Well, the obsessive part of my personality is having a FIT right now! Why, you ask? Well, it all started with the need to get from room to room…
For the last few years, my body has decided it doesn’t always want to cooperate. It doesn’t care if I need to sit up, stand up, or walk. Sometimes it just refuses to comply. On good days, I walk with a cane, which helps me maintain balance. Other days I can’t take the 15 steps from my bed to bathroom with a walker.
I mean, REALLY?? Who thought it’d be a good idea for a person without a colon to struggle to stand and walk to the bathroom?? Sick joke if you ask me!
Oh, and did I mention that I’m a huge fall risk? I tend to fall a lot; much more often than even my family realizes. It takes me a while, but most times I figure out a way to get up before anyone knows, but there have been times when Sam will come home and find me on the floor. It’s not ideal, but I have always figured it was just part of the disease.
Sam has been my gracious ‘assistant’ when I get stuck for a few years now. She’s helped me into the bathroom more than once, cooked when I couldn’t get into the kitchen, and generally taken care of me during some pretty challenging flares. While I appreciate her loving help, I really do need more independence. That is why I started the process to get a power chair to use on those bad days.
Fast forward to today. While we’re still working on getting approval from the insurance company, the medical supply company delivered a loaner for me to use! I still don’t have a lift for the car (because, let’s face it – who has $3,700 sitting around with all of these pesky bills to pay), so it’s for use in the home and around the neighborhood for now.
Problem solved, right?
Hmm, not quite yet. Once the tech left, I thought I’d try to get used to the chair. I’m relatively functional today – at least for me. It’s better than trying it out when my whole body is screaming. So I sat in the chair and started zipping around the living room and kitchen.
Going forward isn’t too difficult!
Turning is surprisingly easy!
Going backwards….well…let’s just say it’s a lot like backing up while towing a trailer – something I’ve never done well!
Why in the world do you have to push left to go right when backing up? I know, it’s been explained to me before, but my muscle memory does NOT want to believe that left means right and right means left!
I kept the speed on low, and soldiered on. That’s when the real tragedy began.
My bladder started screaming, so I figured it was time to see if this awesome chair could get me into and out of my bathroom. The first obstacle was getting through my bedroom door. I stopped in front of the door, turned the handle, and pushed it open. So far, so good! I started to power forward, and realized I was at an angle. I needed to back up and straighten up so I didn’t hit the door frame. I started getting cocky! No problem!
Uh oh! Problem! Problem!
Even on the slowest setting, I somehow managed to spin the chair sharply to the left. The foot plate slammed into the door frame. UG! Well, at least it didn’t leave a mark. I tapped the joystick in the opposite direction to try once again to straighten out, and things seemed to be going well. I moved the joystick forward, proud of my accomplishment, when…
CRAP! The armrest screeched loudly as it was dragged across the door.
My beautiful white door now has a big black streak. The black armrest has my lovely white paint on it’s side. This is when my obsessiveness kicked in.
Crap! I need to fix that before our BBQ next month! It’ll look wrong! Do I have any paint? How can I find matching paint? Crap!
I sat there for a few minutes, pretty angry with myself. Then my bladder reminded me that I needed to keep moving. Not ready to give up my quest (and because my cane was in the other room), I continued my mobile mission. I went around the bed successfully, then turned toward the vanity. I cleared that doorway, and the doorway to the bathroom itself seamlessly.
On the way out, I managed to back out and turn around with no collateral damage. I was proud of myself! Maybe that was my one and only accident….
I was so busy congratulating myself, that I didn’t see the end table in front of me. The lamp, medications, and water bottle all flew back and smashed into the wall. At that point, I was just happy I made it all the way back to the living room without tearing the house down!
LESSON LEARNED: It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s even okay if the paint is chipped. Sometimes learning takes time.
WHAT GOOD CAME OF THIS: Maybe it’s a good thing that I have to wait to take this thing into crowded public places. I obviously need more practice!