I’ve been banging on for some time, now, about becoming a full-time wheelie, but never got round to it. There are several reasons for that. For a start it’s not wildly convenient – there are things which it will be hard or even impossible for me to do on wheels. Simple things, like getting a glass of water, for example, for which, using my manual chair, I’d need three hands, an accessible kitchen, and a tap I could actually reach (and with my meds I need a lot of water in the course of a day). In fact I can’t do anything that involves the kitchen – I can’t even get through the doorway.
The rest of the flat is accessible though, even if not conveniently.
So what prompted this change of heart?
The simple answer is pain. Since the Hydrosorb dressing completely trashed my ulcer at the weekend, I’ve been in unadulterated agony, far worse, even, than anything I experienced last year – and I thought that was impossible. I came closer to pulling the plug than I ever have before. The pain was so extreme that even the fear that had held me back in the past had gone. How come I’m still here, then? I really don’t know.
But I am and, tucked into my custom built manual chair (a Quickie Life).
It fits me perfectly, I’m so well supported that I have – even with this decaying and grotesque ulcer – very little pain.
Whereas, before, on a scale of 1 to 10 I was so far off the scale it was a different universe of excruciation, as I type I’m merely very uncomfortable. That might well change for the worse but, for now, I’ll take what I can get.
I need to make some changes. The bathroom door needs to be re-hung – it’s hinged on the wrong side – and I need to clear more crap out of the bedroom to make room. It would be good if I were able to use my powerchair, too. At the moment, as I said, I’m using my manual, but there will be times when I can’t (I’ve also just reverted to my swivel chair – and the pain has come rampaging back).
That’s because I need to make more changes before it’s permanent. Like moving the TV back about a foot, so I don’t reverse expensively into it, and I’m seriously considering getting rid of the couch and replacing it with a recliner, which will give me more space and more comfort (and right now, as I’ve been out only once in four months, and that’s showing no signs of changing, I have the money to do that).
I’m now in my powerchair (a midwheel drive – perfect for indoors, fast enough outdoors – Shoprider Lugano).
Not quite as comfy, but acceptable in pain terms. It’s also a tad** faster and requires zero effort – perfect for bad days.
**But in a space this small speed counts for nothing!
My knees are a pretty snug fit under the keyboard shelf. Not uncomfortable, but liable to leave a mark on my trousers after a while. I can live with that. It’s also narrower than my manual chair (if you have cambered wheels on a manual, every degree of camber adds about an inch to the width at ground level, and I have 4 degrees).
That means I can get into the kitchen, at least as far as the sink and fridge, but then I have to stand. That, too, I can live with. For now, anyway, but it might change.
The bugbear of my life, currently, is the incessant peeing caused by my diuretic and, for that, I need no longer face the dreaded 6-yard walk – often beyond me – to the bathroom, which leaves me with the option of peeing in the bucket from my bedroom commode (bought because I was told I’d need one, and the one that was issued to me was about the right size for a child!). So I bought my own. As it turned out I didn’t need it, it’s just more clutter. Now I can just trundle off for a pee whenever I feel the need. Luxury!
So, I need to create more room in the living room and the bedroom. The kitchen is a lost cause, and the bathroom needs a space tweak too. Then I’m good to go.
Life as a full-time wheelie – and mostly a power-wheelie – is finally going to happen.
Watch this space…
An afterthought: I’ve done something I never thought I’d do, never mind admit to – I’ve ordered some bibs! One red, one blue. I do rather resent the “bibs for the elderly” description – they’re bibs for those who need them! I need them for a very simple reason. This flat is too small for a dining table, so I eat on a side table. And I’m losing the use of my right hand which affects fine control, and this is a particular problem in the evening (between 17.00 and 20.00 muscle spasms tie my hand in knots – I’m sure, one day, the bones will break under the pressure). As I eat a lot of soups and stews, this can get messy at times. Hence the bibs. The fact that I actually am elderly is entirely irrelevant – if I were 30 years younger I’d still have bought them. I’ll wear one, and one will cover the arm of the couch, which also suffers on occasion.
Why have a told you that? Simple – to encourage you to get what you need, regardless of the witless descriptions attached to them which might otherwise put you off. It’s just thoughtless ageism from people we might reasonably expect to know better. Ignore it.