Today is Tuesday January 31th, and I’be been in a Rehabilitation Hospital (for Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy) in the Orlando area for the last 10 days. I was previously in the Oviedo Medical Center for 10 days as well; all of this just after returning home from Singapore, and our 34 night cruise on Seabourn Encore from Athens to Singapore.
I’ve gotten so far behind in posting, I figured I need to post something about my current whereabouts, even as I never finished posting about many of the ports we visited on our Seabourn Cruise. I’ll hopefully catch up on some more of the cruise posting over the next month while I’m at home.
In a nutshell, here is a quick update blog post I am writing post Seabourn cruise, in my hospital room in Orlando at 4:30pm, while I wait for my dinner to be delivered. Please forgive me for any typos; I’m still on some pain meds, and am fairly tired from therapy and my hospital stay, although as hospital stays go, this Rehab Hospital I’m in, (Encompass Rehab Hospital) is as good as it gets! Outstanding actually!
Ok, you know as soon as I wrote that dinner would soon be delivered, so here it is on my dinner tray, and I’ll continue on after I eat. . .
As I wrote about in my last post, our cruise ended in Singapore on December 23, and Steve (DOS) and I both were extremely weary and fatigued, and running a fever. As there was a hospital only a block away from our hotel, we went to the ER, and ended up being admitted to Raffles Hospital for 3 nights, where we both were diagnosed with Dengue Fever.
As a mosquito disease, we must have picked up at one of the later ports in the cruise (we both suspect Kochi India as we had an open air jungle boat excursion there, followed by a nice lunch at an Eco Friendly Resort, that was also located in a jungle-like resort setting).
As we were admitted to the Raffles Hospital, we had a high fever 102.7 F, chills, and lots of aches and pains, and extreme fatigue. As. Dengue Fever is a virus, it pretty much just runs its course and eventually clears up on its own, which it did in our case. (There is not an official vaccine that I know of for Dengue Fever, although we have had the Yellow Fever vaccine.) At the hospital, we were both given prescription strength Tylenol, and I was given a full treatment of antibiotics (both drip and oral) as I had shortness of breath as well, and the doctors were concerned with my previous heart issues.
The Doctor at Raffles Hospital said we would be safe to fly on or after New Year’s Eve, so we changed our flights to the later Dec 31 date, by which time our fever was gone and we were feeling better, though we were still weak. After we got out of the hospital, we stayed at the Grand Hyatt for 5 nights until New Year’s Eve, when we took the long trip home (Singapore to SFO, and SFO to MCO).
After arriving home in Orlando on New Year’s Day, DOS and I rested up for the next two or three days, exhausted from the long flights, as well as having been gone for 7 weeks. During the week at home, I was walking around and went to a couple of my previously scheduled Doctor’s appointments, and had lunch with a couple friends. DOS was feeling fine as well. I was back to normal I thought!
On Friday, January 12th, however, I woke up with a fever, and my whole body was aching from head to toe! DOS took me to the ER in Oviedo Medical Center, where I eventually got admitted, for what would surprisingly be a 10 night stay. The ER doctors and staff said I had an infection, but they couldn’t identify what it was.
At Oviedo Hospital, they ran umpteen tests over the next few days, ruling out many infections, while they treated me with broad-spectrum antibiotics and Tylenol, which did bring the fever down. As we had been out of the country for several weeks and had had Dengue Fever, they suspected it might have relapsed or had something to do with it, but never did make a definitive conclusion about the infection. The infection seemed to have cleared up and with the fever down, I was eventually discharged to Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital in the Altamonte Springs area of Orlando area for follow-up treatment and especially walking and mobility issues.
I was still in quite a bit of pain throughout my body when I was discharged from Oviedo Hospital on Sunday January 21, and transferred directly via ambulance to the Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital in the Altamonte Springs/Maitland area of Orlando.
I admit I was quite anxious and really uncertain about my future stay in the Rehab Hospital, as it was a new environment, and the in-house therapy sessions were for 3 hours each day, combining both Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (PT), in a hospital-like environment. I was in so much pain still, it literally hurt to be transferred to the ambulance, turn in bed, body pain upon contact such as ankles and feet, and worst of all I was still unable to walk due to the immense pain and stiff joints. I also didn’t know how long I would be staying at the Encompass Rehab Hospital when I was admitted.
As it’s now nearly 7pm, I’ll cut to the chase, and in the interest of time, fast-forward thru the last 10 days I’ve been here at Encompass Rehab Hospital. It’s Tuesday night, January 31, and I’m actually being discharged tomorrow, and yes I can now walk!!!! (a little bit). I’m mostly still using a walker, but I did take some independent steps today not using my walker, which was a huge surprise to me, and possibly my PT trainer, although I know she had faith in me I could do it. I imagine while I’m at home in the next few days I’l be walking normally (if not a bit slower for a while) without the walker. Here’s a short video DOS took of me as I walked some of my first few steps after my last therapy session today, and for the first time since I was admitted, without a walker!
While I’ve been at Encompass, I have received intense and specialized therapy, and I am truly amazed that I am actually walking again! When I was admitted here 10 days ago, I could not even stand up, and little by little I’m on my feet again; it’s truly a miracle for me, and I’ve had lots of people praying for me. The therapists, doctors, and nursing staff here are truly outstanding and I’m amazed of the work they do; as I’ve always said, and I’m glad to tell them, “OT/PT Therapists, Nurses, and medical staff are truly Angels on Earth” for the caring and compassionate work they do. Here is a photo of me and my main PT trainer, who literally helped me to walk again! She is amazing and so encouraging yet patient with me over the last 10 days.
I finished up my therapy sessions today, and will be discharged at 1pm tomorrow. Steve (DOS) has come by to see me every single day, usually from 8:30am until after dinner. DOS is such a good care-taker for me and I don’t think I could have made it this far if not for him. I didn’t take a lot of photos while I have been here, but here’s a couple below.
Last weekend I did not have therapy (I was “off” for Saturday and Sunday), but DOS worked with me on exercises and walked with me outside in the courtyard. I was still using the wheelchair and walker then, but we walked quite a bit including up and down a ramp there with the walker. I made it a goal or habit to touch the basketball rim as we walked by it each time!
My sister Jenni, who lives in Maryland, even stopped by to visit me one day, as she was traveling in the Orlando area for business this week. It was really a nice surprise and it was great to see her!
I enjoyed the meals each day which were served in my room, 320, which was the last room at the end of the two long hallways which reached to the gym. The location was nice and quiet as well. All 70 of the Encompass rooms were private, and the complex is all built on a single level which is nice and convenient for both staff and the Rehab patients.
So what’s next? I still have quite a ways to go as far as walking normally again without a walker, or occasionally with the wheelchair, but this Rehab stay has been a Godsend for me. I’m slowly building my strength up each day, and no longer have the full body aches and pains I checked in here with. I do have pain still in my legs and ankles, but it’s much more manageable, and actually a “good pain” from the workouts. I can shower, go to the bathroom, and get dressed on my own, all thanks to OT and DOS’s help.
In some ways it’s been like a child learning to walk with all the tasks associated with growing up, condensed in to a a 10 day “boot camp” here at Encompass Rehab. The OT’s and PT’s are absolutely amazing, and work their programs in a way that adjusts to your individual needs, and do it in a friendly and compassionate way. They don’t “over work” you, although they definitely “work you”, however you’re really working yourself as you want to do good, and many days I’ve pushed myself beyond what I thought was possible.
One other thing I found out today is I will need to start using a CPAP machine when it gets delivered to my home next week. While here at Encompass, they did a sleep study one night which confirmed I had sleep apnea (“severe sleep apnea” the respiratory tech said), so that’s one more thing to get used to. My main concerns are the noise and portability of the unit for travel, both of which the respiratory tech assured me would be ok. I will report back in a week or two on how that’s going.
One huge incentive to build up my strength and walking is for our next trip, which is to Australia and New Zealand in mid-March for about a month. This is yet another major trip, and I’ve been working the therapy sessions hard, and will continue to be working my body hard when I’m discharged, where I will get additional therapy at the Advent Health off-site PT/OT rehab center near my house for the month of February at least.
As it’s been a long day here at the Rehab Hospital, (rather 10 days!), not to mention the other 10 days in Oviedo Hospital, I’m going to wrap up this post, and get ready for bed my last night here at Encompass. I’ll try to write more in the coming days as I catch up with everything in this New Year. I’ve hardly been home since mid-November when we went on our Seabourn Cruise, and was home only for a few days after New Year’s before I went in the two hospitals here in Orlando.
I’ve got quite a few Doctor appointments in the days ahead; my primary doctor for post-hospitlization stay, my Cardiologist, my Asthma and lung Specialist (regarding my sleep study I had here at the Rehab Center), and a new Rheumatologist that I will be seeing. I’m especially anxious to see the Rheumatologist to see if they have any additional information or ideas on my original infection as they specialize in more rare diseases and may be able to identify what the original infection was. It’s coincidental to me, but I had an infection prior to my second heart surgery in Sept 2022 that was never identified, and it too had a high fever out of nowhere. I wonder if COVID and/or the vaccine could be lingering in my body? Who knows, but it does make me wonder.
So good night, and thank everyone for their prayers. This has really been a miracle for me, and perhaps it’s God’s way of saying get out and stay in shape, yet slow down and relax some times as well. And to volunteer my talents with others who may be in need of help.
May God bless you as we journey on into February 2024 tomorrow! Good Night!