This morning did not start well for me at all, it did however show me something important for me to think about for Cyprus and also for the staff here. Without going in to detail, suffice is to say that I really did sleep just like a baby last night. It was nice to have a shower this morning without the need of a hoist sling but I would have preferred my own shower chair. I am struggling a bit with the chairs here but again, it means that I have to adjust which will likely be the case in Cyprus so it is good practice. I am not in control of my medication here, I can understand that they need to know what I have taken but I have been looking after my own meds for over two years now so I like to think I have got the hang of it. Unfortunately this has meant that I have missed my morning and lunch time meds already, although the nurse is coming round to give my morning ones in a minute. I will simply have to miss lunchtime meds and have my final tablet at bed time. I am going to suggest I look after my own meds and simply sign the form to say I have had them and when. Not a big deal, not a negative but I think I need to be doing that bit on my own.
With me all showered and dressed, and having had some cereal for breakfast, the lady on the desk came and informed me that I had an ultrasound on my kidneys at 10.15. This was encouraging, they obviously want to know how things are as a base level for me going in to their care and under their wing. The lady took me down to the ultrasound reception where I was booked in and then told to follow the yellow arrows on the floor. This I did, ignoring the other four colours that were also heading the same way but slowly disappearing as they led off to other areas. A good system assuming that the colours used can be seen by people who are colour blind. After no time at all I was in the waiting area for the ultrasound. I was seriously impressed when, at 10.15 on the nose, a nurse came out of a room and called my name. I wheeled in to the room and had to transfer on to a plinth which I did with little effort, then the “River dance” started. I do a reasonable impression of Mr Flatley’s famous dance when the spasms kick in, but still there is no sign of the line of dancing girls joining me! One day I guess. It took only around ten minutes for the nurse to collect the relevant information and pictures that she needed to compile her report for the consultant and so within fifteen minutes of entering the room, I was on my way back to the ward.
I went to the day room and made myself a coffee and spent half an hour chatting to the lady who ensures that all of the breakfast items are packed away and the cutlery is dried and packed away. She is funny, she used to work for the Royal Air Force as a civil servant, not actually R.A.F but was made redundant. She is originally from Belize, is clearly an absolute fruit loop, but not meant in a derogatory way. She is really funny, a delight to converse with and clearly brings a bit of fun to what could be a boring job. With my coffee finished and a glance at the clock it was time for me to go to my physio appointment. My physio is called Jo. She clearly knows her stuff and started by asking what I was able to do, unable to do and what I would like to do. We discussed various of the afore mentioned and then it was decided that I should show her the things I could do, starting with the transfers. I transferred to the plinth which she watched and then I had to lie down. Cue the River dance” again as I had still not had the meds. Again I was dancing on my own but when they calmed down I had to sit up. This I did in the normal way I had taught myself to do it, by grabbing hold of the side of the bed and then `flipping` from side to side while I try to dig my elbows and fists in to push myself up. Then I had to roll over and again, I grabbed the side of the plinth and swung my arm over across my body to roll myself but then I immediately pushed myself upright. This was where Jo then told me that this is what she was going to show me how to get to the sitting position as there would not be the edge of a bed or plinth for me to grab if I was on my back on the floor.
The next thing I had to show was getting back in to my chair. First I `pummelled` my cushion in the way I had been shown before and she stopped me and asked why I had done it in the way I had. I explained about the gel then moulding itself in the shape of my arse but she very quickly showed me what was ACTUALLY happening when I sat on the gel. She was concerned that I was not protecting the bony bits of my arse and showed me how to `pummel` the cushion properly. Immediately I had learnt something new. Next then was the transfer. This I did in exactly the same way as I always do which is how I have taught myself. This concerned Jo because I am unable to get on to the chair in one hit and end up on the wheel. Jo could not believe that I had got away without causing my skin some damage if this was how I had been transferring. She has shown me a different way to go from and to the chair which I must now adopt and practice, two things learnt today. After the physio appointment/session it was time to get some lunch for which I was actually looking forward to as I was a little peckish. Lunch done, I veged for five minutes and got a coffee before heading off for my MRI scan which is located at the same area as where my ultrasound was done earlier. This time I had follow the purple arrows!
The staff at the MRI gave me a form to fill in asking about metal work, pacemakers and the like which I filled in and then waited to be called in to the room. I was talking to a young lad and his Dad about wheelchairs, (I’ve changed, it would have been about cars or bikes before!), and how people in general look upon wheelchairs when we are out and about up until the point that I was called in. I transferred, (using the new method), on to the `bed` of the scanner and the staff moved me up so that my shoulders were up against the stops and then, to stop the “Riverdance” they strapped my legs down too. Then they gave me some headphones, well, I say headphones but they were actually ear defenders so no Neil Diamond coming through those then! Then they gave me a panic button for if I needed them to stop for any reason and finally they put something over my neck and head and locked it in place. At this point in time I thought to myself, “Some people would actually pay to be strapped down like this!”, and then very quickly snapped out of the stupid comments going through my head as the machine slid me in to the large domed tunnel and started making some really loud noises. This went on for around fifteen minutes and then, the `bed` slid me out and I was unstrapped by the staff. With me back in to my chair and my belongings back where they had been before we had to remove them all, I thanked the staff and headed off to the kitchen area to make a coffee before heading off for the intermediate level wheelchair skills.
The physio who would be teaching the class was Kirsty. I was speaking to her about the things I could do and wanted to do and explained that I may well be behind the rest of the group but if she would not mind bearing with me I would like to join in. All I have taught myself is what I have needed to be able to do so there would undoubtedly be things that I would need to be taught. The rest of the class arrived and we headed up to the main entrance which is carpeted and roomy for us to start. We started with back wheel balancing which I could do, then moved on to travelling on the back wheels only. This I have not done nor learnt so I waited my turn for Kirsty to be behind while I tried. I picked it up really quickly and before long we had a competition going to see how many times we could go around the circle of seats in the main entrance. I did not do this as I was just trying to keep practicing in straight lines but two of the youngsters were going for it. The young lady won by a quarter of a lap from the young man, I think that this will be something that continues later! With this done we headed outside to the OT garden where we would be trying to get up and down curbs. I need help getting up curbs so I tried this and can now do it, then it was reversing down the curb which I could already do. The next thing was going down the curb forwards. This involves back wheel balancing to the edge of the curb ensuring you keep the castors up and your chair steady. If you lose the balance you will have the chair on the pavement and the castors on the road and you will fall out! I had a go at this, feeling a bit cocky about being able to roll on the rear wheels and I did it. I am happy that I can go down the curbs forward now and will be playing with this daily where possible to practice. With the rest of the class finished with their goes it was time to end.
Immediately after the intermediate group it was the advanced groups turn, I asked Kirsty about watching this group and she said that it was fine, and that I could join in if I wanted to try. With this group we were doing some of the same things as the intermediate group but was more like revision if you will. Travelling up the curbs and then down the curbs forwards and backwards. Going off the curb forwards this time had to be a lot more controlled though which I was pretty happy I could do. As well as this we had to go down steps, this is something I have taught myself at the TA Centre and so I showed how i did it and then Kirsty talked me through the way they teach. They are similar, but her way is more controlled, funny that! Something else she started to show us was to remove a wheel whilst in the chair and pull yourself forward. This would be for a narrow doorway. With the building regs nowadays, there would not be this scenario but it was good to have a go. A couple of the lads had a go, but it was knocked on the head as time got away from us. I look forward to the next sessions of wheelchair skills which are happening on Thursday. So today I have had a busy day. I am actually knackered but I am not going to sleep until late again, I may try to do some more moving around on the rear wheels, maybe even try to beat the times round the seats. Although it would not count, it would be good to know I can do it! Well, that has been my day today. Full of information and learning. I am really grateful to Jo and Kirsty for the things they have taught me today. I can not help thinking of how much different my day to day life would have been up until today had I have come here instead of where I went. Quite a long Blog entry tonight, shows what a day I have had. Enjoy tonight people, I look forward to tomorrow to see what happens. I know it will not be as full as today but whatever it entails, I will tell you tomorrow. Until then.