Hospitals: Where Time Stops And Yet The Weeks Run Together.

8 Aug

Anyone who has ever had a very intense surgery will tell you that the actual surgery is the easy part. It’s the intense physical therapy sessions that you have twice a day that bring all of the pain, a pain unlike anything you’ve ever known before.

The physical therapy room of Shriner’s Hospital is a room that is very detailed in my mind. First of all, there are 2 doors on either side of a window that lead into the therapy room. If you enter through the door on your right, you’ll see the physical therapists’ desks to your left, a few raised mats to your right, a small set of stairs straight ahead, and a set of parallel bars to the left of the stairs. Past the stairs and the parallel bars and the mats, there’s a relatively big window. Beyond the window is a patio area that has a few benches and some trees, a scene that was probably designed to look relaxing and bring in as much sunshine as possible. A scene that all of the PT patients look at with longing when they are able to catch a glimpse, wishing for just one moment that they could be on the other side of that window.

I went out onto that patio area once from what I can remember. I remember smiling because it was the first time in months that I was able to feel the sunshine on my face. Hospitals give the impression of being cold, dreary, and plain. Shriner’s wasn’t like that. It was colorful, had a game area for kids to play, and had tons of windows that gave you a glimpse into what was happening outside. However, they were still windows. They still acted as a barrier between two very different worlds. Even though Shriner’s didn’t give off the typical hospital impression of being gloomy and full of sick people, it’s true that you lose track of the days when you’re in a hospital. However, in my case, I seemed to lose track of the seasons more than the days. If it wasn’t for the big windows, I would never know when the leaves began to change in the fall or when the flowers began to bloom in the spring. I’d never know that the world was continuing on without me…while I was inside a physical therapy room wanting nothing more than to catch a fallen autumn leaf in my hand or feel the rain on my face.

All the time that I spent in Shriner’s after my surgeries to have intense physical therapy is pretty much a blur. Though I remember specific memories, the time frame I was there is skewed. I can’t remember how long I had intense PT after my first surgery. I can’t remember when I was finally able to go home after that chunk of therapy. But I can remember who my therapist was. I can remember which exercises I hated the most, and I can remember the moments when the only time that I could breathe a sigh of relief was in between the spasms in my legs, the spasms that made it seem as if my legs resembled a rubber band that was being pulled right up until the moment that it almost popped. Though I may not remember days, months, or what time of year it was, I remember specific moments of pain. I remember realizing that there’s only so much emotion that can be held in tears, and there’s only so many times you can scream before the pain is so extreme that it silences everything, even your voice.

21 Responses to “Hospitals: Where Time Stops And Yet The Weeks Run Together.”

  1. photosfromtheloonybin August 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    I read this post marvelling at how well it was written because I felt like I was right at your side experiencing what you did. Do you want to know what I took away from it? The realization of how much you have overcome and what an amazingly strong person you are. I mean think about it – you look back at those memories of the horrific pain of physical therapy and then think that you just spent most of summer at school in Ireland. You’ve come such a long way. You are an incredible person Amelia, and I admire you!

  2. Wilhelmina Upton August 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    I cannot even imagine the pain you must have been through even though I went through some PT myself after a hip surgery. It was not nearly as bad as your situation.
    Are you ok now or will you have to go through more surgeries in the future?

    • ameliaclaire92 August 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      “Okay” isn’t really a word I would use since my CP still affects me every day. However, I’m pretty much done with surgeries since there isn’t much else they can do to help me.

      • Wilhelmina Upton August 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

        Sorry for my lack of a better word. I’m not very familiar with CP.

      • ameliaclaire92 August 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

        It’s fine. There aren’t too many people who are.

  3. Errign August 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    It’s funny how our bodies can withstand so much, but often our minds shut down and try their best to block out some of the pain or heartache we endure, huh?

    • ameliaclaire92 August 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      Yeah…seriously. When I’ve been digging up memories to include in my memoir, I’ve realized just how much my mind shut out at the time.

  4. Ed Lynch August 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    So poignant how you noticed the seasons through the barrier of glass…but I also know you break through barriers every day, especially on this blog!

    • ameliaclaire92 August 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

      Aw wow. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. 🙂

  5. Ed Lynch August 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Also, just wanted you to know that my son’s girlfriend “has” CP, but it doesn’t have her. Sure you know what I mean!

  6. belasbrightideas August 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    So sorry. And glad you’re on ‘the other side’ now.

    • ameliaclaire92 August 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      I think it’s hard to say that there are “sides” since it’s something that still affects on a daily basis.

      • belasbrightideas August 9, 2012 at 3:55 am #

        Though you’re past needing operations now, are you not? And yes, I can only imagine it’s not something that ‘ends,’ for sure.

      • ameliaclaire92 August 9, 2012 at 8:53 am #

        Yes, I’m past needing operations, thank goodness.

  7. LA Edwards August 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Your words were moving. It must have been quite difficult for you to write, I am sure. And you did so brilliantly. You have come so very far from that girl in the hospital. You are one brave and talented girl. I carry much admiration for you, so much courage and strength. Thank you for sharing part of your story with the world, there are many people would could benefit from your words.

  8. yogikarenk August 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you for sharing yourself. Love, Karen

  9. Y August 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Wow… this post was so real to me it was almost scary, as if you were inside my head. I’m a 17-year old girl with CP, and I’m currently recovering from a femoral osteotomy that I had at Shriners. Everything you described- the hospital, the PT sessions, the pain- I can totally relate to. I don’t think very many people can fully capture (or realize) that “otherness” or feeling of isolation that you experience, going through all of that. However, I have to say that I still look forward to going to Shriners, and don’t dread it as much as you do. Reading your blog was also a rather strange experience for me, kind of like seeing a future version of myself- I’m also a voracious writer, and am considering majoring in English, Journalism, or Psychology in college. Just knowing that someone else out there has experienced the same things I have has helped a lot. Thanks.

    • ameliaclaire92 August 11, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

      Wow. Yeah I had a femoral osteotomy back in 2003 as my first surgery. I’m glad that I could be here to help, even if it has been weird/scary for you. It seems that only those of us who have been there can really understand.

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