First of all a HUGE shout out of THANKS to Deirdre + all the “spinners” at PURE FITNESS yesterday!!! What an awesome fundraiser with truly special, loving & generous people.
On November 15th we were all invited to a “family meeting” at Lyndhurst in the morning. We weren’t told very much – other than it would be an opportunity to have all of Tracy’s medical and therapy “team” around the table in one room. Lynn, Mom, Dad, Robert, myself & Tracy of course – all cleared our calendars and prepared our questions and notes for the big day.
Finally, we would have an opportunity to discuss the many questions, challenges and struggles in a mediated and managed forum with professionals giving us input and collaborating on the solutions. Sounds great, doesn’t it?? HA!! Well, what actually happened was not what we had anticipated – what actually happened was a very formal and rigid – 30 minutes – of each professional around the table stating the facts about Tracy’s entrée to Lyndhurst and their prognosis relative to their line of work. There was physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, psychology, nursing, recreational therapy, Dr. “B”and Dr. Judy. Dr B lead the meeting and it was at a fast pace. There wasn’t much time for questions or interactions as it was made very clear that there was another family coming in at exactly the 30 minute mark!!
It was a whirlwind – disappointing to say the least. We felt ripped off. My poor mother just wanted to say something at the end and was cut off as she sobbed an incredibly heartfelt “thank you.” The real goal of the meeting wasn’t for “us” but for them to give us “the date” – of Tracy’s discharge. The actual purpose seemed to be for them to check all the proper bureaucratic “boxes,” and communicate the date that we should be ready to assume Tracy’s care!
DR. LEO DA COSTA
On Tuesday November 22nd Tracy had an appointment with Dr. Dacosta at Sunnybrook Hospital. He is the neurosurgeon who operated on Tracy’s neck and spine the day after her accident – the person responsible for “putting Humpty back together again.”
I volunteered to go with Tracy to Sunnybrook to meet with Dr. D, because I knew she wanted to start at the beginning. She wanted to see all the scans and xrays that we had seen pre-op, post-op and now. She was on a mission to educate herself on her spinal injury. To gain some understanding and figure out why she’s favouring her left side? Was her head on an angle because of the surgery? Would another operation fix it? What was the deal? We finished getting her ready to go that morning and got into the Dignity ‘van’.
We first went to the Xray clinic because they wanted to take another xray of her neck After that we made our way to Dr. Dacosta’s office – which by the way has two sets of doors WITHOUT handicapped buttons or automatic door openers!?? Huh? He called us into his cramped quarters and gave us his FULL attention. He listened, replied and interacted with Tracy with admiration. I could tell he was amazed, maybe even in awe of her. He shared the details about the hardware holding Tracy’s neck together.
There are 8 screws/bolts – 4 on each side of the front of her neck with a bar going horizontally across the middle section. On the back there is a plate going vertically holding the graft from her hip in place between the vertebrae. He went on to explain just how badly torn and ripped apart her muscles and tendons in her neck had been, and how difficult it was to put her back together again. He seemed to marvel at the fact that she is breathing on her own. It became clear that he did not want to operate again. The risks are way too high. She would need to focus and work through the pain in her neck and start building up strength in her right side. He reminded her that she’d been lying in a hospital bed for the past 2 months and even an able-bodied person would need time to rejuvenate the muscles and work to gain strength. She should be patient.
She was unbelievable during this appointment. Just before we got up to leave, she said “thank you for saving my life,” to which he replied “I wish I’d never met you.”
Where to live? Sell, buy, renovate, build… stay or go? So many questions and so many decisions. Have you ever thought about the considerations and accommodations needed for a wheelchair? And then, take that one step further and think about the added accommodations or technology needed for someone in a wheelchair who cannot use their arms or hands? Imagine the myriad of simple tasks that become overwhelming feats. And then layer that with 3 young boys who want and need mothering, nurturing, discipline and care…Now add that to the mix!! I know in my heart that we will work through all of this and find the solution, and Tracy will continue to amaze and inspire us all.
Christmas is fast approaching – the stores, TV, magazines, radio, and advertisements are all telling us to shop, buy and spend on “gifts.” This Christmas has taken on new meaning for our family. I definitely don’t have the same motivation to buy “things.” I seem to be questioning what it’s all about. Is it really about the “stuff?” If you knew you could ask for any gift this Christmas – anything you wanted, what would it be? My response today would be much different than it would have been in Christmases past. Today if you asked me that same question…. I promise I wouldn’t be greedy and ask for Tracy to be able walk, or to rewind the clock and take away her injuries. I would say “please God give Tracy strength, courage, peace and hope” …I might say “please let her have some movement in her hands, or her arms” … “please let her find happiness and purpose again.” Those are some of the “gifts” I might ask for today. This Christmas celebrate the “gifts” we all take for granted every day.