Friday, July 16th 2010

New wheels

As I predicted I got a much better night’s rest with no headaches or coughing spasms on waking up. Phew! I’m still being prescribed antibiotics several times a day but I have to say I feel a lot more like my normal self again.

Ronnie from Wheelchair Services dropped in this morning with my new wheelchair, an Invacare Rea Azalea Assist. What I have been given is something far more suitable for my current needs than the transit wheelchair I’ve been using for the past year. The improvement in comfort, thanks to the thick upholstery, is immediately noticeable as soon as I sat in it and was positioned correctly. The high backrest gives good support to my upper back and the fully adjustable neck support takes the load off my neck muscles. The backrest can be reclined on its own or the whole chair can be tilted. This will be a godsend when I simply want to lay back a little and rest for a while and let gravity hold me in position. This combination of features makes the chair a pleasure to sit in over prolonged periods – or at least I hope so. The chair has been left here at the hospice so I can get full use out of it before I go home. This will enable me to determine how comfortable it is to sit in all day long, whilst also allowing me more freedom around the hospice and its grounds.

Maria Miller, our local member of Parliament (and the person who I wrote to earlier in the year asking for help with my planning application) visited the hospice this morning although I never got to meet her. A photographer was called in to document the event and also to take some pictures of the patients for promotional purposes. I was asked, and readily agreed to participate so had my photo taken whilst Helen performed physiotherapy on me. Afterwards, Mark, the photographer, came to talk to me in the conservatory about photography after hearing me say that it had also been my hobby and how I miss taking pictures. My frustration must have struck a chord because he seemed very keen to want to help me take pictures again. So after a chat about some of the technicalities of photography he went away promising that he would look into it. For me, if nothing else, it felt good just to be able to talk to someone about one of my hobbies rather than about my disease.

An engineer from Possum has been to my house today to install a hands-free phone that connects up to my environmental control system. I’ll now have the ability to make phone calls myself once again and will be able to do so in both the study and bedroom.

Some members of the hospice staff have been out to my house this morning to do some assessments on how easy it will be to move me, my wheelchair, and my shower chair around upstairs. They’ve also looked at the ease of getting equipment upstairs and of getting me up and down the stairs in an emergency and concluded that the easiest thing would be to just remove the stairlift altogether. So it is starting to look like after only four months of use my stairlift is going to be retired and dismantled… Possibly.

Chris and Mo (both health care assistants) gave me a guided tour of the hospice and its grounds this evening. It was the first time since arriving that I’ve been able to venture further than my room, bedroom and conservatory which are all in close proximity. Having this wonderful new wheelchair has given me back some freedom of movement (although not independently of course) as I can now go places that my previous huge armchair-like seat was unable. And it was a lovely evening too with the sun shining and a nice breeze on the face. It felt good to be out and exposed to the elements instead of sitting in a room all day.


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