Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rolling Through Life

I said it last night to my wife who was pottering around getting her clothes ready for her work week.  “I wish I could get up and walk.”  It’s a thought I haven’t uttered out loud since I lost the use of my legs on August 31st. My wife had her own doctor’s appointment in Miami then she went off home for the week to work and look after Rusty while I stay here and exercise my heart out. I took a few tentative steps while also putting my left foot more firmly on the ground than I should have done: 

As I become more physically active the restraints put on me by my wheelchair become ever more apparent. My chair is too wide for me and this creates numerous difficulties.  The back and the seat aren’t taut and the sagging produces a ghastly slump which becomes tailbone painful after a few hours. The wheels are so wide I have difficulty reaching the rings that I am supposed to use to propel myself. Often I resort to grasping the tire which is unsanitary and gets me yelled at. Even then the chair at 26 inches wide is a tank and an utterly unresponsive lump to move.

I send helpers out to seek out a 22 inch chair left perhaps by a departing patient to replace my monster. No luck so far. No response to my request from my case worker. I soldier on.  At least I am past the Hoyer Lift and now risk my neck by sliding from bed to chair and back: 

As long as you keep the plank under your thigh and don’t allow yourself to slide forward it’s quite simple. Strong arms help and an ability to wiggle. Meanwhile daily life continues. 

At home I use a safety razor and I stand nonchalantly before the mirror. Here it’s a bit different but I got the job done. Bit like the struggle to brush your teeth without dribbling toothpaste on yourself. It’s a whole different way to live.

8 comments:

Celia Bowman said...

My mom used a wheelchair provided by medicare. It also hurt her tailbone. Her provider suggested a special covered wipe off cushion that I got that was a Temperpedic product. It helped prevent the hammock affect of the chair. It must have been 2to 3" thick. She said it helped some.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there are several different types of WC cushions you can get, but hopefully you won’t be using the chair long enough to need to buy one. :)

Anonymous said...

I’m learning so much about physical therapy and I thank you for the updates. Not sure that I could be as gracious and determined as you have been. I admire your fortitude. Hope that I never have to face anything as physically challenging. I’m a bit older than you, not sure that I’d have the strength. Best wishes.

Unknown said...

You won't be rollin'around much longer, Conchscooter, at the rate you're progressing. Maybe you can step up to one of those electric scooters that the seniors (ouch! sorry) use to get around. Pretend it's training for the new Burgman in your future. ;) KWBound

MyamuhNative said...

Michael, please ask your therapists if they think a ComfiLife seat cushion would work for you.
I bought one for myself as I have serious back issues.when I received it I said to myself, well this is what I've seen in wheelchairs.It actually works pretty well but I just use it on a regular chair.
I can get one to you posthaste if you think it may help!

Anonymous said...

Also, ask OT to see if your chair can be adjusted. My mother was in a Drive which, it turned out, had all sorts of straps and things under the seat and back cushions. My mother kept slipping down and we kept stuffing an assortment of pillows and cushions around her to keep her upright. The OT came in one day and said, "No, wait, this is all fixable," and basically took the chair apart and tightened and adjusted everything, and the result was much better. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

hmm, i stand in front of the sink to brush my teeth and STILL dribble toothpaste on myself. :-)

Conchscooter said...

Thanks all. I already have one of the cushions. I’ll work on the rest. They’ve put in an order for a 22incher for me. Fingers crossed.