Adventures in Rehabilitation

Hello my friends!

IMG_0001I know I’ve been away for a month. A lot has happened…and some of you have bits and pieces of the story. So I thought I’d write up the facts of the last few weeks to bring everyone up to speed.

Let’s start with the good.

I’m home as of today. I’ll be recovering for a while longer, but I’ve been released from hospitals and rehab facilities and deemed healthy enough for home care so this is a very good thing.

So. What happened?

My Nemesis: The "Imperial Walker"
My Nemesis: The “Imperial Walker”

Six weeks ago, I developed a blood clot in my right leg (A DVT or “Deep Vein Thrombosis”). I was put on anti-coagulation meds…and then the bottom fell out. On Sunday, 15 November, I was running an errand for the cat shelter Tina volunteers at when I began to cough up blood. I called the wife, had an ambulance meet me at the house. I pulled into the driveway, put the truck in park and proceeded to fall out of the vehicle continually coughing up blood.

I remember being placed in the ambulance and pulling into Faulkner hospital—but nothing after. I have about four days missing from my memory that my wife helped piece back together.

I was intubated, while they worked on my bleeding lung, which had collapsed. The medical team discovered I’d developed anti-bodies to Heparin—the anticoagulation meds they injected me with. This resulted in clots blowing everywhere into my system impacting my lungs and resulting in over a dozen mini-strokes.

Apparently (I was unconscious at the time) I should have died. Twice.

Needless to say, I’m still here causing mayhem and mischief.

Once I woke up a week after being transferred to the main Brigham hospital complex in Boston, I found myself in intensive care with three main medical teams – Thoracic, Cardiovascular, and Neurology –working my case.

Hospital stays are bad. The experience was by far the most frightening and humiliating of my life. I was still in a bit of a fog, I couldn’t walk and my speech center had been effected. I was at a pretty low point—then my children and ex-wife arrived. Tina had called Valerie to let her know what had happened and my ex offered to bring the kids up for Thanksgiving. It was the sweetest thing—and became the pivot point putting me on the path to recovery.

I was moved from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital to a Rehabilitation center a couple weeks later. At this point, I could only walk with a walker, but my speech had improved. Once I was settled in the Spaulding West Roxbury Rehab center, I was immediately signed up for Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

I will say this about the team at Spaulding. They worked me incredibly hard. I went from constant pain and an inability to function by myself to being able to handle all normal day-to-day functions and walking unassisted.

I improved so fast that they cut me loose in 10 days. I was told that going from my original condition to being able to go home in the timeframe I’ve worked toward is nothing short of a minor miracle.

I think it’s all down to the remarkable doctors and therapists I had. I’m sure my stubbornness played a role—and wanting to get better not only for me, but for Tina and the kids played a major part in where I am today.

I still have pain in my leg—and I need to rest every 20 minutes or so. I’m still building back my cognitive abilities that are slowly returning to normal. We still have to figure out definitively what caused all the clots and resultant strokes, but I have a great team of doctors on the case.

Don’t get me wrong—I have a long ways to go until I’m back to being myself. I lost nearly 40 pounds in the past month—a lot of it muscle mass that will have to be built back up. I’m going to have to figure out how to pay the medical bills that are coming in…

IMG_0006But I’m alive. And I’m getting better each day.

So many of you sent me words of encouragement and prayers—I ‘m blessed to have marvelous friends and family who have been with me every step of this process. To my wife Tina who dealt with everything—including the possibility of losing her husband—I love you baby. Thank you for taking care of me. To Valerie and the kids—Your visit meant the world to me—thank you for making me laugh and celebrating Thanksgiving with me…and for smuggling in your mom’s most excellent Apple Crumble.

To my work colleagues who have been concerned and have done their best to balance concern with respect for my privacy—thank you for the cards and best wishes. I will be back…

With continued support and effort I WILL return to my normal self—sans a few bad habits. Just need to mitigate the clot situation once and for all and continue my therapies…

So that’s it, in a nutshell. You’ll hear more from me as time goes on.

Peace.

 

 

 

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