19-Day Update

Update on Marty covering the last 2 weeks…

Following the interesting jet ride from Barbados to Philly, Mom spent 3 days at Abington Memorial Hospital.  The treatment was for bedrest and periodic physical therapy.  Though none of it was explained, I have since learned that physical therapy is critical to maintain health while the fractured sacrum pieces heal.  The therapy is extremely painful.  Medications are required to allow the therapy, but too much medication inhibits it.  It is a fine balancing act.

The hospital therapy was absolutely excruciating.  The hospital’s staff was merciless, in part because they wanted her out for financial reasons.  Such is the sad state of medicine in America.  While response and diagnosis at Abington were very good, communication on prognosis and treatment was terrible.  I spent almost every minute with Mom, and I cannot even tell you who her doctor was – the system is a mess.

After 3 days, Mom moved to rehab at Artman Home in Ambler, PA.  It was a move designed to allow her to rehab in solitude (a respectful buffer from her army of friends at Normandy).  Our family also has historical roots at Artman, which also provided some comfort.

Therapy at Artman was much better – much more compassionate and productive – but still extremely painful.  Mom’s threshold for pain is historically very high (e.g. dental fillings with no Novocaine), but she clearly endured bouts of the most agonizing pain in her life.  She says childbirth was NOTHING in comparison.  Mom fought through many hours of it with sheer determination.

After a few days at Artman, we re-assessed things and decided to move back to Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell, PA.  Her sister, her friends, her mail, her apartment, and quirks with how Medicare works made it all a better decision.

She spent 4 or 5 days in a private room on a nice quiet hall, getting settled, adjusting herself and the staff to her needs, and starting again on physical therapy.   Both the care and physical therapy have been very good.  Two days ago Mom moved to a semi-private room which has provided a disguised blessing: a roommate who she already knows.

It’s now been 19 days since the fracture.  Progress is slow while the bones heal.  Any amount of force on them (twisting, sitting up, any forces on the rear, standing) still sends severe pain, but there are tiny signs that pain is reducing and mobility is improving.  As earlier noted, for a month or more the purpose of the therapy is to keep her as healthy as possible, despite the pain and even if the perceived progress is slow.  After the bones heal, then mobility can progress at a faster rate.

Mom sees an ortho guy end of next week for a follow-up evaluation.  More news when we know it.

Mom is a short way down a possibly long rehab path.  I am very proud of her – her progress is all about guts.  Mom is generally not answering phone or email at the moment.  She is working too hard!


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