It felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole, so to speak, on that last day at Rehab. Like Alice in Wonderland, I had landed in a world where everything was upside down....
The female therapist was there and she took Bob to the parallel bars and immediately strapped a gait belt on him and called the assistant to help her. This past week, the other therapist hadn't even bothered with a gait belt, but I'm thinking, ok, she's just being safe. But then she and the assistant grab onto the gait belt and begin to lift Bob out of the wheelchair and I say, "you know, you don't have do that anymore." She stops and looks at me and I say, "Didn't you read the notes? He can get up on his own. You don't have to help him."
She says, "What notes?"
I say, "Chris was able to get Bob to stand up on his own by leaning forward and he's been doing it ever since last Thursday."
She says, "Oh that. Bob's being doing that all along. That's nothing new."
I am dumbfounded. She can see that, so she says, "I'm surprised you haven't noticed it before."
I say, "I never saw him get up without assistance before last Thursday."
She says, "You haven't? Then, you must not have been here."
Well, I tell you I have been there, every minute of every session and what the heck is she talking about? By now, the assistant is looking confused and she drops the gait belt and says, "Do you need me?"
The therapist says, "Yes, just steady him. I just want to make sure he doesn't fall." Then, she turns to me and says, "We're not lifting him, we're just holding him steady." Then she tells Bob to get up, which he does, and she looks at me and says, "See, he did that on his own. I'm just holding him steady. He's been doing that all along."
At this point, I don't know what to say, so I don't say anything.
Bob begins to walk down the bars and the therapist stays dead in front him. Each time Bob moves his right leg, she blocks his knee with her leg and each time he moves his right foot, she takes her foot and shoves it into position. Watching this, I'm thinking this is weird, because for the last week the other therapists have been standing about two feet ahead of Bob, letting Bob do his walking on his own, letting Bob "self correct" his foot placement, so I say, "You don't need to do that anymore."
She says, "I know, I just don't want him to fall."
It feels like we've just entered a time warp, sort of gone back in time and all the progress Bob had made in the past few sessions had disappeared. Honestly, I don't know why she's doing this, why she's acting like nothing happened. Because something did happen, that session with Chris, I know it did. Why else would Chris be so excited? And not only Chris, but Bob himself was thrilled. And me. And even the receptionist saw it and was thrilled. And the other therapist, "Meanie" as Bob calls him. He was surprised and thrilled at Bob's progress and said as much....
This therapist says, "The problem here is that Bob can't do anything outside the bars. He's hit the wall," (there's that phrase again, hit the wall) "and I can't do anything with him when he's stuck in the bars. So we have to discharge him."
I am sitting there and my heart is sinking, I feel like I'm going numb, and I know there's absolutely nothing I can do, because she is intent on kicking him out of therapy. She's not going to change her mind, after all.
She goes on about it "not being the end the world," and Bob needs to "take a break" and "maybe come back in a year or so if he's made progress at home" and I'm thinking, how the heck am I supposed to get him "to progress" if these "professionals" can't do it? Or is that they just don't want to help him?
I spend the rest of that last session trying not to cry. You know how it is? When your eyes keep welling up and you keep telling yourself not to cry, because I don't want her to see me cry. At one point, near the end, I dug through my purse and grabbed my sunglasses and put them on, which I suppose looked awfully weird, but at least she wouldn't see me starting to cry.
And he was discharged. Without even being given a single piece of paper with instructions on what to do at home. The other therapists (OT & ST) gave me stacks of papers, with suggested exercises and worksheets etc. But this therapist did not give us anything. She just said goodbye. So as she was saying goodbye, I asked how will I know when he has "progressed" enough to return to therapy? She tells me that he has to be able to stand up without holding onto a bar and to walk without holding onto a bar and if he can do that, he can return to therapy.
So we left and took the wheelchair transport home. Bob was strapped in behind me and I reached back to touch him and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it so tight and would not let go. Then, I began to cry.
I came home and posted that brief note, because I knew there were some good folks out there waiting to hear the news, but that's all I had the heart to do.
On Friday, I called around and got a hold of a company who sent a guy out on Saturday to measure our hallway wall and on Monday, he will install an eight foot rail so that Bob and I can practice walking at home.