Monday, 26 October 2015

Getting Weaker

Lincoln City, Oregon. Surftides Inn. Room 322. It is almost exactly six month since I was here last; only a difference of a few days. I am in the same room, looking out at the same surf. The weather is nearly identical with the weather of that day six months ago. Were it not for the date on the calendar, one could not tell that this was the fall and that was the spring, until you turn your gaze from the ocean to the shore, looking at the trees and flowers instead of listening to the ever present whir of wave hitting beach.

There are a couple of things that are different on this trip. First, and foremost, Katherine is with me this time. It makes a great deal of difference to have her along for this trip. That's because of the second major difference between then and now; me.

It's hard to notice the changes in me if you just look at my body. My weight is about the same. My frame is just what it has always been. People constantly tell me how good I look. If only my body reflected my loss in strength and the ongoing battle with chronic fatigue. I may look the same, but I am not the same.

The most noticeable things are the transfers and lifts required in my daily life. When I came here on my own back on May 13th, I was able to transfer myself from my wheelchair to this high bed without assistance, without even using the transfer board. Now, not only do I need the transfer board, but the transfer itself is a near run thing. I need a bit of help at the end, making the final shift from the board to the bed, and removing the board once I am up there. I could still do it on my own, but barely. At least the transfer off the bed is a downhill event; that one I can do without assistance.

Then there is the shower. Last time I was here, I used my shower bench. I positioned it in the middle of the roll in shower so I could reach the controls. It's one of those pieces of brilliant anti-handicapped design where shower controls are at one end of the five foot long shower stall, with the built in bench at the other end. You can't reach the controls when seated on the bench.

This time, instead of using the shower bench, I sat on the built in bench and Katherine operated the controls. Could I still have used the bench? Sure. Could I still have done this myself? I am not so sure. Controlling my wheelchair on a slippery floor has become much more problematic, much more difficult.

Six months have gone by. I am getting weaker. I didn't need a visit to Surftides to tell me that. It's just made obvious something that was already clear to me, but may not be clear to those around me.

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