Monday, 21 January 2013


This morning I awoke early. My knee was hurting and couldn't get back to sleep. Plus I had to pee. Getting out of bed is difficult these days, even more now that I have trouble standing up. It takes a while and first thing in the day it's not an easy task. I managed to get into the bathroom and, after the requisite ablutions, worked my way into the shower.

Sitting while taking a shower is another struggle I now face; it's difficult enough that some days I simply skip it altogether. I have to start sitting on my toilet seat, then I slide over to the edge of the tub, and after lifting my legs in I slide over onto the shower seat. On the road this exercise can be made all the more difficult with toilet seats a long way from the tub. Then I have to work out some other support system to get myself up and down from the chair.

My morning shower is not as relaxing as I would like it; I am going to shift to showering in the evenings before bed. At home I try to manipulate the hand held shower unit while soaping down my body which leaves parts of me half done and parts overly wet, with soap slapped on as best can be. Scrubbing down while seated is not as easy as you would think.

Showering on the road, with a fixed shower head can be even more challenging as I try to wet the parts of me blocked from the water by my own body. I am thankful for the drain holes in the chair, and even more grateful that my brother was kind enough to buy a shower chair just for this visit. Without the chair there would be no shower option at all!

Shampooing is even more exciting, never knowing for sure if it is all out of my hair, what hair I have left. Then getting out, the reverse of getting in, is made all the more interesting by trying to position my towel on the toilet seat so I can sit on it and dry as much of me as I can reach while seated. I push myself up using the edge of the chair and tub as a launch point. I can see the time coming when that won't do it anymore and I will need to use my "transfer chair" to get from the shower to my wheelchair. It's another change.

Dressing, once a simple thing, takes longer now, starting with the work of getting my clothes out of my dresser, or in this case my suitcase. You would think that would be easy. Not so. At home, by the time I reach the dresser I have walked all the way from the bathroom. I have to sit down. The drawers are about 6 inches farther than I can reach, so if I want clean underwear I have to stand again. So I quickly get up and grab a pair, then sit for a moment before going to get pants and a shirt, another quick up and down process.

On the road the walk from the shower to the bed is about the same as it is at home. Instead of reaching for the dresser, I reach for the suitcase. Everything is in a jumble, so I have to sort and shift my clothing to get at what I want. Then comes shirts in the closet. I dress myself while seated. It just works better that way.

When it comes to getting dressed, putting on underwear is the first and biggest challenge. I can't stand up to do it, nor can I manipulate my legs into them. Instead I bend down and drag them over one foot and shake them to get them past my toes. It takes a while to get my weakest leg into them. The stronger leg, with slightly more control, is a bit easier.

Since the muscles in my upper legs are now completely dead, I lift my legs up across one another, one at a time, and put on my socks. This can be tough since my toes lack the strength to straighten the socks. Fortunately time and what I pass off as walking will generally resolve this situation.

Pants are not so much difficulty. I lift my feet into them and, while seated, pull them up as much as I can. Then I work myself into a standing position and finish the job. Shirts are the easiest. My upper body works well, so I just put on a shirt the same way I always have, sloppily.

Now I am dressed and ready to face the day. The only remaining effort of my morning habilitation is getting my shoes on. For my right foot, I can still wiggle my toes enough to slide my shoe on. For my left foot it usually takes both hands pushing on my ankle to force my foot into my shoe.

Once this effort is complete, I get up and go, just like the rest of you.


  1. O my dear I didn't realize your upper legs have detiorated so much. I am so sorry to hear that. Is it going faster or are you still steady as she goes. I so miss not being of any help to you. Please let me know if there is anything at all I can do. Not too much I imagine. I'll see you in February and we can discuss it. Love you so much

  2. Amazing Richard, to think of you doing all that before facing the challenges in the rest of the day. You are indomitable.


  3. I don't know about indomitable, but persistent works.