An Opportunity for AFGE

I was in my third month in the SNF. Every week or two (I cannot remember if it is 1 or 2) the staff would have to ask for pre-approval for me to continue to stay in the facility for treatment. I would have to demonstrate some improvement and be actively involved in treatment 3 hours a day. I was very aware of this and it helped to keep me motivated and work hard. I wanted all the help I could get. I was at the SNF for 100 days; the maximum that Medicare would pay for.

We were needing to start thinking about discharge. Our home was a 2 story condo in Seattle. I would not be able to navigate our home. The bedrooms and bathrooms were downstairs. Our daughters saw that I would not be able to return home. Don was having a difficult time thinking about me not being able to come home and selling the condo. Don and our daughters were not on the same page around selling/not selling the condo right away.

We had lived there 20 years, had done some remodeling, had 2 decks looking over a pond with tall pine and cedar trees. I loved living in the city. I loved being out on the decks. When the weather was good, I was out on the decks more than I was inside. I was also very active with a local P-patch community. I really enjoyed gardening and growing most of our fresh vegetables through summer into early autumn.

Our older daughter had an good friend from 30 years ago that was a successful real estate agent in town. Don was now faced with another major hurdle to work through. putting the condo up for sale, packing up 20 years of living in the condo, and finding a new place for us to land. Don was not initially sold on our daughter’s friend. But this good man turned out to be a major blessing during this difficult time. Thank goodness for our friends and our daughters friends thru this difficult time. They were there for us big time.

In the mean time, I was continuing to work hard in PT/OT and engage in activities that made me feel like I was still able to actively participate in this life and enjoy every minute of it. Don and I would enjoy movie nights at the facility; go to dinner at a near by restaurant. (He would push me in my wheelchair.) Once, Don wheeled me up and down many hallways throughout the SNF looking at all the quality art hanging on the walls. One time, the facility van drove me and a friend visiting from Arizona, to the Seattle Art Museum for an afternoon. Another experience that allowed me to know and feel that I could get out and enjoy some of the activities I used to enjoy.

The physiatrist that I was seeing, was also connected to the University of Washington inpatient rehabilitation unit. This unit was considered one of the best in the country and usually had a waiting list. The good doctor was pleased with my progress and my willingness and commitment to work hard and would recommend me for inpatient if I wanted to transfer directly to the U of W. I jumped at this opportunity. I was open to getting as much treatment as my insurance would pay.

As I was being placed in the ambulance for transfer to the U of W, I remember feeling anxious, a bit hopeful, but primarily wanting to know that Don was in the car behind me. I was about to start another chapter in this journey that I am on. Or as I had come to think of these moments occasionally, an opportunity for another f***ing growth experience.

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