Wheelathon

Apr. 2nd, 2015 06:44 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

So I was out running errands* and stuff from 9AM til 2PM today, chance that I would have managed that on crutches, pretty much zero.

One of the errands was a doctor's appointment and it was the first time my GP's seen me in the chair, in fact first time she's been aware I have it. I was expecting a reaction, I wasn't expecting it to be delight! (And this was old set-in-her-ways GP, not young go-getting GP). And she was adamant that I need to contact Wheelchair Services and talk to them about actually assessing me/getting a chair that meets my actual needs. Even more surprising, an utterly non-judgemental 'are you still walking?"

And just to throw the Wheelchair Services thing into stark relief, half an hour after that, I wheeled up a kerb-cut, the chair flexed because I didn't hit it straight on and it isn't rigid enough, and I managed to sublux a hip while theoretically sitting still. Fortunately it was 10 seconds of 'shit! fuck!' before it re-located itself. but now I'm home and I've been out for the daily waddle, I realise that my SI joint isn't right either. I'm not certain if that's from the same incident or not, but it's going into an email to Wheelchair Services as if it was.

* Doctors, blood test, chemists, buy birthday cards, break for coffee/breakfast, shopping, PC World, garden centre, and rest....

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 Physio appointment today, which means accessing their building via the automatic door in the basement, the outward opening one at the top of a ramp. This is great when the automatic opening is working, when the automatic opening isn't working, not so great. I did manage it though.

(Physio continues to be 'well, frozen shoulders are difficult', we spent most of it with my arm parked up against it's current hard limits trying to figure out a) where they are right now, b) what we can do about them, this isn't comfortable (literal tears in eyes stufff) and he brought up cortisone injections, which I guess is physio code for 'I'm not sure this is working', so keep up with the exercises, see him again on the 17th, and we''ll decide then what to say to my consultant when I see him on the 23rd.)

So, anyway, it was reasonably sunny when I got home and I thought I'd try some wheelies on the kerb at the edge of the drive. I can't reliably do it every time, or even most of the time, but I can eventually wheelie the front castors onto the full height kerb. The problem is I'm not physically strong enough to do anything about it once I'm there - though I have successfully pushed up less than full height kerbs - it must be the angle.

So having got the castors onto the kerb I then have to back off again, and I'm not certain what happened the last time, but it involved my legs flailing overhead and  me being ejected ass-over-teakettle out the back of the chair. I'm okay, the only thing bruised is my dignity (it turns out my dignity is just to the left of my sacro-iliac joint), and the chair is okay but for a few scratches. Having got that far over the simplest way out was to complete the backward roll to end up sitting legs-crossed on the drive, muttering to myself.

And the irony is that two of my neighbours were having a conversation 20m away and neither of them noticed. Next door neighbour actually said 'Hi, David' after I stood up, but I'm not sure he noticed the wheelchair even though he was looking directly at it!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Drove into town for Saturday lunch, parked the car and got the chair out of the boot, and all the while someone was hovering, clearly wanting to park behind me, in a space I was convinced wasn't big enough (which was why I'd pulled right forward to the edge of the bay - make certain no one parked in front and blocked me into a space too small to get out of). Got back to find he'd managed it, leaving me just slightly less than the width of the chair to access the boot....

Grr....

On the positive side of things, all four of the regulars made lunch* for the first time this year, and got to see me in the chair for the first time. It was just as well I'd brought the chair as initially it was three of us at a table for two, though they did eventually manage to find a table for the four of us.

'It looks very, um, robust' to quote the part-time wheelchair user. Yep, you could say that.

In other positive developments, pushing back from the restaurant to the car is still uphill, cobbles and historic flagged pavements all the way, but I made it without having to stop for breath for the first time.

* Pork and fennel meatballs, in an I forget what it actually was sauce, with Jasmine rice. Not bad, though I might have gone with a tomato-based sauce from preference. Surprisingly good value at £7, less than I'd normally pay for their burger and chips.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I've been using the chair in the house, I've been using the chair out and about, what I haven't been doing is using the chair to get from in the house to out there - I've been pushing it out to the car whenever I go out. So yesterday I decided to actually wheel out of the front door for the first time. I realised this was a mistake when the chair jammed at a 45 degree nose-down angle and the cushion, with me atop, slid neatly forward... I caught myself before departing company with the chair/landing ass first on the path, but this doesn't look to have any easy solutions, especially as the steps in the path caused similar issues. I could potentially wheelie off, but I'm not actually up to that as yet (my wheelies are getting longer, and I'm probably on the edge of being able to manouver while up there, but not just yet). If I end up using the chair all of the time (more on that in a moment), then I may need to consider ramping the path.

Having stood up and loaded the chair into the car the old-fashioned way, I headed off and ran a couple of errands, and in the middle of PC World (nope, not paying that much for a can of air), I realised that there was something different, that I was enjoying moving around. Mostly when I'm using crutches it isn't actively painful, but it isn't pleasant, moving around is a chore. In the chair that's not the case, even with shoulders that aren't really up to the job yet. If things are going to get better than this (especially when I eventually replace the monster with something lightweight), then I'm not certain there's much justification for using crutches instead. This doesn't mean giving up on standing, there's still plenty of circumstances around the house where that's the easiest, but the whole point of the chair is that I find walking about with crutches enough of a chore that there are things I don't do anymore, and the advantage the chair offers turns out to also to apply to the walking I still do.

And in other news, I just had an email from an old friend/colleague asking if I'm up for sailing again this summer. We haven't done it in several years given families and kids, but the four sailing holidays we've done have all been great fun, so, fingers crossed, Mediterranean here I come (the Argolic Gulf west of Athens is the current favourite for where). And of course that then raises questions about whether I take the chair or not - if it's still the monster, probably not, if I've sorted out something lightweight and dismantable by then much more likely (as it may have to share a cabin not much bigger than my bunk with me). OTGH, Greece, not the most wheelie friendly country ever....

I guess I'd better get that passport renewal sorted (one of the errands was new passport pics).
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I was out for lunch today (on my own again, unfortunately, friends keep being hit with bugs, or visiting relatives, or exiting relatives). It was really difficult finding a car parking space today so I ended up in the car park (that statement does actually make sense, the car park isn't quite as convenient as either of my two regular parking spots and it's normally completely full by that time on a Saturday, but I took a swing through on the offchance and found a gap the two cars in front of me had driven past).

So I swapped into the chair and tried to find a way out. I was practically next to the footpath out, could wheel right up to it, but getting to a kerb cut to get up onto it would be over a hundred metres, as I'd have to wheel round practically the whole car park. In fact the closest kerb-cut to get up onto the path may have been the same one I needed to go down to get out of the car park once I was on the path!. So I wheeled up to the kerb at the edge of the footpath, and at third attemp managed to wheelie the front castors up onto it! That's actually the first time I've managed the combination anywhere - I've been practising wheelies in the house, and the time between wheelieing up and crashing back down is getting gradually longer, but I haven't quite got the knack of holding it yet, or of doing anything useful once up there. Of course once I was up there I needed to get the back wheels up, but the chair was at sufficiently steep an angle I chickened out, backed off the kerb and stood to push it up. In retrospect I realise trying to push up would have made the angle shallower, so I should have given it a try, but I'm still figuring these things out.

Pushing was a pain, I'd clearly left it too long between practises (plus post-dud-shoulder-physio-exercise aching) and I struggled on the relatively shallow slope the high street has by the car park - one shout of 'Ere, mate, do you want a hand?' (from the person you'd probably have labelled least likely to offer), but it got easier, if not entirely comfortable, once it flattened out. Call it 400 metres there, 400 back. What I really should be doing is pushing the length of the high street (about 800m) at least several times a week to build up my strength, but Saturday is the only day it's pedestrianized, the rest of the week I'd be stuck on the footpath, with the cobbles.... Coming back though was a lot easier, particularly once I hit that slope.

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davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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