Home from the Hospital: The Road to Recovery Begins

Written By: The Planet D

It’s amazing how quickly life can turn around. A couple of weeks ago we were stuck in the Amazon thinking that it would be weeks before Dave could even sit up in a chair. Last week when we returned to Canada we had visions of him sitting in the hospital over Christmas.

Home From the Hospital

home from the hospital gift

And now, just 18 days after falling on a set of steel steps and breaking two vertebrae in his back, Dave is home from the hospital and ready to begin the healing process.

If this were 20 years ago, Dave would probably be sitting in traction for weeks.

His mom hurt her back in a car accident when Dave was a child and he remembers her hooked up to pulleys and machines to ease the strain on her back. She ended up suffering through pain most of her life.

Today’s medicine is a lot different. The minute Dave came to Woodstock, they told him they’d be having him up and walking in no time.

home from the hospital walker

“You don’t use it you lose it.”

When he first arrived at the Woodstock Hospital via air ambulance from Peru, they told him that once he had pain management and constipation under control, they’d have him up walking with physiotherapy ASAP.

home from the hospital walking

By the looks of him then, I couldn’t imagine him being up and about anytime soon, but after a couple horrible nights of pain, discomfort and nightmares from the heavy does of narcotics, he turned a corner. For two nights he vomited blood, had chills and sweats, severe cramps and constipation.

It was scary and terrible. He looked grey and I thought something more was wrong with him that his injured back. It turns out, he’s on some strong narcotic drugs and after a couple days of us worrying, the doctor came  in to ease Dave’s mind.

Finally, someone explained why Dave was feeling so awful.

hospital bed

Constipation, sweats, nightmares…they are all a part of being on narcotics. Dave is on some pretty heavy painkillers and he’s never had narcotics in his system before. His body is now going, What’s going on?

Feeling Better

So, once they realized he was having such bad side effects to the drugs, they gave him medication to counter it. Antinauseants, sleeping pills, stool softeners and laxatives were all prescribed to counter the effects of the narcotics. And it worked! Within two days, he was feeling so much better.

eating dinner hospital

Once the pain was managed, (without the side effects bothering him) he could start the healing process. And heal he did!

Dave has every intention of getting strong fast. His physiotherapist David gave him some core exercises to help build the muscles around his spine and during the first session he had Dave sit up and then stand!

hospital dave standing

Can you believe it?

Just a few days ago he was lying in agony, now he’s standing!

Once he took that first step, his entire outlook changed. He was able to eat for the first time in days, his sweats disappeared and the colour came back into his face. I suddenly had hope that he’d be ok.

stairs at hospital therapy

That’s not to say that there were not setbacks.

The following day, David took my Dave for a short walk to the front of his hospital bed and back. He then asked Dave if he’d like to sit in the chair for a bit. Dave replied, “Yes…Anything to get out of that damn bed.”

Unfortunately, when everyone left the room, “Dave said to me, I’m not feeling so well. Are my cheeks losing colour?

dave eating at hospital

Sure enough, Dave was about to pass out. It’s common to lose blood pressure after you’ve been laying in bed for a couple of weeks and all the excitement was a bit much on his system.

We pressed the call button and I ran about the halls frantically looking for someone to help.

Within minutes, the nurses arrived to give Dave oxygen, check his vitals and keep him awake. I was thanking my lucky stars that I was there for Dave and thanking the nurses for the job they did reviving him. It was scary, but it’s part of the process.

Dave continued to have dizziness and lightheadedness for several days after physiotherapy but it has slowly but surely been subsiding.

Coming Home

home from the hospital wheelchair

Dave did so well, they decided that he could go home! It all happened so fast. One morning David said “I think we can skip sending you downstairs for therapy and instead have you continue your recovery at home.”  He was discharged the next day.

If it weren’t for my sister in law, Heather, who is a home care nurse with 20 years experience in every department of nursing from Texas to Toronto, I think Dave would have been in hospital a couple more days just because of all the paperwork that needed to be done. But, she talked me through everything and made check list. I then hounded the staff to get everything done.

  • 1. Get them to send Dave a walker and raised toilet seat before heading home.
  • 2. Have the doctor write a month’s worth of prescriptions. (it would be weeks before he’d be able to drive to Toronto to see his own doctor for the next set of meds)
  • 3. Make sure the CCAC (community care access centre) comes in to talk to him about home.
  • 4. Confirm that he will have an occupational therapist come by the house to set everything up for him.
  • Make sure they have arranged for a physiotherapist to come to the house.

Check!

dave therapy at hospital

We scrambled around all morning and got everything done in a day.

The representative from CCAC said “I was just getting all the paperwork done to send you downstairs for physio next week. This is a great surprise to send you home!”  But she did warn us that she may not be able to do everything in a day.

It takes time for the medical company to ship a walker, it takes time to have the doctor write out prescriptions, and it takes time to contact the occupational therapist and physiotherapist. They may not be able to come to the house for several days.

We were determined to get him out of the hospital though and we had faith.

Sure enough, I got a call from the medical supply company telling me the equipment would be at the house in 3o minutes. All the proper organizations were contacted and when I called Dave at the hospital to tell him everything arrived, he said “Come and get me!”

dave going home

The nurses scrambled to have Dave’s package of prescriptions ready for him and faxed them over to the pharmacy. We popped in on our way home to pick them up, but were told to come back in a couple of hours. It was a lot of medication.

Prescriptions

I was expecting a three week supply of 10 prescriptions to be a small fortune, but did you know that if you have home care assistance in Canada, drugs are covered by insurance?

I went to the pharmacy and found out that 8 of our 10 prescriptions were completely free. It was an incredible feeling as I was expecting at least a $500 bill.

medicine from hospital

With Dave tucked comfortably at home, I could finally relax. For the first time in nearly three weeks I slept through the night.

I know Dave wasn’t quite as comfortable, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. My man was out of the hospital and I was content. I drifted off to sleep, thinking just how lucky we are.

It’s going to be a couple of months before he’s fully recovered, but he’s getting around with his walker and I’ve got him home.

Read More

Airlifted from the Amazon

The White House Called, but we can’t come out to Play

Dave’s Broken Back and a little Healing time

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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23 thoughts on “Home from the Hospital: The Road to Recovery Begins”

  1. Man oh man what a scary roller coaster this whole experience must be! So glad to hear you are doing better and back at home! Lots of positive thoughts and vibes to you both.

    Reply
    • Thanks Nikki. It was a roller coaster and a blur. We didn’t know the extent of Dave’s injuries and how it was going to effect our lives the entire time we were in Peru. Everyone there kept treating him like he had thrown his back out and we knew there was so much more to it. It was frustrating. Coming home was a huge boost. We understood the injuries, we understood that he would be ok, but we also understood that it was serious and that he had to take it easy for a while.

      Reply
  2. Exciting – to be taking steps (literally and figuratively). Sometimes the healing process can be slow and frustrating, but it is a process and there’s always onward and upward!! 🙂 thinking of you!

    Reply
    • Thanks Jessie. You are right, it is a slow process, but if it was going to happen, this is the right time of the year. It’s actually a good time to be home for the holidays and a good time to be able to give yourself permission to sit back and relax.

      Reply
  3. So glad Dave is back home and that you were able to have a good night’s sleep, Deb!
    All positive energy for Dave’s recovery and your strength! Can’t wait for your next adventure!

    Reply
  4. Such a horrible accident! But thanks so much for sharing and writing about it. Really highlights the necessity for good travel insurance. As professional travel writers, we’ve explored some remote destinations too, like Zambia and Antarctica. Because we were concerned about the fine print in most travel insurance policies, we got an extra emergency air evac plan which will fly us back to our home hospital (or hospital of our choice). It looks like you were really taken care of well, so your insurance/plan did its job – how fortunate you had this! Best wishes to Dave for a full recovery. And how nice he’s home now…

    Reply
  5. Welcome home and it’s great to see that you’re healing well. Once you’re all healed and road-ready again, where are you two setting off to?

    Reply
  6. What an ordeal! I’m so sorry you two have been through this, but it sounds like you’re getting the best care possible. Get well soon!

    Reply
  7. First time reader. I am so glad that Dave is on the mend. It must have been such a scary ordeal. I wish you a speedy recovery. Glad you had insurance to cover the meds. I worked as a pharmacist and know how costly they are.

    Reply
  8. Great to hear Dave’s making such a speedy recovery. I hope the coming weeks progress just as well and things will be back to normal in the New Year. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Wow! That was fast! What wonderful news that will make your holidays a lot brighter. We wish both of you all the best and that you continue to recover as quickly at home.

    Reply
  10. Much as I’m ecstatic to see that Dave is in the mend, it still breaks my heart to see him so vulnerable like that, knowing that the normal Dave is an active adventurous go-getting guy! Hope he fully recovers!

    Reply
  11. Welcome home Dave!! We had lovely experiences with Woodstock CCAC – the nurses were fabulous and really made J’s mums recovery a much nicer experience. You’ll only get stronger and stronger now – good luck!!

    Reply