Sunday, 6 April 2014

Another Lesson Learned

It's a late blog entry today. I stayed up late last night, woke up late this morning and slumped in bed for an hour after that. I was up so late this morning that Jim had already begun working by the time I was out of bed. Work came at me, the final baseboard cuts, pulling some nails to allow for re-nailing after trimming, tidying up a bit, it was all on me before I could get to my laptop.

It was the late night last night that brought the most interesting bit of recent learning. This new floor behaves differently than carpet, not gripping as well, allowing for more slide in things like wheelchair wheels and socked feet. It means taking more care when transferring while on the laminate, ensuring all locks and safety grips are in place.

Last night, as I was getting into bed, I discovered that all the more. The process of getting me into my bed is not an insignificant effort. I wheel my chair up beside the bed, lift myself as vertical as possible using the wheelchair arm on my right and the M-rail on the bed to the left. Once up, I quickly rotate and slump back, seating myself on the bed. The depth of derriere on bed is limited, so I almost immediately lift my feet onto my wheelchair seat and wiggle backwards, ensuring my center of gravity is bedside, as opposed to hanging in space.

When engaging in this procedure last night, I did the rotation onto the bed, then noticed that I had left my cell phone on my wheelchair seat. I usually tuck it under my leg when rolling so it is always with me, near at hand. I wanted my cell phone on my dresser, where I plug it in to charge at nights. That way I can leave it turned on, just in case I need to reach out for help, or just in case someone might need to call me at night. So I leaned out slightly, grabbed the phone and put it on my dresser.

At that moment I realized that my center of gravity was not only somewhere over the edge of the bed, but was slipping, gravity doing what gravity does. I quickly leaned back and tried to use the wheelchair as a pressure point for forcing myself further on to the bed. That's when I discovered that my wheelchair will slide sideways on laminate, even with the wheels locked in place. Vertical pressure will hold the chair in place; horizontal pressure has the opposite effect.

The wheelchair started moving north while I wanted to go south. The gap widened. My center of gravity slid further out and down, now well off the support zone at the edge of the bed. As the gap continued to slowly widen, I continued to slowly settle, further down, and down, and down, until my rear met the floor. At that point, I stopped sliding, both outwards and downwards.

I called Jim to come help me get into my wheelchair. I can do this myself using a small stool or anything about a foot high as an intermediary step to gaining full chair elevation. He brought in my toolbox, a perfect height for the first step. Then I put myself in my chair and did the transfer to my bed. This time I focused on the transfer, not on the phone. This time I made it; lesson learned.

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