Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
Today is Friday, February 12, 2016 my second day being awake and my first day of physical therapy. I needed physical therapy to relearn how to walk again. I was in a coma for 11 days and my muscle memory forgot. The nurses and my mom kept telling me I couldn’t get out of the bed, I thought it was because they knew I would walk right out of that hospital or get water but it was because I physically couldn’t walk. I didn’t comprehend this until the first time I sat up in the bed, I felt unbelievably dizzy and I couldn’t hold myself up.
My physical therapist was super sweet and she lifted my spirits every time she walked in my room. Physical therapy was the only highlight of my day. I was finally out of the bed and moving around.
Day 1 she taught me how to roll over and get out of the bed properly without hurting myself. I had wires, needles coming out of all parts of my body and a fresh 15 inch incision going down the middle of my belly, so she had to teach me how to pick myself up without pulling anything out. I had to roll onto my right side and use my left hand to pick my upper body up. I was too weak, so she assisted. I sat up for the first time in 12 days and wow I was dizzy. All I did was sit up and my legs were hanging off the side of the bed.
The next step was to stand up, oh boy. So me, all of my drains, and all of the wires, all stood up and I took two steps to the left with her arms under mine to help hold me up. I was so weak, I couldn’t stand up on my own. After taking those first two steps I had to sit down. I was so tired, so weak, so dizzy. But I couldn’t lay down there, I had to stand back up and walk two steps to the right. That’s all I did for day 1 of physical therapy. It finally hit me how unbelievably weak and sick I was. I felt useless, sad and unhealthy. I knew I had a long way to go.
Day 2 of physical therapy I was so ready! I love striving to achieve goals. Not even two weeks before that moment I was trying to figure out what career path I wanted to follow and now I was literally trying to accomplish how to walk again. Starting from the basics.
Day 2 I was excited but nervous at the same time. I didn’t like how dizzy I felt when I was barely doing anything but I had so much motivation to walk again I was ready to get started! Today we were able to walk to the door and back to my bed. I had taken more steps than I had the day before and that was an accomplishment. I held onto the rolling machine to help with my balance and I had to make sure I was walking with my feet wide so I wouldn’t trip.
Walking felt so weird, so foreign. I went in the hospital at 120 lbs and now I was 100 lbs. My legs were very skinny, my thighs and calves were the same size and they couldn’t hold the upper half of my body. My stomach felt huge and giggly, like my organs were now sitting on the outside of my stomach. When I walked, I felt like a football player playing with two left shoes and I was going to topple over at any moment.
Day 3 of physical therapy was awesome! This was my thing every day there was no going backwards. Today I walked halfway down the hallway! It felt so crazy because this was the first time I was out of the four walls of my hospital room. My wheel chair came with us because we weren’t sure if I would be able to walk back.
No matter how mentally prepared I wanted to be, I’ve never felt this weak and tired before so I was okay with the wheelchair coming for back up. I had to walk down the hallway slowly, holding my machine, concentrating on the placement of my feet, concentrating on my breathing, my therapist holding my arm and all eyes were on me. Hey, I was walking!
Half way down the hall and I had to stop and sit down in my wheelchair to catch my breathe. It felt like I just sprinted a 400 yard dash. It felt like I didn’t have enough energy to walk back to my bed but I had to get back. So I stood up, looked down at my feet and told myself to walk wide. I was so damn proud of myself.
After my walk down the hallway, it took about an hour for my ears to stopping popping and for me to catch my breathe. This opened my eyes a lot, because the only time I felt like this was after sprinting at my fastest.
Today my nurse Jeff gave me another challenge, to sit in a chair after walking. We were seeing how long I could handle sitting before I needed to lay down. The first day I did 15 minutes, the second day 30 minutes.
Day 4 of physical therapy was the day I manned up and I walked all the way down the hallway! I felt like such a champ! I was wobbly and tired but I pushed passed the halfway point and made it all the way down the hall! I was so excited I wanted to jump up and down but then I would have really toppled over. We turned around at the end of the hall and I did not sit down, I had so much good energy flowing throughout my body I wanted to walk all the way back. I was getting stronger every day, there was hope for me walking again.
The picture on the right shows me watching my surgical drain located next to my injury site, fill up with fluid. The nurses couldn't pull the drain until my numbers went from 1,000 cc's of fluid a day to 0 cc's. This drain didn't get pulled until May. The two pictures are side by side so you can see exactly where the drain is coming from my belly.
My physical therapy continued to strive when we moved out of ICU. Now I was walking with a cane and I was able to hold my balance a little better so no one had to hold onto me.
My second physical therapist was a cool guy. Before we walked each day we would do exercises to help get my legs stronger. I would do kicks, taps, to stretch my legs out. Any kind of stretching felt amazing. I went from practicing yoga daily to now confined to a hospital bed, not being able to walk.
Every day I felt stronger. First we started off with one lap around the hospital floor and then we bumped it up to two. I walked with my cane for three days. I started to feel stronger so I told him I wanted to try walking to my bed by myself, without my cane. He had confidence in me, and said yes. I put my cane down, and I walked to the bed by myself without falling over! That was the absolute best feeling EVER!
After that I didn’t have to walk the hospital hallways with a cane anymore. Yes, I moved very slow and I still had to concentrate on everything I was doing but I was walking by myself. Something I couldn’t do a week ago. He didn’t have to hold on to me, but he had my back, and stayed close for the moments when I did get wobbly. On February 18, 2016 Tory did not have to walk with a cane anymore! I could walk by myself, it was a GREAT day!
Everyday I had to continue walking to gain my strength and energy back. After 3 days of walking without my cane, my physical therapist gave my mom and I the okay to walk the halls by ourself. That was the highlight of my day was getting out of my bed and walking two laps around the floor.
I was extremely proud of myself because I remember one day in the ICU, my nurse asked me if we had rehab facilities in my area. I said, "No, I am walking out of this hospital!" She said, “Actually no, everyone gets wheel chaired out,” but she knew what I meant. I wanted to know I could walk out of here. She said she was going to see my progress when I was being discharged. On my discharge day, I was walking :)
Thank you guys so much for reading, please share along to your friends and stay tuned for my next post!
Peace and Love,