Thursday, 13 November 2014

Couch Potato

Yesterday was a very quiet day. I got out of bed at noon. Home care came for my exercises at 1:00 PM and left at 2:00 PM. I wrote and surfed on the internet until about 4:00. Then I did something unusual; I transferred from my wheelchair to my nice leather couch, the couch I sit on so rarely but would like to sit on a lot more. I took a nap until about 8:00 PM, then watched TV until about midnight.

Then I began the process of getting off the couch, back into my wheelchair. Normal people don't think much about getting off the couch, unless they are extreme couch potatoes. Normal people just stand up. I, on the other hand, have a whole process I have to go through, rather like a mini-project. I need to consider the method of approach, the tools needed, the risks involved and what to do if something goes wrong.

For example, I need to have a plan for recovery should I slip in the process, winding up in a lump on the floor. It happens, not just to me but to others in wheelchairs too. One of my PALS once told me the story of falling while transferring, then laying on the floor all night until help came. Since I live alone, I need a better plan; I have one. If I slip to the floor, the first thing I will do is unlock the wheels on my wheelchair so I can push it in front of me. Once positioned, I will slide along the floor, pushing my wheelchair until I get to the sling lift in my bedroom. Once there, I will reach up and turn on the lift, lower it down, strap myself in including using the leg straps since I will be both exhausted from the effort thus far and since the lift will be a high one. Then, once levitated, I will pull myself over to where I have previously positioned and locked my wheelchair, and finally lower myself in. You see, I have a plan for that risk. It's not simple, but it's a plan.

But what about if I fall and hurt myself, perhaps twisting a knee as I have done in the past? In that case I will need my cell phone to call 9-1-1. The front door of my apartment is unlocked, so they won't have to break it open. I keep it that way while I am awake just in case something like this should happen to me. In this situation, I make sure my cell phone is near at hand, close enough that I can grab it even from an injury position on the floor but in a place where I won't knock it to the floor during the gyrations of transfer. That risk is managed; not well, but managed.

Then there are the tools I need. I try to use my transfer board for some of these riskier transfers. Last night, however, I had left it in the bedroom from another transfer. So this time it was a careful placement of my wheelchair, removal of the ottoman from the work space, and a lifting transfer from the couch to the edge of the chair. Then I wrestled myself upwards enough so I could grab the wheels and finish lifting myself into place, pushing my body upwards into a sitting position.

I made the transfer successfully. It's a lot of effort just to get off the couch.

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