Archive for July, 2016

Recovery Really Begins

My second bout with pneumonia finally ending, and the miraculous recovery of kidney function, I knew I was well on way back to life. Praise Our Father and son, Lord Jesus. I was given the choice of staying at Providence Hospital, or Providence Health (assisted living) for rehab. The hospital supervisor (for rehab) was very straight forward (stern) about the fact they only had a few beds for rehab. People using this facility had to be ready for 8 hours of therapy. This scared me, somewhat, but I was determined to do what ever it took to get well and go home.

They said they would give me a week to see how I was doing. So I was moved to the fourth floor rehab area the next day. The work started. First thing I had to accomplish was just getting up and to set on edge of bed without getting dizzy, or falling over. I did this repeatedly for 2 days. I was managing to set up unassisted for 15 minutes.

Next was getting up early AM to brush my teeth and do a sponge bath on my own. I had to learn how to dress sitting on the edge of bed, eat breakfast. Rest for an hour, then start using a slide board to slide from bed to wheelchair and then back to bed (I had not been fitted for the prosthesis). This was usually a 30 minute work out, then rest and have lunch. Then back to slide board practice. By the end of the week I was able to do morning toiletries – dress and use the slide board to wheelchair with minimal assistance. So, after the supervisor of rehab tested me, she was pleased at how remarkably I was doing . YES, BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND MANY PRAYERS, I DID IT.

The next week was the same routine and they added being taken to the workout equipment. They had me using the hand bicycle machine to exercise arms /shoulders and chest area. I was now using the slide board to the workout mat laying down and working several exercises to build up leg muscles. I did all this repeatedly for a week. It was amazing how quickly all body parts were responding and getting stronger.

My serenity prayers were continual, giving thanks to the Lord and to keep getting better. By the end of this 2 weeks I was operating on my own the manual wheelchair, moving from bed to wheelchair and back with the slide board. I was also moving to the workout mat with the slide board with ease.

This post was written by Bonnie Ribitzki a Charcot amputee and friend from Gering Nebraska

Brought toby Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Rest Of The Story-Rehab Continues

Because of kidney failure, being in ICU, my muscles, and the ability to even set up in bed was not easy. I was placed in the wheelchair with a lift. When I would try to set up, I would get so dizzy. I would almost faint, or get sick to my stomach. So I had to use a “Hoyer Lift”. They lifted me out of the wheelchair to get my weight each time before dialysis. And also, how I was placed in the chair for dialysis. It was neither a pretty picture nor self-esteem builder, but a day to day task.

Rehab at the assisted living place was slow. They took me to a king-sized bed to practice sitting up. Quite a few days was just repeatedly stretching, sitting up from a laying position and to remain sitting up for 5 minutes at a time. It took awhile. Eventually, I got to 15 minutes at a time. Then I progressed to learn to use a “Slide Board”. It was used for moving from a sitting position on the bed, to wheelchair and back to bed. (had not been fitted for prosthesis yet).

First part of March, my breathing/oxygen levels were not good. So, I was on oxygen quite a bit. I did breathing exercises each day also. That was pretty much the extent of rehab that month in between going to dialysis 3 days a week for 4 hours each trip, which were very cold and bumpy. The last 10 days of March was my getting sicker every day again. Low and behold pneumonia struck again and back to Providence Hospital for care.

It was a very rough 10 days, but the GREATEST WAS PRAYER ANSWERED IN THAT TIME – MY KIDNEYS CAME BACK – WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY THAT WAS AND MANY TEARS AND PRAYERS OF THANKS TO THE LORD!! Believe me I fought hard every day to get stronger and continued “The Serenity Prayer continually”.

During this month of March, I also had my most embarrassing moment- hilarious (in a way). Probably bout the 10th of March, a male nurse shows up early in the morning and says “Good morning Bonnie – I have been assigned to give you your first shower (all this time 3 months were bed type baths), but if you would prefer a female nurse just let me know.” I thought about it a moment and started laughing. And I said, “You are a professional person. Part of your job is bathing males/females and at this point everyone/everybody in this place has seen me from one end to the other and giving me a shower isn’t going to change how I look. So, lets get it done.” There you have it -my most embarrassing/hilarious moment. The nurse laughed to and we got it completed.

This post was written by Bonnie Ribitzki a Charcot amputee and friend from Gering Nebraska

Brought toby Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Assisted Living/Rehabilitation

After spending five days in ICU, and finding that I had Renal Failure (kidney’s had failed). I was placed on dialysis, possibly for the rest of my life. My mental attitude was not great. I was placed at Providence assisted living/Rehab facility. This facility was about 25 years old. The rooms held two persons and not very much room and not very private either. I was not wanting to socialize with other patients. Most were elderly with terminal aliments. I just knew this was to be my life for the rest of my days. Yes, I was very depressed.

My renal (kidney ) Doc., Dr. Gittimer was very positive my kidneys would return to function normally. This became my continual prayer to God minute by minute.  Rehab was slow, as I had all my muscles to build up after such a long time of laying in bed. But slowly through the month of March, I got stronger muscular wise.  The trips to dialysis were awful. It was cold, snowy and dark.  The Renal center had approximately 30 dialysis machines that were busy from 6am to 11pm. Children, teenagers and adults used the facility. It is amazing to know this machine is such a life giver, but the process to me is plain scary. I saw horrible things from some dying to a persons blood flying to the ceiling. The personnel are so well trained, and very consoling and patient. Some people are on the machines for three hours, others four, I was on the machine for 4 hours. The chairs you sit in are very comfortable, vinyl covered, recliner type. You can bring blankets, lunch or snacks. Each chair has a small TV to watch.

This routine was going along through March, my 63rd birthday was March 28th. Tony and Sharon were planning a surprise birthday party for me. Well, I surprised everybody. I had not been feeling real great, so, about the 23rd of March things went down hill again. I was rushed back to the hospital with pneumonia on the 26th of March – no party for me

Back to antibiotics, oxygen and not remembering much. Tony complained to the nurses that I was always so lethargic and they told him I was asking for pain medication continually. He asked who authorized the pain medication that often. Their reply was at the patients request. Tony got very upset and asked how I was able to decide this, when I didn’t even know who I was. After a big meeting with doctors and staff, I was not given any medication that Tony, or Sharon were not aware of. While fighting pneumonia, a marvelous God thing happened to me. My kidneys started to function, UNBELIEVABLE, I KNEW DOC GITTIMER WAS SURE THEY WOULD FUNCTION AGAIN,  BUT I DON’T THINK I DID.

Amazing recovery! which I made in a few short days, and within a week I was moved to the main floor of rehab in the main hospital. Rehab started with a vengeance to get me out of that place and ready to prepare for life at home. Prayers of Thanks to God, our father, for his blessings upon me. I could see home in my future now.

Bonnie’s continuing story
This post was written by Bonnie Ribitzki a Charct amputee and friend from Gering Nebraska

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation

Facing Charcot Amputation

Look around you when out in public. I find there are more amputees out and about, or maybe I am more aware of this population after I was told I would be one if I didn’t have the surgery. I am so impressed with those I have met that choose to lead very normal lives, even those that are wheel chair bound.

While heading to the grocery store from the parking lot, a tall slender man walked quickly past me. When I looked down I was surprised to see he was a double amputee. You would not have known if he hadn’t had shorts on. While at the acupuncturist with my husband, a young girl in her 20’s literally came running down the long stairs. She, too, was a amputee. I stopped her to find out what had happened. She told me she was in a shipyard accident and her leg was crushed and couldn’t be saved. She was very positive and was planning on running in a marathon this summer. I have seen children who probably adapt better than any of us.

To me attitude is everything. Bonnie is one of those people. She is positive, a role model for others and is busy in her community. Sure she could have stayed home and felt sorry for herself, but she didn’t. That’s why I want you to hear her story. If you are following her story, you know she has had more that her fair share of set backs during this discovery of Charcot, amputation and hospital stay. She was merely told if they couldn’t save the foot they would amputate during surgery.

I wondered how I would take the news. I know my surgeon told me he would make sure his patient understood the consequences and expectations. In doing research on amputation, I often find researchers say that if a part of our body is lost, amputated, we experience the grieving process much like death. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book on Death and Dying outlines five stages of the grieving process. Omal Bani Saberi, LCSW, CCHT has put these in context of limb loss as follows.

1. Denial and Isolation. “This is impossible. It’s not really happening! I feel nothing at all.”
2. Anger. ‘Why is this happening to me? I’m enraged! God is unjust.”
3. Bargaining. “If I promise to do such and such, maybe I’ll get my old life back.”
4. Depression. “I feel hopeless. Everything is beyond my control. Why bother trying? I give up.”
5. Acceptance. “I don’t like it, but the amputation is a reality. I’ll find ways to make the best of it and go on.”

Many factors including those prior to the event. How well do, or did you handle problems? Your support group of family, or friends, cultural values and norms and of course socioeconomic factors.

Bonnie had so many things going on, I think she went quickly to step 5. I am sure she spent only a short time on the other four. I know though she now talks about being depressed, but I think she has put most of that behind her and spends most of her time being very positive. Her beloved pug, Tuck ja tyo be put down this past fall and that was really difficult for her. Bit she has a new Shih Tzu puppy named Kippur that is taking up much of her time now.

Remember there are 225 amputations of diabetic feet or legs each day in the USA.

Bonnie’s continuing story
This post was written by Bonnie Ribitzki a Charct amputee and friend from Gering Nebraska

Brought to you by Charcot Awareness Education Foundation