Saturday, January 15th 2011

Settling in

I’ve been spending the time today enjoying my new surroundings and the large amount of open space I now have at my disposal. Upstairs it was very difficult manoeuvring the wheelchair around. There simply wasn’t enough clearance space and I’d lost count of the amount of times that the wheelchair rubbed up against a door frame. Downstairs it’s a different story and now that I’ve said goodbye to a few items of furniture my living room has plenty of room for both my wheelchair and the carers to move around in. Of course a couple of years ago the idea of disposing of some of my furniture to create a large open space for a wheelchair would have horrified me but now that I have reached this stage of the disease ‘needs must’. Certainly the options that have opened up to me now that I’m downstairs in this larger space have increased tremendously. I now have separate areas for eating, working, socialising, and being entertained. And when the weather picks up I’ll be able to make use of the level access patio. Already I can feel it lifting my spirits.

After a mid-morning coffee break spent looking out the French windows onto my back garden, which in itself was a refreshing change from having to eat and drink everything sat in front of my desk without a single change of scenery, I turned my attention to getting the computer set up because without that I would be helpless. Of course for a normal laptop it’s a five second job but mine has various hardware peripherals that need to be connected up as well although the real tricky part is actually getting everything set up at the right height and distance. So for instance the microphone needs to be carefully positioned in relation to my mouth and the foot controls need to be arranged at a certain distance from my feet if I am to be able to operate them without struggling too much. It’s all these minute adjustments that take time to get just right. Setting up a computer for a person with virtually no movement is the complete opposite to how you would go about it if you were physically able i.e. the hardware is positioned to suit the person rather than the other way round.

At the moment I don’t actually have a proper desk to put my computer on. For weeks I’ve been looking on the Internet for a suitable height adjustable desk. Ordinary desks are of no use to me as they are too low for wheelchair users and I can’t get my legs underneath. But height adjustable desks tend to be very expensive and I’ve yet to find one that is the right size for me. So for now I’m using a height adjustable over bed table, similar in design to the one I used for my computing needs at the hospice. It’s a bit cramped but other than that works quite well until I can come up with something better. I think I’m going to need someone with carpentry skills to build me something that will fit into the space I’ve got available.

Before signing off I want to say a big thank you to Suja for spending considerable time this morning getting my computer all set up and working correctly.

Mark

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