Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Home on Tybee Island

We’ve been home (on Tybee) 3 weeks today.  It’s great to be home, but Bennett is facing a whole new set of challenges and the transition for me has been emotionally difficult.  As a patient in a hospital you have access to almost instant answers and pretty much all of your needs are taken care of.  At least that’s how it was at St Anthony.  Coming home it’s like everything is starting over.  It’s bigger than just getting discharged and continuing to see the same caregivers.   It’s a whole new set of caregivers, and finding the right ones has not been easy.  For me the transition has been difficult because I was so focused on Bennett and when I came home simple family matters and every day decisions that are generally part of daily life seemed like chaos.  I’ve settled in now and I’m excited to be working again.  I’m splitting my time between helping Bennett and work.    

We flew into Savannah on Valentines night.   Thanks to Janie and Peter, Bennett flew first class so he had plenty of room to stretch out and was as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.  His only complaint was that he couldn’t take advantage of the free drinks!   Getting through security was interesting considering the metal inside Bennett.  We barely made the flight out of Denver, but from then on it was smooth sailing, or flying as the case may be.  We had a big welcome at the Savannah airport.  Andrew, Nicole and Ben were the first people to greet us and then family started showing up.  Britt, Sara, cousins, Aunts, Uncles and LP (Little Phillip, my Grandson) and Jerry.  Most of the family came back to the house and all of a sudden it was the middle of the night.  It was Bennett’s Aunt Delaine’s birthday so we celebrated that, Valentines Day and Bennett’s homecoming.  Cy had a wonderful valentines dinner waiting for us when we arrived home.  Trout stuffed with smoked shad, bacon and broccoli and some other pretty amazing things like strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Bennett stayed up until almost 5 am with Cy and Britt.  It was great. 

The next day we went to the Sheffield’s where Bennett is staying.  It’s perfect for Bennett.  Ground level, walk in shower, adjustable bed, and an open door policy for friends to visit.  Donna and Mike have been wonderful hosts and we are so grateful to have this place that's so close to home.  It’s only about 5 blocks away so it’s easy for me to run ( not literally but I COULD use the exercise) back and forth.  Cy, Sara or Rachel usually hang out with Bennett in the evening until he goes to bed and sometimes spend the night. 

Bennett is still non weight bearing on his right leg and about a week before his discharge was told he would be for at least another 2 months.  He is in rehab 3 times a week, but we have yet to get with an orthopedic surgeon which is becoming extremely frustrating.  Bennett has been going to his PCP weekly for his INR (Coumadin level) checks and has briefly met with his infectious disease specialist who needs him to see an Orthopedic Surgeon before his next appointment this coming Monday.  The Physical Therapist also needs direction from an orthopod.  Hello out there! ( Since writing this he has an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon on Thursday.  YAY)

Mobility, pain, and boredom are Bennett’s biggest challenges right now. He’s getting around on crutches pretty well.  He is in a constant state of discomfort.  He’s BORED!  Bennett used to tell me that he didn’t like to sleep late because he was afraid that he’d miss something.  He was always busy doing some kind of activity (surfing, skating, kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, snowboarding, working etc).  He’s very frustrated that he can’t do those things now, and has yet to find a replacement for the physical activities and work that he loves.  On the other hand he’s grateful that he’s here and doing as well as he is, but still…

One bright spot is his little red 1977 Honda Civic.  Thomson and John have loaned him this car for “as long as he wants it” and it’s the perfect car for now.  It needs a little bit of work, but he’s driven it around Tybee some (left footed) and is enjoying the independence that it gives him.  I’m sure that before long he’ll be driving it to Savannah. 

Bennett was in rehab at St Anthony for 3 weeks.  He worked with a physical therapist and occupational therapists on strength, range of motion and learning to do everyday tasks with limited mobility.  While in rehab he got a carbon fiber brace which helps keep his right foot from dropping.  His skin graft is completely healed, but his donor site is still healing. Bennett’s primary mode of getting around is crutches, but he also uses a wheel chair when going further distances. 

A couple of days after Bennett’s discharge date (Feb 7th) we went up to Breckenridge to gather up his belongings, say good bye to friends and attend the Dwight Brill Celebration of Life Foundation fundraiser.  Getting around in icy conditions on crutches was scary and a friend gave Bennett crampons that fit on his crutches which helped quite a bit but it was still pretty sketchy.  The owners of the Whales Tail, Robin and Denise, once again let us stay in their home while we were in Breck which made for a relaxing and comfortable weekend. 

The Dwight Brill fundraiser was great, and Bennett was able to meet some of the ski patrol that saved his life, the founder (Dwight's widow), and board members.  The foundation has helped Bennett with some of his COBRA payments and we are so grateful.  Bennett also saw a lot of friends and coworkers at the fundraiser.  After the fundraiser we headed back to Wes and Saundra's to visit with some of Bennett's close Breck friends.  Wes had prepared a Low Country Boil!  It was a special weekend.  We had some great help getting Bennett’s belongings packed up and transported back to Denver.  From there we shipped everything on a pallet back to Tybee. 

I don't know if I would have been able to stay in Denver for the duration of Bennett's hospitalization had it not been for the kindness and generosity of Hollis Stacy and Dorothy Goes who gave me their home to stay in.  It was only about 3 mile from the hospital and it made all the difference being so close to Bennett and having a safe and comfy home to go back to. I had the house to myself and it was truly my home away from home.  Hollis came out to Denver a couple of days after Bennett’s discharge.  It was great seeing her and Bennett enjoyed getting to know her.   We've had so many angels who have helped along the way.  We are grateful, we love you and thank you. 


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