First Night Home

Sep 30, 2021

I was discharged from rehab at 11:00 a.m., and one of my childhood best friends, Ashley, picked me up. She and I stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get iced coffees to celebrate that I’m finally coming home.

I live in Stoughton, Massachusetts, about forty-five minutes away from the rehab. My house is a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom, ranch-style house. I moved on May 20, 2021, three months before surgery. The home was renovated to meet my needs as a full-time wheelchair user. The countertops in my kitchen were lowered, as well as my sinks and stovetop. This allows me to have the ability to use my kitchen, something I haven’t been able to do in over five years. I have a fenced-in backyard, so my dog and my father’s dog can play freely. There’s a fifty-foot ramp that allows me to go outside and play with the dogs. It had been five years since I had had an accessible way to go outside.

My father will be staying with me to help for the next two months. Currently, I am on spinal precautions, meaning I’m not able to bend, lift, or twist. Because my movement is limited, I will need help for a while.

Ashley helps me every day, as she is my personal care assistant. She helps me with activities of daily living, including showering, getting dressed, and assisting with transfers.

It felt good to be home and, in my bed, once again. It’s 7:00 p.m., and I’m lying in my bed, propped up with pillows. I have a soft, red, twenty-five-pound weighted blanket draped over me. It’s quite heavy, but it helps the spasms in my legs.

As I lie in bed, the emotions begin to hit me. I feel overwhelmed. I need help with the little things, like getting in and out of bed. I remind myself this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel like that now. I doubt whether I’m strong enough to handle this recovery.

At the same time, I feel grateful. I’m able to recover from the comfort of my home. I’m surrounded by family and friends, who will be there for me during the good, bad, and ugly. I’m proud of my determination, making sure I worked as hard as I could both in the hospital and rehab. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I refused to give up. On my harder days, I would remind myself to keep going. If I wanted to get better, I had to keep my head in the game and work as hard as I could. Now that I’m home, I need to continue this same mentality. I know I can do this.

My soul chimes in: Do not doubt yourself. You are stronger than you think. Your surgeon warned you that the first three months were going to be hell. This will be challenging; however, you’re determined.

Always remember, losing is not an option.


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