks there (stroke victims, for example) who didn’t even have any upper body strength, yet the PT’s got them to go down the rails (watching them do it made you grimace).

Those PT’s know all the tricks of the trade, and I swear they would find a way for a person with NO LEGS to walk down the rails.

When I got there, I could hardly sit in the wheelchair for a few minutes, and then only with a back brace. I certainly couldn’t raise myself up and grip a rollator.

When I left, I was able to do without the back brace, AND walk while holding on to the rollator.

I exercise now . . . not because it will get me out of the wheelchair (IT WON’T), but because I don’t ever want my leg muscles to atrophy like they did. I now have “thunder-thighs” and my legs are bigger (with muscle mass) than they’ve ever been.

My experience at a rehab facility was not as miserable as yours (though barely tolerable). The place I was at had a sister facility down the road, and I heard horror stories, similar to your account, about that place.

I would say that 9 out of 10 rehab places are wretched places as you described. I just lucked out and got the 1 out of 10 that could be manipulated.

As far as the doctors saying you had a heart attack . . . those things leave unmistakable tracks, so I would guess that’s what the doctors were reading.

The kidney failure? Did you have a UTI? Are you able to go? Was it just one, or both?

Any kidney stones?

Did they do CT Scans on them?

Ureters blocked?

Whatever it was, you must have somehow reversed it if you’re back to “100% normal” now.

Good for you. You’re a strong gal.


Did you get my reply?


Yes . . . working on response.


BTW, I didn’t have any of the bladder/kidney problems you described above. I would get UTIs once in awhile, maybe one a year, but not enough to cause concern. No kidney stones, ureters not blocked, nothing that would indicate a kidney problem. I go quite frequently and always have. My grandmother, mother, aunt, and two sisters all have the same issue: very small bladders. As a matter of fact, when my mother was a young girl, a doctor told my grandmother that she (my mother) had an “infantile-sized bladder”. Not sure if that is a modern medical term, but all of the females on my mother’s side seemed to have the same kind of bladder. Now that I am older, it has become so frequent that I have to take medication for it. The only other issue was that my potassium level was very high. I don’t know exactly how that happens or why (they never explained it to me), but I can’t eat foods high in potassium such as bananas, avocadoes, potatoes (including sweet–my favorite), dried fruit, and other foods that are high in potassium. But, I do eat sweet potatoes, just not too frequently.


Thanks for all the work you have put into this thread Bob, I have it marked for reference as my parents are at a stage where your experience can save them some hard lessons! :wink:


Not that many more years before I’ll be needing that advice…