The brand new electric wheelchair has arrived - and just in time, too. A couple of weeks ago, Roch's niece, Aisling came to visit with her boyfriend, Dave. It was lovely to see her again and to meet Dave and Roch thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon they spent with him. When it was time for them to leave, the sky was overcast and as a downpour was clearly imminent, I offered to drive them to the station. When I got back, a strange sight met my eyes. Roch was sitting on the floor, with his back against the old green sofa and Tom was carefully removing one of his socks. I thought at first that, falling, Roch had damaged his ankle, but thank Goodness, it wasn't as bad as that. Apart from some bruises, he wasn't hurt at all. He had fallen, yes, and Tom and Kate just couldn't manage to get him up. Bare feet, they had all three decided, would allow better purchase on the laminated floor. Between us, and with the help of two kitchen chairs, we soon had Roch comfortably seated again. Everyone had kept their heads, and followed the procedure!
Naturally I requested a report and was met with three rather sheepish faces. It seems that Kate and Tom had been in rather a giddy mood. On a sudden whim, Kate had hopped onto the rollator and Tom had whisked her away merrily, down the house at speed, to the tune of 'Greensleeves'. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Roch decided he didn't need his rollator anyway and rose from his chair, intending to make his way round the room, using the counter and cupboard handles for support. Thus on the Greensleevers return journey, as they rounded the corner from the hall into the L-shaped kitchen/tv room, they were met with the sight of their father's feet, sticking out along the floor, the rest of his body not being visible from that angle. To be fair, I think it gave them quite a shock. But it makes an excellent story. If you don't already know, my children are seventeen and twenty, respectively! (As a matter of fact, I'm rather pleased than otherwise at their demonstration of light-heartedness. When I cast my mind back to a very early blog, I remember noting how appalled Tom was by the sight of the rollator on its arrival).
It's been some time since the last fall. Partly, I think, because he's using the rollator now and not the sticks. But the day after the Greensleeves incident, he fell again, once more in the kitchen. He says his knees just 'go from under him'. It's less like a fall, he tells me, more a 'fold and flop'. Maybe that's the Baclofen - relaxing the muscles.
I had just left for work and Tom was preparing to accompany Roch to work in the taxi. Lately, Roch has been feeling less confident about making the journey alone. I think he's especially nervous about arriving at work. He needs help to get out of the taxi and help to get from the taxi into the office. Work colleagues are good about this, but it does depend on who's in, who's free to come outside to assist and the whole business makes him understandably anxious. For such an independent personality, it must be incredibly difficult to have to rely on other people, no matter with what good grace and willingness help is given. Anyway, lately as I say, Tom has gone along, as he's been on holiday. So when Roch fell the second time, Tom was around and Kate and her boyfriend Simon were there to lend a hand. So that was two falls in as many days.
A positive outcome has been Roch's decision, that very day, to begin bringing the wheelchair to work. He's been relying on the rollator up until now and in a way, it's a relief to me that he's bringing the wheelchair now. It was a worry. At the end of that first day he was surprised that he felt less tired than usual!
He's been out a number of times in the electric wheelchair, although not alone as yet. I smile to see him whizzing along. Speed suits Roch.
The second trip out saw a bit of a setback tho'. The footrests had been set too low and there was an ominous 'crrrunch!' as he whirred his way down a steep curb to cross the road. Reversing only made matters worse, as the footrest then got mangled underneath. The rain didn't help, but we made it back, damp but undaunted, mangled footrest held high and the chair has been fixed and used again without mishap. I can see it's going to be a Godsend. And as I say, not a moment too soon.