On Wednesday Noelle and I left Dagmar. Fina checked in on her again later in the evening, and Christopher gets back to town on Friday, but all in all Dagmar will have much more time on her own. PT and OT continue and Dagmar is working on her own exercises. Still, this leaves plenty of time to text or answer the phone, so please feel free to call her and encourage her to keep on working. Bending that new knee is all important. As Dagmar says, “I’ve learned that when it hurts, I am not hurting it.”
The rehab center always schedules a “care conference” for families of new patients to help them plan for discharge and the care needs at home. Dagmar wanted hers to be held before I left, so we had it today.
The team here including Polly, Jeremy, and Shari will work toward a discharge date of Thursday 12/21.
Noelle, Fina, and Cam visited Dagmar today.
We learned that Mary would be preaching at Luther this morning and were able to catch the live stream as she preached about Our Lady of Guadalupe. Of course, Dagmar kept up her own running commentary about how holy the mountaintop had been for Juan Diego’s people before the conquistadors and how important it was that Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego with dark skin. She told me that she had seen the cloak he wore when she once visited Mexico, and found herself weeping without reason or end in its presence, watering the garden of the soul. She loved a phrase Mary used repeatedly in her preaching, that often we only see what we know to see. Mary asked us to be open to seeing what will change us.
I found Dagmar already in physical therapy with Heather when I arrived this morning. She was pumping away on the petals. Dagmar did a great job of all the exercises and was measured at an 80° knee bend. She also earned a green ribbon on her walker which means that she is welcome to amble around the center whenever she likes. Earlier in the morning she practiced standing and used weights with OT.
Today Dagmar had her first session of OT, doing some exercises to strengthen her arms and absorbing some practical skills for getting by while her knee heals. She also had some conversations with the medical staff about her desire to balance pain management with limited opioids. Dagmar also enjoyed talking with her aide about her home in Sierra Leone. Altogether she was in better spirits.
After a brief flirtation with coming home from rehab early, Dagmar has decided that she has a lot to gain from finishing out at least her two weeks here. She has set some goals for rehab including gaining range in her new knee, getting past the need for opioid pain killers, preparing her apartment for her return, and setting up a clear PT and nursing strategy at home. Mary Jo taught her some new skills yesterday and plans some more bodywork with Dagmar next week.
Dagmar wanted a salad from Panera today. I swear she enjoyed it more than it appears she did.
Lots of visits today, including Mary, Jimi, Lee Ann, Christopher, and Nancy. Dagmar consulted on Tyrian issues with Natalie and schemed with Christopher and Nancy about how she might escape to Cleveland early.
Today Dagmar is talking about wanting to get home a week earlier than she had been planning. I (Eric) have been planning to drive her car back to Cleveland on Wednesday (I fly home early Thursday morning). Dagmar had been planning to stay in rehab for an additional week, but now is considering returning to her apartment in Cleveland with me. We can’t really discuss this with the rehab staff till Monday, since most of them are away over the weekend.
If Dagmar is to pull this off, though, it means that a number of things need to be arranged. She will still need PT at home, and to my knowledge that physical therapy has not been set up yet. She needs a walker, the one she has been using here is not her own due to a mixup in the transfer from the hospital. She would need to take responsibility for her own pain medication routine, which has been a bit muddled for the past few days. She may also need to meet certain milestones that we are not fully aware of. In other words, even though she has begun talking about heading home after one week of rehab, that is far from a certainty.
If you have thoughts about what we need to arrange before getting Dagmar home, please leave them in comments on this post. Thanks!
Meanwhile, here is a picture Christopher and I found last night of Dagmar in her first apartment in the United States, in New Haven.