I had another tiring day today. The morning did not start until 10 o’clock which was a physio session with Jo. Today she had me transferring from a wooden `stool` around 12 inches high which was on the floor to the plinth which is around three foot off of the floor. Technique is everything here, of course the strength is required but you can be as strong as you like, without the technique being applied correctly then you are wasting your time. You will already know that I have been struggling with the transfer technique since I was first shown it, yesterday I seemed to do quite well with it and the problems arose if I were to over think about what I was doing instead of simply placing my hands, tipping my head and going for it. This morning was exactly what I had been taught with the exception of having to position my legs. Jo would assist where she could but ultimately I had to do the work to get my fat arse up on to the plinth….this would be a bloody hard session I thought to myself. No point in dragging it out, this is what I came to learn so let’s be `avin it!
Jo sat behind me and instructed me on what I needed to do; the key to this is to use your head. By tipping the head forward as much as is possible, your ass automatically starts to lift. Once this is happening it just remains to push down with your arms and shoulders and then flick your ass on to the plinth by looking in the opposite direction, piece of cake right? WRONG! I had Jo lifting me to get up on to the plinth as I simply could not get the height to get up on to the plinth. The movement was critiqued by Jo and she told me what I needed to do to make the next one better. We did this for near on an hour, up down, up down, up down but every lift I did was higher and the technique got better and more effective. Each time I completed a lift Jo would tell me what had improved or if I needed to do anything more until I lifted towards the end of the session and Jo informed me that she had not actually been helping for a couple of lifts which was an amazing thing for me. Considering I could not lift myself in to my chair from the plinth two and a bit weeks ago, I was now doing a split level transfer the likes of which I had not done. At home I had been doing things very differently but this was the real deal, this was how you should do it and although I was not lifting all the way from the floor, I was getting that way. My transfers had become more confident and definite; they were now being done in such a way that I would be at much less risk of damaging my skin, no longer would the wheel of my wheelchair be a half way resting point for my transfers.
Josh joined me in the physio department as he too had lightweight wheelchair clinic at eleven o’clock and he had come to find out where it would be; it would be….on Tuesday just gone! Bugger. So Jo had made a minor boo boo which meant that both Josh and I had a free period, a free period which we took full advantage of and got in to standing frames. I stayed in the frame, standing for almost an hour when Jo returned from seeing a patient on the ward and watched me out of the frame. The idea is that I can put myself in to it and then safely out of it and in to my chair. This will give me the freedom to use the frame when I want but will still require my Wife to be at home while I am in it in case of any problems. The main thing to stop me from getting in the frame at home on my own is that I have no quick release clip like the one here has. I will be able to practice at home with the buckle I have on mine and I hope that I will be able to buckle it up on my own so that I don’t have to have my Wife do it for me, but we shall wait and see.
At 12 o’clock then I had my lunch which was another highly exciting salad. I spiced it up today by putting my salad cream on the plate differently. Today I emptied one of the sachets on a clear bit of plate and the second one I spread over the leaves of the salad, check me out! With the excitement of lunch over I had a cuppa and then made my way down to the physio department/spinal gym to meet up with the other lucky patients who had been selected to meet with Kirsty and Georgie for FITNESS at the Guttmann Centre. We only had four of us which was a bit weird but we were going to do the fitness session and so over to the centres sports hall we went. The session today was run by a student physiotherapist; she had to do the warm up which was one lap of the hall forwards and one lap backwards. Then we were doing shuttles back and forth on the badminton courts using the various white lines, and then exercise after exercise was shouted to us for us to do. Think rolling around in a wheelchair is easy? Think again. The exercises are designed to make you work your arms, shoulders, back and most importantly your heart, and bloody hell do you work the aforementioned hard. If you work hard then you benefit, if you are a pussy and don’t push yourself then you will benefit the sum total of bugger all. I noticed that the harder you worked the more of the exercise you had to do, what I mean by this is that I consistently got back to the start having finished the exercise and the physio would say for me to do it again until the rest had finished, I asked Kirsty if the student and her were related or if Kirsty was her mentor because there were some definite similarities, the main one being that they both seemed to enjoy making me sweat my rocks off! We finished the exercises and then it was on to circuits. I will be the first to say that I really was knackered by the time we had finished but knew that it had been worth it, even if my body was asking the question “WHY!”
Another afternoon of sports followed starting with transferring in to the sports chair for basketball which was, as ever, full on and in places a little violent in the contact side of things but nothing malicious, just really good (but hard) fun. Straight from this on to Hockey which saw more people arrive whilst some would leave for other appointments. While people were getting ready I was speaking to Georgie about something I had been invited to try with regards to physio and walking, it was interesting that she knew exactly what I was in about. I think though that this is something that I will have to experience for myself rather than being given information about the place. She was very honest though in saying that I would need to go myself and see what it is all about. The hall was now extremely busy with a substantial number of wheelchairs racing around. Another fantastic session and again I have no idea who won, and I am not particularly interested as I know that I had got more physical exercise out of the game. With chairs swapped out for those who did not want to be in the sports chair anymore (me included in that one but it was because the sports chair does not fit through the door in to the toilet!), the hall was set up for table tennis. There were a lot of people playing this, taking it in turns on the tables as to who would play who which was working really well. I spent the time talking to Kirsty about various things, firstly because I was interested and secondly to talk to her about some ideas I had. After clearing up the table tennis balls, we took all of the sports chairs back to the cupboard in which they live and everyone made their way over to the spinal centre as it was now officially tea time!
At six o’clock this evening I went to the spinal gym for “Sports Club”. This is something that Jo and Kirsty do on a Thursday evening, in their own time I hasten to add, to offer a social evening for the patients giving them the opportunity to chat and play some kind of a sport. Tonight was a little table tennis tournament. It is great because you also get to know other patients; you can also ask Jo or Kirsty things related to the Physio side or Kirsty with the exercise side of things. You can’t kick the ass out of it though as they are off duty and it is their own time they are giving up so it is almost a social for them too. The table tennis over ran by about ten or twenty minutes tonight, it is good though that they are in no hurry to wrap things up, it is not; “Right, it’s eight o’clock so that’s it, out you go”, they will wind things up gradually and then just let us know that they need to wrap it up. So that was the day today. I continued a conversation with Jo about an idea that I had been talking to her about earlier in the day that worked well with an idea that she has. I’m not going to disclose them on here because she is going to speak to someone about helping her if she gets permission to do it which I really hope she will. I genuinely believe it would be beneficial in so many ways. I hope that she will let me know what is decided when the time comes and wish her all the best of luck with it. I admit I am struggling to keep awake now so I know I have worked hard today, a good night’s sleep tonight ready for the not so busy day tomorrow (as it stands on my planner), but I intend to do some stuff in the morning to practice, even if it is standing or weights, time is short and I need to make the most of it. To that end, I am going to have to get in to the big blue and white time machine and pay my visit to the land of sleepy bo bo.