My last blog I talked about being diagnosed with diabetes and the few amputations and operations I went through. Today I will discuss my rehab after the operations, what to expect, and the importance of following your diet during this time.
When you have recovered from your operations, the hospital will help you pick a rehab facility based on what your insurance allows. Underline allows! It is a process that factors in your diet and situation.I was sent to a facility that was more of a nursing home than a rehab facility. I was only 48 at the time and I lucked out in getting a roommate who was close to my age. The majority of people at the rehab were 65 and older, so of course I felt out of place. I will also tell you that being in this facility for six plus weeks really shows you what nursing home living is like. Sad. There are so many people there who get no visitors and have no one. It will inspire you to stay healthy after the time in there. I was fortunate to have friends and family visit me.
Before I tell about the rehab I received, I want to talk about the diet they put me on. When I was in the hospital you had had to order your meals by phone after looking at the menu. The dietitian on staff kept track of what you ate and how many carbs you could have per day. They showed me how to prepare meals for myself for every week. I follow this plan to this day. I’m grateful I went to a good teaching hospital.The rehab facility was different. Yes I was recognized as a diabetic, but the lack of a strict plan by them challenged me to keep up what I ate everyday. I requested menu changes, and even spoke to the cook. Why? The menu contained many unneeded carbs such as potatoes, cheese steaks, burgers and even desserts like cake. I had to substitute every meal with items that were healthier choices. Fresh fruits, salads, and foods without white bread.Choose a high protein diet to help with your wounds. I learned very quickly what was healthy and how to make my choices with the help of my doctors and friends who also had diabetes. I read articles online and talked with anyone willing to help.It wasn’t the best place for diabetics, but thinking about it now it helped me learn about proper foods for a diabetic. I did lose 70 lbs between the hospital and my rehab.My advice for anyone about to go to rehab is to discuss with your doctors and diabetic friends on what foods are good for you and what to avoid.I would ask to speak to someone at the facility you’re going to. Ask them about the menu, living conditions, age groups, and how the rehab works.
My first day of rehab was fairly basic. Some exercise bike riding and walking through the halls. Each day the challenges were tougher. They would simulate everyday life routines with opstacle courses,walking up and down stairs carrying weights, walking outside and increasing the difficulty and distances everyday. The rehab was first rate. You had rehab two to three days a week. I had a cast on my left foot to help my wound to heal faster, so that was also a challenge. They provided me with the exercises and drive to walk properly again. Since I had lost my right big toe I had to learn balance. I learned to stand on one foot and how to walk normally again.I live on the third floor of my apartment, so all these exercises helped me carry things up and down the stairs with balance and ease. A very practical approach to rehab.
They also offered occupational rehab to show you how to walk around your kitchen and cook.The simple things in life you take for granted are now a challenge. Be prepared to work hard. It is a physical and mental challenge. You have to want to get better.The alternatives are not pleasant. You can lose a foot, your eye sight and develop other medical complications. So for your own safety, pay attention and keep a positive outlook. Keep in touch with friends and family during your rehab. They’re a great ally to have.Next post I will discuss the mental stress and uncertainty of how the amputations, diet and your future with diabetes will affect your life.