Through the years, hospitalization has changed dramatically. Back “then” you remained hospitalized until you were not only stabilized, but were able to make it on your own. That's no longer the case. Today, you're discharged from the hospital as soon as possible and sent to a Physical Rehabilitation Center/Nursing Home. The words Nursing Home are added at the end because almost every one engages in nursing care for the aged.

They're also referred to as “skilled nursing facilities.” Professionally, that is. Although that, dear readers, is highly debatable. If you think today's hospital care is so-so, it's hard to imagine where you'd rate physical rehabilitation centers. Hospitals have never been known for their food. Rehab centers, however, just might make you wish for it. If anyone ever had to define institutionalized grub they'd need to look no farther in the dictionary than to a physical rehab center.

It takes three days of physical therapy for every day a patient's in bed. Nevertheless, after 59 days of not walking or even standing, and with a progressive neurological disease that causes muscle atrophy, all of which seemed to create an eternity of medical incarceration, I was one happy dude when told I'd be released to a rehab center. That is until they served me my first meal.

I'm not joking when I tell you I've received food I was not able to identify. The servers had no idea what it was. Neither did the medical staff. And it came as no surprise that few, if any, would even touch it. One morning part of my breakfast was sausage patties. Fried so hard, they were literally petrified. In addition, they, and the eggs, were ice cold and the toast tasted as if had been made from week old stale bread. The birds wouldn't even eat it. Without cracking their beaks, they couldn't! I believe I could've used the sausage as a hammer to build them a house.

What baffles me is for years we were taught that Mom's home cooking is best for us and how her chicken soup is nearly a cure-all. Then they pour this gruel in you and expect you to get well. Am I missing something here?

Had it not been for my wife “smuggling” home made soups and other goodies in, I might not have made it to write this column. Once again she became my lifesaver.

The leg that was infected with the sepsis virus was progressing nicely and continued to do so as long as the treatments were applied in a timely manner. That meant they had to be changed every eight hours. Mid-way through the second week at the rehab center those “skilled nurses” dropped the ball and soon were changing the treatments only twice a day, and then, before long, it decreased to once. In time I noticed the leg turning black again and brought this to the attention of the nursing administration, but to no avail. When my temperature started to rise, my wife called the ambulance and back to Akron City's Summa Hospital again. It would be two more weeks before I could be released to another “skilled nursing facility.”

This time, however, I shopped. With the help of Summa I was able to find a different rehab center in another county. This was about ten miles from our home in the Portage Lakes and from all its literature I read, this one sounded promising.

The first few days went fine until I noticed the food seemed to be dropping in quality. When they noticed food on my plate was left untouched, they sent the head of the food dept to my room. After a small friendly chat about how I prefer my eggs hot and toast on fresh bread, a meeting of the minds went well and once again I looked forward to the breakfast meal.

Slowly, however, I started going downhill. The hospital was calling – again. Respiratory failure, fever and a viral pneumonia were the culprits this time. That was on or about the 18th of December and, for the third time in the past seven years, that's where I spent my Christmas.

Next week: Feeling like a yo-yo

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