Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Swinging In The Sling

I am up and out of bed. It only took me an hour. It's not that Home Care didn't come. Kathy was here, earlier. I just didn't want to get out of bed. So instead she put socks and underwear on me, positioned the sling so I could get out of bed, and let me sleep. I slept another couple of hours, then started the labourious process of getting myself up.

First comes the sling. This is getting increasingly difficult for me, especially when it comes to the part of the sling which goes between my legs. I can barely reach down to get the straps now that it takes so much for me to sit up. Instead I now use the grabby stick to grab at the unseen, occasionally surprising myself with where the grabby part of that stick ends up. Usually, after a couple of random grabs, I get a strap. Fortunately the straps are typically close together, so once I have one, I have the other.

Now I am ready to attach the sling to the lift. Remember that as I do all of this, I remain flat on my back, at best flopping over from sit to side by grabbing the M-rails I now have on both sides of my bed. There is no sitting up, although I can slant a little upwards on my elbow with some extreme effort. Nonetheless, the lift itself comes right down onto my belly, so attaching the straps is fairly simple, except that I have to hold my now weakened arms up in the air to do the attachment. Yet, I do it.

Now that I am in the sling, the lift process is fairly easy. I push a button. I go up. I push a different button. I go down. The difficult part is the sideways motion needed to move myself from bed to chair. On a regular basis the lift in the sling will leave me in a place where my arms have nothing to grab, no way to propel myself sideways. The solution to this is to lower myself to where my arms can touch my bed, to where I can grab a sheet to pull myself. The only issue is that this lower position often involves my rear in light contact with the bed as well, creating drag as I drag myself into place.

Having done all of the above, I find myself in mid-air next to my bed. Now I begin groping for the appropriate chair, hoping that it's in a position for an easy grab. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. This morning, for example, my wheelchair had rolled just out of my reach. In order to get it, I had to lower myself to the floor, fall over towards the chair, pull it to a point where I had a hand hold, then lift myself up with the sling again to where I could get into the chair.

In some ways its kind of fun, flying back and forth across my room in the sling, held aloft by the lift. I feel like Baron Harkonnen of Dune, with his insane ceiling traversing sling designed to hold his massive bulk, able to pull heart plugs out of those who had fallen out of favour. You see, even though this process can be tedious and difficult, I can still have fun in my mind.

Of course, that's the deal with ALS, isn't it? My mind is sharp, my imagination fully functioning, my awareness of both irony and joy complete. The kids see my sling and lift as a fun ride. Once I am in it, I try to do that too. Then, alas, I must return once again to my reality, into my wheelchair, slung no more. Or maybe not. Maybe one day I should do what the kids do, and sit in my sling, swinging away, for an hour, maybe two, forgetting that my reality awaits on wheels below. Maybe, just maybe.

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