Sunday, 4 October 2015

I Fell Out Of Bed

Yesterday I wrote about my inability to stop, my unwillingness to give in to ALS, notwithstanding the challenges this illness forces on me. This morning I learned another object lesson in the risks associated with pushing myself.

I've been losing the strength in my core muscles for some time now. I've mentioned this loss in its impact on my ability to "bear down" while sitting on the toilet. Another effect of this loss has been my increasing inability to maintain my balance or lift my core body up when leaning over without the aid of a rail or something to push on. This morning, this challenge became all the more clear.

I fell out of bed.

It wasn't really a fall out of bed so much as it was a slow tumble sideways as I reached for my suitcase from which I had hoped to retrieve a pair of jeans. I've been staying at my Mom and Ray's place for a few days. My suitcase has been sitting on a kind of wobbly little folding table stuck into the corner of the room. To access my clothing, I shift myself down the bed to the far end, then reach into the suitcase for whatever it is that I need. I've done this several times already, even in the middle of the night when I've been compelled to change underwear.

This time, however, I seemed to get the whole balance wrong. I slid down the bed, but not quite far enough. I leaned over to grab my jeans from the suitcase, a bit too far. My balance shifted sideways on the soft corner of the bed. I was unable to correct, so I went over, ever so slowly, like a giant cedar cut by the loggers saw, gaining momentum as I went.

A moment later I was on the floor, my head aching from the soft bang on the carpet. I was flat on my back in the space between the bed and the window, stuck, hurting, embarrassed, afraid, shaking, unable to move. It took me a few minutes to get myself together. I called Mom and Ray for help. Thank goodness I at least had my boxers on.

Of course neither Mom nor Ray can lift a 240 pound man. We needed the fire department. So we called 911 and asked for help. Then, in the ultimate of making use of idle time, Mom made a coffee for me and I took the time to regain my composure. I was barely done my coffee when the fire crew arrived. We made a plan.

Even in the rescue process, there was another reminder of my increasing weakness. We agreed that I would slide out from the narrow space between the bed and the wall, to where they fellows could more easily pick me up. As I was doing that slide, I lost my balance once again, falling over backwards into the legs of the firemen. At that point, they said stop. It was nothing for these strong, young men to lift me back onto the bed.

I'm shaken, reminded once again that ALS is working in ways unseen as it destroys my muscles. I am not as strong as I once was, no matter how strong I was once. My legs are gone and ALS is working its way up my core, slowly taking what it can at every moment. Regardless, once I stop shaking I'll be fine. Then it's back to the river. There are salmon wanting to be caught.

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