The first time I came home was just for one day, it was the most amazing thing so far in this journey, I hadn’t been home at all for four months and although I have many friends that have been away travelling for longer than that time, its a completely different experience when you’re away from home but in hospital. Additionally, to have all the memories of before your accident and to then be in the same place but now in a wheelchair was a hard task to get over and this made it very emotional.
All the family came round and friends popped in, it was a great day filled with home cooked food and alcohol! Just one glass of wine and I was done, my uni tolerance had vanished! The end of the day at home came and understandably, I didn’t want to leave and that’s where everything got too much! At Stanmore I broke down that night, mainly the ecstasy of being home and the despair on returning.
The next stage was a weekend at home and was much the same, the only thing to add was waking up at home and actually having a lay in… this is a rare occurrence when you’re at Stanmore as they wake you up at 6am, BUT don’t worry, you get a lay in at the weekends, guess what time.. 6:30! So believe me, waking up at 9am in my own house was a memory i’ll cherish!
After four months of daily physio sessions, waking up at 6am and jacket potato’s I was officially discharged from Stanmore on the 7th August 2015. Myself, my dad and Paulina (my carer) all drove back home in a car that from the inside looked like a mobile pharmacy! Getting home was great but there were a few things I had to get used to, the main one being getting used to having a live-in carer. Although I knew that at this stage in my recovery a carer was necessary this made it no less of a weird situation. When it comes to carers, in my experience you can be both very lucky and very unlucky, I have certainly experienced both types but that story is for a whole other post! Saying that, I am now in a great situation with two carers who are helping me yet still pushing me to achieve that independence that I so badly want one day.
A guy once told me hospital is like learning how to drive, you are taught to do everything perfectly and by the book but once you leave hospital – or essentially pass your test, that is when you really learn for yourself and it couldn’t be more true! You realise when you’re home how protected and safe you were in hospital. There is no longer a trained team looking after you at night and knowing exactly what to do in certain situations, no one to give you medication on time and thankfully no one to wake you up at the crack of dawn each morning! There are certain situations where before a nurse would have helped you, but that nurse is no longer there. I found this meant I learnt a lot quickly. When given advise in rehabilitation it’s usually quite generalised, when leaving hospital I learnt more about what works for me personally that might not work so well for someone else.
I’m far from close to knowing everything and learning different techniques that work for me, but I’m getting closer by the day!