BACK IN INPATIENT AT RUSK REHABILITATION
So here I am, back at NYU Langone’s Rusk Inpatient Rehabilitation after yet another fall. Most people would not choose to be in the hospital. Yet, I’ve been pleading to get back here!
I have a fantastic rehab doctor, Prin Amorapanth (pictured below). https://nyulangone.org/doctors/1477874782/prin-amorapanth
He listens, he is brilliant and he advocated to admit me a few months ago. Unfortunately, starting chemo took precedence. (You cannot be on chemo while admitted here, as far as I understand).
Yet, because my white blood cells and platelets dropped too low, I had to stop chemo anyway. While it’s never good to fall and hit your head, especially me, I luckily did not sustain any serious injury.
My CT Scan showed a small bleed in my brain. Thus, I needed to be admitted into the main hospital at NYU. The bleed resolved by itself quickly, which allowed for a smooth transition to inpatient at Rusk. Win Win Win! Now, I can rebuild my strength, focus on regaining my balance and ultimately be more independent.
I wrote about my previous inpatient stay at Rusk in this Post: https://braincancerbabe.com/2020/02/06/they-tried-to-make-me-go-to-rehab-and-i-go-go-go/
I’d say I’m currently in the “creme de la creme” of neurological rehab facilities. It’s pretty rare to have absolutely NO complaints about a healthcare facility these days. Yet, I don’t have a single issue and can only sing the praises of every single staff member. From the doctors to the men who clean the floors, everyone is truly amazing.My own quote from my Post about my prior Rusk rehab experience
THE INPATIENT EXPERIENCE
In my prior Post, I discussed what a “typical day” in acute rehab is like here at Rusk. I presume my schedule is like most patients here. Essentially:
“you better work!”
Of course, there’s people in the facility who have limitations and cannot work quite as hard, whether it is due to their injury, condition and/or age. That’s okay. However, the program is set-up so that:
As a patient at Rusk Rehabilitation, you meet with a board-certified physiatrist, who is a doctor that specializes in rehabilitation medicine. He or she evaluates your care needs and develops a treatment plan just for you. This may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, vocational therapy, psychological services, music and recreational therapy, nutrition, and social work services.https://nyulangone.org/locations/rusk-rehabilitation ( Emphasis added)
RUSK’S PHILOSOPHY & ENVIRONMENT
NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation was founded on a basic principle: physical medicine and rehabilitation shouldn’t focus solely on illness or disability; they should involve the whole person—emotionally, psychologically, and socially.https://nyulangone.org/locations/rusk-rehabilitation (Emphasis Added)
As a now two-timer here at Rusk, I can attest to how this principle is truly followed. That’s likely why for more than 25 years, U.S. News & World Report has named Rusk the best rehabilitation program in New York state.
MY STRUGGLE TRYING TO BE PATIENT WITH FELLOW PATIENTS
Given all the above, anyone should feel blessed/fortunate being in this facility.
First, you must qualify to be here. Whether it is a battle with insurance or getting a doctor’s recommendation, it’s not necessarily easy to get admitted. Also, you have to wait for a bed to open-up on the unit. Thus, I waited several days to get transferred from the main hospital.
I presume others wait even longer, especially if they’re not an established NYU patient.
BEING IN THE HOSPITAL IS A STRUGGLE FOR ANYONE
If you’re in the hospital, odds are you’re in pain. Pain definitely makes you irritable. I get it. Personally, I’m not even in pain, but I’m so tired after a full day of therapy, I’m absolutely more irritable.
Add onto that, if you’re in acute rehab, you must or at least should, fight through your pain. So, that easily can make you more irritable.
The therapists would never aggravate or cause further pain to a patient. However, sometimes it’s painful both physically and emotionally to get through at least 3 hours of therapy a day.
MY STRUGGLE REMAINING POSITIVE AROUND NEGATIVE PATIENTS
So, I struggle emotionally when I observe fellow patients acting “entitled” and generally bringing negativity into such a positive environment. I see these patients walking with their walkers, allowed to get up and move around. Yet, I’m confined to a wheelchair. I must call a nurse or PCT (patient care technician) to do anything. I go to all my therapies, excited and motivated.
On the other hand, these more able-bodied patients refuse therapy! They just sleep all day, demanding pain med after pain med.
Logically, I recognize it’s not my business what others do, particularly in a medical setting. Yet, I get so frustrated when people are given an opportunity so many would kill for and/or wait for but choose to remain in bed instead of working with the dedicated therapists here. (I emphasize “choose” because, again, I know some patients simply cannot do all their therapies.)
I’m also struggling to find patience with people who just complain nonstop. I’ve got my issues, a whole host of them, too. Yet, I’m not pushing my issues on others, who I know are struggling as well.
THE “TOXIC” PATIENT
I’m very sympathetic, especially when it comes to fellow cancer patients. Unfortunately, I encountered a “toxic patient.” Although this individual knew my diagnosis and initially acted as though she was bonding with me, ultimately it became ALL about her.
Facing a “terminal” diagnosis is not easy even for the strongest patient. Yet, I’ve handled it “relatively” well because frankly:
“As human beings aren’t we all terminal?“
I do not dwell upon my diagnosis. Also , I don’t feel “like I’m sitting at death’s door.” HOWEVER I do feel manipulated by an individual here who constantly talked about death, and went on-and-on about “how much she wished she would just die and never wake-up.”
I attempted to encourage her. It was a total waste of my time. She sucked out any positive energy I tried to exhibit. I quickly realized it was useless. I was in the midst of the “toxic patient“.
NO ONE NEEDS THAT NEGATIVITY. I CERTAINLY DON’T NEED IT, ESPECIALLY WHEN I’M DOING EVERYTHING I CAN TO LIVE!
FINDING COMPASSION WHILE DEALING WITH A “TOXIC PATIENT
If you want to “go with dignity”, I’m all for it. But, remember to respect the dignity of patients who are “not yet ready to go.”
For example, unless we have a close relationship I’m not really ready to talk “death” with you. I feel compassion and show it as much as I can. Though, if another patient’s issues impede my healing, I must ” walk away”.
The way I personally handled this particular patient was by removing myself from the situation, quickly and quietly. Yes, I feel for her. She definitely was in pain. She was active enough to move around. So, she wanted to travel. Thus, my heart hurts for her and her family, and anyone suffering with this disease. I do hope she finds comfort somehow beyond just drugs and sleeping through whatever time she remains on this Earth.
Appreciate every breath you take. Someone else didn’t get to take another breath today.