My life radically changed due to an event on October 1, 2017, but 10 months ago. On that day I was a healthy 82 year old, with the normal limitations of an eldering human. I was at rest in a left turning lane when the driver behind me’s foot slipped from brake to gas, ramming me in the back. The jerk was minor, and we exchanged information. We gained, as our motorized chair carrier, destroyed, was replaced by a far better carrier.
My records show that two weeks later I began reporting strange feelings in my hands and arms. Symptoms progressed to severe neuropathy in fingers, hands and arms, leading to an MRI in the spring of 2018. A decade earlier an MRI had revealed severe damage to my cervical spine; such that the doc reporting on the MRI had expected to find me in a wheelchair and in pain. Treatment of cancer in my neck took precedent, and there was no symptomology, until the little bump in the rear of our KIA.
In May 2018, I was told that unless my cervical spine was repaired -asap – I was likely to soon be a quad. Initially I re-scheduled a month delay for surgery, to “put my life in order”; but was convinced that surgery should be sooner.
Surgery was performed on May 23. Bone was trimmed from the top three spinal column bones, to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. A metal plate was attached with 4 pairs of screws. The trimmed bone was pulverized and filled back into the bones, taking 3 months to heal. A collar was installed, and was removed on August 23.
My intended 4 day stay in the hospital was cut to 2 days, because of holiday, denying me attention from my surgeon. Late at night, I was driven to a monstrous and chaotic rehab facility, then called Health South. At Banner-UMC, a single, eccentric ambulance driver, by himself, stuffed my “bed” into a tiny, old, rusty ambulance. He took back, bumpy roads to Health South, chatting all the way, then he struggled to unloaded me and left me at Health South. When I came to I discovered that my feet had been damaged. At one point I had no feeling or mobility in my right foot. I can only conclude that it was damaged in transport. It took a week for my feet to heal. Fortunately I regained feeling and mobility in my right foot. As there was no visible injury to my feet, I had difficulty communicating my problems to the nurses and docs, given the state of my post-surgery mind.
Health South was a nightmare. It was so large, with an AI management system that rotated staff so that I seldom had continuity of nurses and doctors. Each new team was unfamiliar as to my needs, which I had to explain over and over. I had to personally request, strongly, for opioid pain meds. Had I not requested, according to “policy”, they would not have been given. Fundamentally, in my confused mental state, I had to manage my own treatment plan.
The site of my surgery never gave me any trouble. I may have not properly comprehended my condition and treatment, but I had a number of troublesome conditions, that I felt were being ignored. At one point I performed a tantrum resulting in over 15 persons around my bed, including a few top honchos. When I did talk to these honchos, they appeared only interested in “management”. I now realize I was a very difficult patient, intolerant of a poorly designed rehab treatment center. Since then, they have changed their name; I am yet unaware of any other changes.
After about two weeks in Health South, I was moved to a small assisted living facility: Caring Hands. I am told my condition was severe when being moved, such that my daughter was concerned I might die. I have no memory of my state. I was at Caring Hands for 2 months, making great progress, astonishing the caregivers. I was the only patient (10 max) that appeared to have cognitive functioning, so I was alone all this time – other than excellent staff, my wife, Eloise, and occasional visits from Dan and Tom – long-term friends living in Tucson. I had my computer and began resuming contacts.
I was not returning to the house Eloise and I were living in. We couldn’t maintain it ourselves. Grandson Tommy (who will inherit the house and already had turned the carport into his extensive workshop and was storing large items of metal and wood around the property) and his girlfriend, Renee, moved in to care for Eloise. Tommy and I don’t get along, so I agreed to move out. Eloise and I will “date”, and I will make frequent visits to our pet dogs and cats. Eventually, I will have one of each, Annie (dog) and Ralph (cat) with me. Eloise and I plan trips, such as Rocky Point, Mexico – a beach 4 hours drive from Tucson.
Before leaving Caring Hands I had chosen Atria Valley Manor as my site for Independent Living, but they had no opening. Until they have an opening, I am a resident at Atria Campana Del Rio, since Aug. 8, 2018.
SITUATION & CONDITION of Larry on Aug. 14, 2018
I am still “learning the ropes” at this large facility. I am in process of moving items from my prior home and buying items. Eloise leads me, in these activities, and I follow. I use a walker, even in my apartment (for security, I can walk without the walker). These “moving in” activities are very tiring for both Eloise and I. 08/29/18 still “settling in”. Still need to upgrade my computer system. Last week my life shifted when I accepted the possibility of near-term collapse leading rapidly to “extinction”.
I am still in recovery and don’t know what levels of functioning will be recovered. I am told not to expect any significant improvement in my neuropathic hands and arms.
My short-term memory has become worse, but has been bad all my life. Often I must consult my continuous record of activities to learn what I did but a few hours earlier.
Example. Last night there were two movies shown at Atria. I google searched info on both movies.I knew I hadn’t seen “Darkest Hour”, but was not sure about “The Post”. Viewing the trailers brought no memories. Searching my records I discovered I had seen “The Post” in January.
I have recall “about” the existence of only a few dozens of major papers I have authored; but have no recall of the content. Browsing my blog, I re-discover docs posted only yesterday, and days before.
In mid August 2018 I discovered Guy McPherson and other climate scientists making worse case forecasts: Extinction by 2026. This moved me to compose and post on Saving Humanity. A friend who collects my emails pointed me to one from December 2016, where I dismissed Guy’s forecast – showing I had known of it 18 months before, but having totally forgotten. This finding was very sobering.
Sept 1, 2018 – Life much the same. Settling in at Campana del Rio, but waiting for an opening at Valley Manor.