After surgery, I had to wait a few days to see when I would be transferred to Kaiser's rehabilitation center in Vallejo. Everyday it was the same answer...."we do not know yet." It was very frustrating not knowing if or when I was going to be transferred. No one seemed to have any answers. After 6 days, there was finally a decision to outsource my rehab to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (VMC). I was kind of excited because VMC was so much closer to my family and friends compared to Vallejo. I had heard great things about VMC's spinal center rehabilitation facilities from other family members and friends.
I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at VMC. After an initial examination by the doctor and physical therapists, I was put in a wheelchair to explore the facility. The next day, I was very surprised at how much stuff goes on in a day at rehab. I was so busy from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep at night. Each day started off with a towel bath from the nurses, vital sign checks, medications, getting dressed, breakfast in bed, 1 hour of Occupational Therapy (OT) and then 1 hour of Physical Therapy (PT). Lunch was at noon and then back into the rehab gym to work out for an hour. There was a small break and then it was time for "par course" where one of the PTs would get in a wheelchair and make us do laps around the rehab facility for 30 minutes. Then we had a class to attend for an hour to learn and cope with all of the issues of spinal cord injuries (SCI). Then dinner, bowel program, and off to bed. Whew!!! Then is started all over again, and again, and again.
Another great thing at VMC was their recreational therapy options. There were lots of activities planned each night after dinner. Going out to movies, cooking dinner, adopt-a-pet, arts and crafts, etc. Every Monday they would bring in some dinner we would have a community discussion with some seasoned wheelchair people. This was a great time for the newly injured patients to ask some questions about anything we wanted.like how do you go shopping, what kind of vehicle to look for, how do you go to the beach, how do you go back to work, etc. On Saturdays, the rec therapists would plan a group outing where we sometimes went out to breakfast or lunch, go to the mall or go to watch wheelchair basketball. They even took us to the swimming pool in the basement where they taught us how to swim, float and just relax.
I also had a few medical issues while I was there. The doctors and nurses took great care of me and did everything they could to help me get better
On my first day, I could not sit up in bed, I could not balance, nor was I very strong. The therapists taught me all the skills I needed to return to my home and start living my life again. They taught me how to be as independent as my injury would let me. It was a struggle everyday, but I was pushed very hard and I needed it. I am able to do almost everything by myself now. Thank you VMC!!!