17 May 2020

05.17—Out for a Walk...

Out for a walk
This was a good week for Henry. His physical therapy was very aggressive and as you can see here he walked all the way to the camera which is about 100 yards. Earlier he walked down the stairs on his own. [I never post images of Henry during his rehab but this is far enough away to protect his privacy a bit.]

He's also working hard on balance and exercises to strengthen his right leg and arms. He is very determined. All of his therapists are very committed to his goal of being independent around the flat. Some of the upcoming exercises will be cooking and going out on field trips when the lockdown is lifted. His recreational therapist has even promised to get him to the beach as soon as he is able. Anyone who knows Henry knows the beach is what he lives for in the Summer! Rehab Without Walls has been fantastic for our morale and I am sure he will progress fast under their care.

His two nieces are out from Atlanta to help with chores around the flat while I take some time to myself (though I am with him everyday except for today). One of them arrived a week ago and will stay until next Saturday. I am very grateful for the help. Three weeks ago his sister came out for two weeks. This has been great for me. While I love taking care of Henry's needs, I am in need of some time to recharge. Having help from his family is great, even though I stress about Covid: we all practice hand washing and isolation. There have been several folks who have showed up unannounced and I ask that you refrain from that until June. Also I will ask that you wear a mask and sanitize your hands. I think the mask and hand washing will remain with us for many years to come. 

Stay safe and healthy.

Be fierce and thrive...!
—Ph/HOPBELL

08 May 2020

05.08—More Waiting...

Here I am waiting again last Tuesday (5 May) while Henry was at Cedars to have the IVC filter removed. We arrived at 6:30 in the morning and left at 2:30 in the afternoon. I read Hilary Mantel's book, Wolf Hall, while waiting this time, somehow, I broke my Kindle during this wait so I finished on my iPad.

Henry did well. He pointed out to me that everybody in the IR knew us from November and remarked on how well he looked; they all knew us by name. Henry and I are very grateful to the staff of doctors, nurses, and technicians at Cedars-Sinai for saving his life and making it possible for him to continue his life. They are rightly proud to see him in such great condition and able to do so much more than when they last saw him in December. 

Henry is back home and feels great. He's walking on the prosthetic daily for several hours in the morning and afternoon. He's also able to sit in his chair much longer than before. While his pain is still constant it is becoming manageable thanks to his constant use of his legs. On Monday he starts with a new rehabilitation team from Rehab Without Walls and they will work to get him independent and able to work again if he desires. What he desires most is to be independent and mobile and able to drive again. We are both happy our insurance company approved this intensive rehab. CIGNA has been great in quickly approving and paying providers particularly compared to AmeriBen which has been, in my opinion, negligent and uncooperative.

We are both well and keeping ourselves isolated from general public except for when I have to go out to market. We hope you all are also well and keeping safe.

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/HOPBELL

01 May 2020

05.01—6 Months!

Today marks 6 months since the accident. It was a good day. Henry had an appointment with his long time PA Kenny to approve the procedure to remove the IVC filter on Tuesday 5 May at Cedars. This filter was used to keep blood clots from traveling to his lungs from his legs and causing big problems. It was moving when he rolled his wheelchair through his doctor's office to hear and see the staff cheering him on: they all know him by name and he knows all of them by name. I have to admit it was an emotional scene and he was treated like a celebrity there...and he is, isn't he?

Yesterday he walked unaided down his stairs and to the landing at the entrance and back up. He was excited as he stood on his balcony looking out for the first time in weeks. He told me he felt "normal" again. Everyday is a new day and another day of progress for him. Henry told us he wants to walk alone by the end of summer and we all believe he will be able to meet that goal.

We both took the tests for Covid-19 today at the office and we are awaiting the results. We all feel well and strong and we are keeping separate from strangers and our many friends. But like all of you we long for our friends' presence and touch. Until then virtual kisses and hugs have to do.

Be fierce and thrive...!
—Ph/HOPBELL

25 April 2020

04.25—Day 176—Forbidden Knowledge

Not my image...

When I was in Paris in September and October last year I started writing a mémoire I called Forbidden Knowledge. It is the story of my reading of the full text of A Thousand and One Nights as translated by the explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton. I was eleven years old when I saw the 16 gilded volumes at my local library and I became enchanted. I was a precocious reader and was given access to the adult collection but unbeknownst to the librarians the edition on the shelves was published before Burton’s zealous Christian widow expurgated his work. This edition had all the naughty bits including an essay in the appendix that detailed homosexuality in Arab and Muslim  cultures (written in 1886); it blew my twelve year old mind when I read it. At the time—1960-1961—I kept the sexual content of the texts secret, but I detailed and copied all of it into my commonplace books. It led me to read all of Burton's adventures and then Havlock Ellis and his work on human sexuality and then in 1963 Kinsey. The writing of my essay was interrupted, of course, by Henry’s accident on 1 November when I began the work on a much different mémoire I call Beware The Thin Ice about our life since and now. This weblog makes up part of Beware The Thin Ice. I hope one day soon to return to the other essay. 

Meanwhile Henry is progressing. Like all of us he has good days and not-so-good days but his good days are beginning to outnumber...

Be fierce and thrive
—Ph/HOPBELL

15 April 2020

04.16—Day 167


How are you? We hope you and your family are well. 

We are doing as well as can be expected during a difficult isolation here in Los Angeles. Henry is walking a little on his own and even walked down the stair case at the flat. Our lives could be easier but everyone is experiencing difficult times, no?

We spend the day with Henry performing his exercise routine in the morning. Today our housekeeper is coming to help us get a little more organized. I spend the day cooking our meals and working on insurance matters that I'll share with you in a future post. I also write in my journal at the end of the day before reading a little and retiring for the evening early. Our spirits are generally good though we have emotional moments and so appreciate your calls and good will. 

As always, be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

11 April 2020

04.11—Henry is Home!!

On this beautiful day, Henry is home at last. Quinton and I are tending to him and he begins his at-home physical therapy on Monday. 

Of course we can't accept visitors yet but he is taking phone calls and texts from his friends.

This is the next phase of our journey and I am optimistic for his recovery even though we both know there is a long way to go. Your support, prayers, chants, and meditations are welcome!

We are sheltering in quarantine and wish everyone good health and peace during this difficult time. 

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

07 April 2020

04.06—The Journey is Not Yet Complete

Le Marais, Paris
It's been a little over five months Henry and I began this journey and on Thursday he comes home at long last. This doesn't mean the journey is over—I don't know if it ever will—but we are entering another phase of his rehabilitation: at home. He will still have healthcare professionals working with him to improve his mobility and strengthen his body. He was always very fit but over the months he's lost a lot of muscle mass. Too, there will be several surgeries yet to come on his left hip and knee but I hope these will heal fast and not hinder his full recovery.

Meanwhile his nephew and I are getting his home equipment set up and stockpiling provisions for us over the difficult quarantine period. Naturally there can be no visitors until it is safe, but your phone calls and video chats are always welcome. Thankfully all of us are well. I hope you are too.

Be fierce and thrive
—Ph/Hopbell

There is a link in my bio if you wish to contact me by e-mail.

05 April 2020

04.05—How Are You?

From my walk down Los Feliz


How are you? 

These three words usually mean nothing and are said instead of "Hello"; today these three words carry meaning: this simple sentence is a powerful act of kindness and human tenderness.

This sentence carries no subtext. 
It is direct.
It is not subtle. 
It no longer means, "Hello."

Saying this sentence to friends and strangers alike is an act of outreach. It is an example of our humanity. 

Now more than ever before we are called to act as a community of individuals who care for each other. Now what is most important is human tenderness...

How are you?

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

03 April 2020

04.03—Nearly Home...

This is the "home" stretch! Henry's release date is 9 April probably in the morning. I am very happy he will be back at home soon. There will be champagne and laughter.

Henry is progressing very well and is walking with the walking frame and getting stronger by the day. But this journey is not over; he will have many months of home and outpatient therapy to improve his mobility so his life can return to normalcy. I wish we could have a big party but alas we are all still in quarantine and need to isolate ourselves—the last thing we want is for him to get sick with this virus. I urge everyone to stay safe and don't go out in public without protection.

Stay safe and be fierce and thrive!!

—Ph/Hopbell

29 March 2020

03.29—Day 150

Outside Henry's room...
I visited Henry at CRI on Friday and found this outside his room. It means that he can manage getting in and out of his bed and wheelchair on his own as well as use the toilet and dress himself. This is progress toward being independent for Henry and I am so proud of his accomplishments! 

Quinton and I saw Henry walk fifty feet with a walking frame and walk up some stairs on his own. He is nearing the point when he can come home...soon. We are going to ask for an additional week but if the insurance doesn't approve everyone is fine with him coming home this week. I am so happy!! Soon he will begin to live in his own flat and take rehabilitation there as well as outpatient rehab once the sheltering is over. It's been 150 days since the accident that nearly took his life and changed it so much. It is astonishing that after just 5 months he is beginning to walk and take care of himself. If you saw what I saw on November 1 when I thought, and lots of people told me, it would take a year for him to even stand up, you would be amazed as well. His injuries were so great that to even think he would recover was hard to imagine. But he is recovering.

Your phone calls and FaceTime chats really help him through this very tough and lonely time. None of us can visit whenever we want and contact is limited. He is working hard on improving but he wants and needs human contact even if by phone. Thank you for reaching out to him during this crises and sheltering. 

Stay safe and stay away from groups of people.

Be fierce and thrive!
—Ph/Hopbell

23 March 2020

03.23—Eight Steps Up

Few of us consider climbing stairs an accomplishment; today Henry climbed eight without help from his therapist and that is a great accomplishment. I am beyond happy—and so is he. To get to his apartment there are 14 stairs that he will have to climb and I am excited he is so close to moving back home.

The Institute has requested another week of therapy from the insurance company and we hope they will approve as it will put Henry on a path to success. His proposed release date is now 2 April. He will celebrate his birthday at California Rehabilitation Institute and I hope they will let me be there with him.

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

22 March 2020

03.22—Staying Home

My work space today...
I don't go out for anything except for a walk in the morning or late afternoon. Of course Henry is also confined and very bored. Your calls help him. We FaceTime several times during the day and text back and forth often. I spend my day documenting his progress: writing about his and my journey since that first day in November 2019. This weblog is part of that document; the other part is the journal I've been keeping since that day. Eventually they will be published together as one narrative that examines not only our journey together but also the state of the nursing and hospital system that while healing can also be dehumanizing to both patient and family.

Last week at California Rehabilitation Institute Henry was able to walk down the hall on his prosthetic leg with the aid of a walker frame several times. He is also now able to sit up in bed on his own and move to an arm chair in his room without the aid of a nurse. I am very proud of his determination and strong resolve to get his life back. In a short time he will be able to go back to his home and begin the next phase of his journey: to reclaim his life. We are determined to live happily-ever-after. I am grateful for your loving and kind support of our life together. We have a ways to go yet but we are looking forward to being with our friends and family once again.

The COVID-19 virus is still running its way through the world and with each day we see many more deaths and infections. I urge you all to shelter in place and be tender to each other.

Stay fierce and thrive...

Ph/Hopbell

18 March 2020

03.18—NO VISITORS ALLOWED

California Rehabilitation Institute has stopped all visiting to all patients in response to the COVID-19 crises. Henry is able to take calls and I FaceTime him several times a day.

His new release date is set for 26 March or sometime thereafter depending on his condition and progress. He's been experiencing a lot of night pain and the doctor is working on his pain management. 

Henry is asking for reading material (magazines, light reading, etc) that can be delivered to the desk at California Rehabilitation Institute at 2070 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Keep it light.

I am staying in my flat in Los Feliz and am busy writing and reading. Please keep safe all our friends and family are in our thoughts every day.

Stay fierce and thrive...

—Ph/Hopbell

15 March 2020

03-15—VISITOR ALERT!

California Rehabilitation Institute has changed the policy for visitation during the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time only one visitor per day to any patient and only between the hours of 5PM and 8PM. Visitors will be screened and you can not touch Henry. If you want to visit him please reach out to me first as I will try to see him on a regular basis and as they are restricting visits to only ONE PER DAY you may not be able to see him. Naturally, we are sad about this but it is for the safety of the patients and staff.

If you would like to learn more about COVID-19 I highly recommend this article sent to me by Pirco (hat tip). It's simply the best explanation of the virus and where these viruses come from in general. Read it here and please keep yourselves safe.

Here is the link to the article: COVID-19

Remain fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

12 March 2020

03.12—Staying Home Today

Chartreuse Medicine
Henry and I decided I would stay at home today and visit by way of FaceTime later. Mostly this is to limit travel for me and possible exposure as well as to limit our Uber expenses. He's so much stronger now and while I don't like not being with him constantly I am comfortable that he will be alright alone. I miss him terribly when I am not with him. I'll see him tomorrow and travel with him to Cedars-Sinai for an appointment with his orthopedic surgeon, Dr Moon. We hope to talk with him about his strategy for Henry's left hip and knee.

We are both concerned about the Covid-19 virus and hope all our friends here in the US, Europe, and Asia keep safe and well. If you plan on visiting Henry please monitor your health before your visit and do not kiss him or hold him. His health is my primary concern and we don't want to expose him to anything that will make him sick.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/Hopbell

10 March 2020

03.10—Less Worry...

Yesterday Henry and I went to Cedars for a CT-Scan of his left hip to determine whether the infection he developed is superficial or deeper. Today the scan came back clean though the wounds are still not healed. The infection is superficial and he can take the antibiotics orally instead of the painful IV treatments he has had to endure. His stool tests came back with no sign of infection as well and he is no longer required to be in isolation. His mood is very much changed for the better and we both cried with relief.

Today he has his normal physical therapy sessions. On Friday we go back to Cedars for an appointment with his orthopedic surgeon to evaluate his left thigh and amputation site. 

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

08 March 2020

03.08—Home Alone...

My sitting room—Los Feliz
I've moved back to my own flat and I'll travel to California Rehab from here everyday to see Henry. I needed to bring some normalcy to my life even though we are a long way from normal at this point. Being around my stuff and sleeping in my own bed is a comfort. But I can't wait until Henry is home as well.

I'm about to leave and go over to Century City today to spend the day with him and I'll sleep overnight so I can travel to Cedars tomorrow with him. 

Be fierce and thrive, my Love...!

—Ph/Hopbell

06 March 2020

03.06—Brief Update

The plaza at California Rehabilitation Institute
Henry's stay at California Rehab may be extended for awhile. His doctor is concerned about the reoccurring infection in his left hip. On Monday morning we will go back to Cedars-Sinai for a CT-Scan of the area to figure out the nature of the infection. But otherwise he looks and feels good. Henry is sleeping better and he is getting stronger with more range of motion in his right leg. 

I am moving on Saturday from the beautiful villa on Carla Ridge back to my flat on Los Feliz. I decided to do this because I too want to get back to a normal routine so when Henry is home we can pick up easily and move forward. But I can't lie: I will miss this wonderful place and I am ever so grateful to Karen Roth for her generosity. I am feeling much better now and there doesn't appear to be any lasting issues from my surgery. 

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/Hopbell

03 March 2020

03.03—We Are Fierce and Thriving

Today is a writing day for me. I'm also catching up on the stressful filing of insurance forms...but mostly catching up on the book.

I saw Henry yesterday and he looks great. He was pretty sore from his workout but got through the afternoon workout like he always does. He said this morning that he slept well and without pain. 

He's using the prosthetic leg as part of the therapy and is beginning to stand and even use a step. His right leg still needs a lot of work to strengthen the muscles but he's improving with each day: he's gaining strength in his left arm and the bending of his left knee is greatly improved. I'm so proud of him.

My health is improving. I see the attending physician later this week and I am sure everything will be fine. I want to get back to seeing Henry on a daily basis as soon as I can but I tire easily. I am moving back to my own flat on Saturday and I am very grateful to Karen Roth, in whose home I have been staying off and on since November, for letting me use the villa as my camp ground. I don't know if Henry will be ready to return home on 12 March but when he is ready his home will be ready to receive him.

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

26 February 2020

02.26—Updates

Henry's time at California Rehabilitation Institute is very positive; everything from the atmosphere to the great attentive nursing staff and the strong presence of the therapy team all add to his recovery. A good sign of this is his proposed release date is 12 March if he is ready. This means home and we are very happy!!


My room at Cedars
On another note: I had an emergency appendectomy on Saturday and I am now recovering at my friend Karen's house in Beverly Hills. I am grateful as always for the many friends who supported me while I was in the hospital: Pirco and Jean; Jennifer and David; and Cliff and Vicki who were the faces I saw when I woke up. I was operated on by Dr. Singer who was one of the attending doctors who saved Henry. He remembered me and assured me he would take good care of me.

I haven't been able to see Henry for a few days and it's the worst part of this. We both depend on each other for everything. We talk daily and text often. I hope to be able to rally and see him tomorrow. 

More another day...

Be fierce and thrive!
—Philip

21 February 2020

02.21—At CRI

I spent the last three days in amazement at Henry's progress. He is able to transfer himself from and to his bed and to the commode. Yesterday he took a shower for the first time in four months. He is growing stronger quickly with each day. I noticed today how strong the left arm is becoming and his tolerance for pain is becoming stronger as well.

Yesterday he was fitted for a prosthetic leg and measured for a brace for his right foot; both will be ready for him within a week. The reason CRI is accelerating therapy is to make up for the lost two days this week before he was transferred and he will have physical therapy (and maybe occupational therapy) both days over the weekend. The OT focuses on the day to day tasks like showering and going to the toilet while the PT focuses on strength and includes things like the mechanics of movement and yoga. Everything is to prepare him for going home and being self sufficient. 

I am seeing so much progress that it is hard to describe in a few words. He's even gaining a little weight back and I can see that old spark in his eyes when he is delighted. I know he's tired of seeing me tear-up every time I see his progress but I am seeing the man I love fight back and gain his independence.

Be fierce and thrive...!

—Philip

19 February 2020

02.19—We've Moved!

Yesterday morning our case worker at Kindred informed us that a bed had opened at California Rehabilitation Institute and that we had to move ASAP. By 3:30 that afternoon we were at CRI in room 419 and getting settled in. This is major progress for Henry's rehabilitation and I am eager for him to start today.

CRI is perhaps the best institution of its kind in the US and I am happy we got to jump ahead of the waiting list. Henry will miss his PT and OT team at Kindred; they did a remarkable job getting him motivated to succeed and we are both grateful to them all. In a future post I'll name them all and give other shout outs to the kind folks who took care of Henry and put up with my badgering.

This is the next chapter...be fierce and thrive, Henry!!

—Philip

15 February 2020

02.15—Real Progress!

On Friday Henry and I traveled by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Orthopedic Center for an appointment with Dr. Moon, the original surgeon who took care of his broken body. After x-rays and examination of the blood work the doctor told us the hip infection was "superficial" and not a problem with his full recovery. To say we were relieved would be an understatement and we went back to Kindred Hospital very happy indeed!

It's too soon to know what the next steps will be but I imagine once the antibiotic protocol is complete and Henry can withstand the physical therapy we will be released to the acute rehab facility (we are hoping it will be California Rehab Institute in Century City). This is great news!!

It's the weekend and Henry is resting and taking visitors while I do the laundry and rest for the week to come. I am grateful for the many friends who expressed concern and kind, loving thoughts for Henry and me.

Be fierce and thrive...!

—Ph/H

13 February 2020

02.13—Update

On Friday we will transfer to Cedars-Sinai for a consultation with his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Moon, who will examine the infection in his left hip. We don't know how long we will be at Cedars but we are hoping for a positive outcome that would find that the infection is superficial and not connected to the metal in the leg and hip. We are anxious but hopeful.


We often spend the afternoons watching Netflix or Amazon Prime to relax and get our minds off everything that is happening. After 30 years I enjoy just sitting with him quietly, watching a movie and just being together.

Henry had a very hard workout on Wednesday. He was able to take six hop-steps forward using a walker. He didn't get a lot of sleep the night before as the hospital is very noisy, but he once again rose above his pain and exhaustion.

Today is Thursday and I expect PT will give him more challenges. We met with the sales rep for a prosthetic company and he will make a brace for Henry's right foot, while it is getting stronger he needs support to help him walk on with that leg.



Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip

12 February 2020

02.12—Positive Update

Very positive progress for Henry over the last two days. On Monday he was able to hold himself upright with the parallel bars and stand on his right leg. Tuesday he surprised me by sitting up on the edge of the bed and using a walker was able to lift himself without aid and stand for a period of time with some weight on his right leg but supporting himself with his arms. This is a major accomplishment for him and I was in tears as he stood there and could look be in the eyes. It took all his strength to do this six times standing for about a minute each time. There is considerable pain in his ankle and knee but it is tolerable for him for a short time. His physical therapy team encourages him and he responds to them easily even when he doesn't feel like doing anything.

Naturally, I am very happy with his success and I can't wait to see what happens each day. Thank you again for your constant empowering thoughts and prayers for him. When I look back on the last 103 days and the terror and pain we both experienced, I don't know how we would have gotten through it all without your loving kindness toward the two of us. 

Be fierce and thrive...
—Ph/H

PLEASE NOTE:
I am aware some of you are unable to post comments to this weblog and I apologize; I will try to fix that user interface. When you write your post don't forget to click on the "Publish" button on the lower left of the comment box. If you are reading this on a computer rather than your phone; click on the title of the post and go to the post page at the bottom of the post you will see the comment box. I know this is poor design...I am sorry! 

10 February 2020

02.10—A Good Weekend

It was a great weekend: Henry had a visitor, Brooke, from the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday and on Sunday early morning our good friend, Pirco, visited on his way back from a morning walk on the beach. Then in the afternoon, Eva brought him a meal of ham and cabbage and we got a cherished visit from Térence who came in from Paris on his way to a conference in Las Vegas to see Henry. Térence and Henry are like brothers and I could tell the visit lifted his spirit and made him so happy. For me it was a great comfort to see my friend of 20 years who brought us much love from our family in France. 

Visits from friends over the weekend fuels Henry for the week to come and give him the energy to work hard during the week. This coming week will be one for hard physical therapy and healing. On Friday we go back to Cedars-Sinai for a meeting with the orthopedic surgeon.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

08 February 2020

02.08—Update

Henry has an appointment with his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Moon, on 14 February at Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Moon will decide at that time what the course of action will be to clear the infection. He may be admitted to Cedars at that time or sent back to Kindred for treatment for the infection.

Henry continues physical and occupational therapy while we wait for the results.

Be fierce...and thrive

—Ph/H

06 February 2020

02.06 Latest News—Day 95

I've been absent from the weblog for a reason: Henry and I were waiting for more information to share with our friends and family. Over the last ten days Henry developed an infection on his left hip; on Sunday the site burst and drained a lot of infected debris; once drained, the wound-care doctor looked at it and decided to take cultures and start Henry on a regimen of antibiotics. 

This is potentially serious. Henry will be transported sometime soon back to Cedars for the orthopedic surgeon to look at his hip and perform a CT-scan to see if the infection is attached to the hardware in his hip and thigh. If it is then he will need major surgery to remove the hardware. There is a possibility that the infection is superficial and can be treated with antibiotics. If there is surgery it could add many weeks to his recovery. He is progressing with physical therapy rapidly and this would put a stop to that. Needless-to-say we are both anxious but hopeful that the infection is not related to the metal implants. Our attitude during this time is positive. Of course, your support and love carry both of us and we welcome your notes, videos, and comments along with your prayers, best thoughts, and chants.

He will remain at Kindred until we have a plan from the orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai.

Be fierce and thrive!

—Philip

31 January 2020

01.31—Day 90

It’s been 90 days since Henry had the accident at Sunset and Foothill. I can’t pass that intersection without a sense of dread and sadness. 

Henry is doing well with physical therapy and though there are bad days there are more good days. Visits from friends help a lot and afternoons after 1 and before 4:30 are a good time to visit. These visits lift his mood and he’s able to refocus the next day. We often pass the time after lunch watching Netflix binging on a series or enjoying a movie. 

Sometime in the next two weeks he will be moved to an acute rehab facility where he will prepare to return home. It’s going to be a long process but Henry will return to the full life he had and desires. 

Be fierce and thrive
—Ph/H

29 January 2020

01.29 Short Update—Day 88

Kindred Hospital dining roomThis week is going well. Henry’s PT includes standing for 70 seconds as well as arm exercises. The new stain on his leg causes new pain but he’s able to tolerate it and complete his PT. He also wheels through the halls of the hospital and we can sit outside in the sun. 

He was also fitted with a compression sock for his left leg to prepare it for the prosthetic lower leg. 

Most hospitals spend less than $6.50 per patient per day on raw food (i.e. before it is prepared). Here at Kindred I estimate that cost to be lower than $5.00 per day per patient. There may be some flux—higher and lower— but that seems to be the average cost. Much of the food is processed and I imagine frozen to reduce staff and time in the kitchen. This is not unusual across the American healthcare system. Some are much lower! 

Be fierce and thrive
—Philip

25 January 2020

01.25 Day 84

Yesterday we found out that our insurance will cover our preferred rehab center. Now Henry has to get in shape to withstand intensive physical therapy for more than three hours at a stretch. He spent a couple of hours in the wheelchair and wheeled about a tenth of a mile around the parking lot of the hospital; this strengthens his arms and builds endurance. In the afternoon his PT, Scott, had him up and standing several times for over a minute which is the longest time to date he’s been able to stand. His knee is painful but he needs fewer pain meds than a week ago to tolerate the strain. He still needs to be lifted and supported but he is standing! I wish I could show you video of his progress, he is amazing and so focused on getting well. Henry is an inspiration to me.

I am hopeful. We are beginning to see the distant end to his immediate suffering; I know it will take him many more long hours of therapy to understand and overcome his limitations.

This is a painful journey for both of us. I try not to anticipate the future anymore knowing that anything can happen and to try and be prepared is useless. The best I can do is to focus on the present and take care not to judge what has happened. To breathe and not judge.

Henry is fierce and thriving.

—Ph/H

22 January 2020

01.22 Afternoon Update

Today was a very good PT workout both in the bed with his legs and learning how to push and pull himself up and into the wheelchair. He powered through it and never complained. Scott and Michael then took him to the gym (he wheeled the chair: that’s the gym in the picture) and put him on the cycle to stretch and strengthen his right leg. This was very painful but once again he did it for about 20 minutes. After they stood him up and put him back into the chair. 

He sat in the chair during speech therapy and practiced various sounds and vowels for 30 minutes. He is sounding better and better but I think this is going to change his voice permanently. He always had a raspy voice but now it will have more rasp and vocal breaks. But he still sings to himself and me though and I love the sound of his voice... 

He is exhausted after these two hours and his legs are both on fire with muscle pain. We are determined to move to Acute Rehab in ten day or sooner so he knows there is a lot of work yet to do.

This is day 81
—Ph/H

20 January 2020

01.20 Day 79 Brief Update

I haven’t updated this site for a few days; over the weekend he was pretty out of sorts and not feeling his best. This passed today after a very productive but painful physical therapy session with Scott and Michael. Later, Minjy came in and gave him a little pep talk and explained that he would have to work hard and work through the pain.

No one can relate to the pain Henry is going through; all I know is whatever he is going through he has already gone through worse. That he survived the accident with all his injuries is amazing and a tribute to the doctors’ skill and his will to live.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

16 January 2020

01.16 Day 75

I carry two cameras with me all the time. My mobile phone, of course, and my trusty Ricoh GRII that I carry every where in my pocket. It’s a great camera and out of the three cameras I own this is my personal favorite; I’ve made over ten thousand photographs with this camera. While I don’t publish photographs of Henry here in the hospital while he’s recovering, I do make a lot of images here and at Cedars that I use for documenting his care. The photographs you see on this site are for illustration.

To you who have written me about a book: yes I am writing a book about our journey. I started that journal on the day of the accident; I started updating my weblog with his status on 2 November. These are two different points of view and compliment each other each adding context to the other. As you can imagine both the weblog and the book are far from complete.

Today the therapists showed up early and had him dress in pajama pants and a sweat shirt (from The Beverly Hills Hotel). Then they showed him how to slide himself into the wheelchair. He then wheeled himself into the gym again where his PT helped him stand using the parallel bars. He was able to lift himself but needed help standing. He was able to stand for about three minutes before having to sit again in the chair. Once he gathered himself again he was able to stand twice more with help from the PTs. After this exercise Henry sat for about 30 minutes in the wheelchair while we visited with the staff. I was so proud of him. 

He’s beginning to become more independent and do things for  himself again. This is very rewarding for both of us as I become more of an onlooker and his cheerleader. 

Be fierce and thrive!

—Philip HOPBELL

15 January 2020

01.15 Henry’s Progress—Day 74

The last two days were very physical for Henry. Yesterday was a strenuous session sitting up and learning to use a dressing stick. He’s having to stretch and use his left arm and shoulder which were smashed in the accident and are now in the painful process of healing. At the end of the 30 minutes he was exhausted and somewhat frustrated.

Today after stretching out his leg muscles and shoulder he was able to roll over to the right and left side without help. Eventually he was able to sit up on the bed and dangle his legs over the edge. The therapist then transferred him to the wheelchair and allowed Henry to wheel himself down the hall and out the front door so he could sit in the sun and coolish air. While this seems a simple thing it is in fact a major accomplishment for someone who has been inside and flat on his back for 74 days and nights. After getting outside the PT stretched his leg again and then let him sit quietly outside where he and I spent some time talking and enjoying our time.

It is impossible to describe or even to imagine the pain, both physical and emotional, he is going through each hour everyday; the drugs don’t completely abate the sensation but he rarely displays despair. I am so proud of him.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Ph/H

13 January 2020

01.13 Day 72

Today PT started again and Scott, his therapist, sat Henry up on the edge of the bed again and put some weight on his right foot. Henry handled the exercise very well and sat up by himself for about 15 minutes. He had to sit himself up and he did it without asking for help, but it was a struggle. I’m so very proud of this man and his strong will.

After laying down again Scott worked on stretching his right leg muscles and ankle. After about 30 minutes he was exhausted. Tomorrow he will get in the wheelchair again and go to the gym. 

He also had speech therapy. The therapist told him to take time off talking as the strain was too much for now. He talked all weekend and needed a break.

This is exhausting for both of us, I won’t lie to you. I leave at the end of the day too tired for words and yet I have to work on writing and answering emails for another two or four hours depending on how much time I get during the day.

Be fierce and thrive...

—Philip