I’m not going to beat around the bush here, I am knackered. I’m starting to write the Blog entry for today early, in fact it is only ten past three in the afternoon. I am actually fighting to keep my eyes open. Yes I stay awake until late at night to reduce the amount of time I am asleep which reduces the time available for me to have any potential `accidents` in the night time but this is no different at home. I am getting up slightly earlier than when I am at home but nothing that would make a huge difference, the only thing it can be is how hard I have been working to do the things I am asked to do, learn and practice. Today has not been as busy as the other days but still tiring. This morning first thing I was woken by Tasha, she is one of the nurses on the ward who obviously looks after us. She is the nurse I told you about who is doing a college course on two days of the week. She woke me to find out what transfers I had been practicing and to see about if I had transferred to the toilet while she had been on her two days off. As the answer was that I had done a transfer all be it clothed, and that I had not ended up on the floor (always a bonus) either going from and to the chair, she wanted to see if this morning I would like to do the mornings routine without the use of the shower chair. This is one of the many things I have requested to learn so that I would not need to take a shower chair everywhere I go if I were to stay away from home, of course as it was something I had specifically asked to learn, I said “Yes” immediately.
Tasha quickly popped off to reserve a wet room for me to use and tried get a shower chair for me to get on to so that my chair would not get soaking wet if I were to be unable to dry myself properly. Unfortunately they were all in use and so I simply put an absorbing sheet on my chair and waited. Tasha had very kindly got me a cup of tea “To wake up with”, I must have come across as not 100% with it, (leave it!), and so I spent ten minutes drinking the tea and getting with the programme. Tasha came back and ensured that I was ok transferring on to my chair. I know that you are probably thinking that I have been doing this for a long enough while now to be ok doing it, but remember that I am now having to do it a different way and that until I get it sussed, the chair does move away from me. Once in the chair I collected the things I would need to used the lavvy and then to go and shower, then it was time for the naked fat boy, (all bar a towel over “junior and the twins”), to head to the wet room. I positioned my chair to where I thought would be the best place for me to get from my wheelchair on to the toilet and shuffled myself forward in my seat to avoid my wheel. Tasha then corrected my positioning and I moved myself from point `A` and safely landed at point `B`. Ensuring I was safe and happy with how I was, she left me to it. For the first time since July 2011 some two years and three months, I had succeeded in doing something that I used to take for granted without a thought, I used a toilet! I appreciate fully that this will seem almost insignificant to you, but for me it has opened a whole different door of opportunity. If it continues to go well I will be able to leave the bungalow knowing that if the need arises, if I get caught out, I CAN get on to a toilet. If we want to go away for a night, or on a holiday, we do not need to make sure that we have a shower chair with us and believe me, it feels almost like I have won the lottery.
I pulled the call string as I now had to lift up on to my wheelchair which would now be a good few inches higher than the toilet seat and to be sure I didn’t hit the floor I had to have someone there to stop exactly that happening. My whole technique for transferring is completely different and I do overbalance resulting in my falling forwards at the moment. It will get better in time as I practice and perfect it but for now I need help. It only took two attempts for me to manage to get back on to my wheelchair and then I easily got on to the seat underneath the shower. Again, once Tasha was happy I was not going to end up on the floor, she headed off to assist others on the ward and I cracked on with my shower. Showering in the shower chair is easy, it is when you get to the drying side of things that it gets difficult. The upper body and lower limbs are easy enough but it is when you have to dry your arse cheeks that the problem arises. No such problems though with the shower seat as it is big enough to lift yourself so that half of your arse is off for you to dry and then by putting the towel on the seat next to you, you can lift on to it and this dries the other, easy! Again I called for assistance to get back on to my manual chair. Although I could have transferred on to it (I am reasonably sure) confidently and without incident, it had been taken away from the shower obviously to avoid it getting soaked. Natalia came in, got my chair for me and made sure I did not fall and then it just remained for me to get dressed, have breakfast and get to physio.
Jo was busy this morning and so I had a student physio supervised by another young lady physio who’s name currently escapes me. My work this session would be lifting again to get the technique and balance required for me to get the height I need to be able to transfer and make split level transfers. It must have been almost half an hour of this with the physio checking on us regularly to see how I was doing, and the occasional visit from Jo as she was moving from task to task in the gym. I had a five minute rest of my arms and then I had to transfer from plinth to plinth. This was easy when I was doing it my way but I had to learn to do it their way, the correct way, the only way if I want to avoid causing damage to myself. A little more sweat and now my legs were not happy. They had been hijacked by the nerves and were the outlet for frustration when I was struggling, the outlet resulting in “Riverdance” and my legs also locking rigid resulting in my physios having to `break` my leg to be able to bend it and break the spasm. Ten minutes of this and then I did a couple of split level transfers which is where I really had to work and I was knackered by the end. My temporary physio lady came over and suggested we stop and I would do some balance work. We spent the final ten minutes with me balancing while doing some different exercises until finally I transferred back in to my wheelchair for my appointment with the dietician, lets go see how I can lose some circumference!
The meeting with the dietician lady was good. She told me things I already knew and some things I did not, advised me on things I need to do and commended me on things I am already doing so the half hour appointment that I had was definitely worth while. I am due to be seen before I leave and she is going to refer me to the weight clinic here which is the only one to do with Spinal Cord Injury, it will mean that I will have to make the trek up here every so often to attend which is a long way and a lot of time for such a short appointment but I would rather this than not take the opportunity and end up being too big for my wheelchair and putting extra unnecessary strain on my heart. Immediately after my dietician appointment it was time for lunch so I wheeled just around the corner from my bed and collected my salad, Yep SALAD, from Jimmy who is the guy who serves our food choices. That is all the appointments I had today. Many of the patients go home at the weekend so it is a bit quieter in here today which is fine. It is good to know that it is encouraged so that you are slowly reintegrating to your home and family life, they really have got it right here. I am quite glad in many ways that I did not have anything substantial for the rest of today as I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO tired. I intend over the weekend to practice my transfers and mainly my lifting as I will be able to do this in my chair, but for tonight I have Andrea and Lara visiting so I am just going to chat, drink coffee (regulating how much Lara and I have of course!) and then watch tele in bed until it is time to sleep.
My first week of my rehab has been exhausting, strangely exciting in places, informative and above all else rewarding. Some of what I write to share with you you will not understand, some you will not want to understand, some you will find interesting and some you will wish you had not read but I make no appology. This has and always will be a Blog of honesty from ME, MY thoughts and MY emotions, MYgripes and rants, MY successes and failures (it’s all about me init!), I hope that you will apreciate (if I write it well enough), what things mean to me as a previously very active husband, father, worker and soldier to a not so active or able paraplegic. May it make you appreciate what you have got and what you can do rather than the things that you do not have or can’t do which is exactly the way I have had to to view things to keep motivated. There are always people who are “half empty” people rather “half full”, but there is always someone worse off than yourself. I have met some incredible people since my injury, two in particular. Jay, who is only able to move his head and yet in the hospital was always smiling and Bradley, a young lad who was only 16 at the time of his injury, who I watched accept his injury and new restricted life and very slowly become more confident and comfortable with being amongst uninjured people. If these people and the many others I have met can do this, then others can too. As time goes by over the next couple of weeks I would like, and I am hoping to be able to, introduce you to a few people that I have met in here. People I will talk about as they are now major people in my rehab, or people who I share classes and activities with, (if they are ok with it of course). Well that’s it for me for today. I hope that you have a great weekend and enjoy the couple of days away from work if you get them. I hope my Wife enjoys her weekend away with our daughter and my Wife’s friends and I look forward to hearing about it next week. Until next time.
Good evening all.