Well, I took the advice of several of my readers here (thanks again!) and Monday was my first official day on wheels! On Friday, I slithered downstairs and rolled my manual wheelchair into plain sight and then by the door on Monday. I said nothing. My dad took the enormous hint and loaded my chair into the car. No groaning, no comments. Success!
We arrived at my therapist’s office with time to spare, so I showed him how to attach the footrests and seat. He pushed me the whole way there. We encountered some obstacles, but I stayed calm and he took my solutions extremely well. For example, the floor dips down when you cross the saddle into the elevator, so I suggested he back up and roll me in tipped back. He even expressed disgust at how the jerk who runs that office has made it impossible for anyone using an assistive device to get into the waiting room. My dad did a little, um, feng shui with the furniture. Problem solved.
On our way home he needed to get some items and I suggested a store that would have them. It also happens to be the one store I’ve wanted to poke around in for a few weeks now. I suppose my dad is used to me having to stay behind and wait in the car because walking with my rollator has been awful for a few months now. I was left in the car, but decided not to say anything. Let’s take one step at a time and ease my friends and family into this! (I mean that sincerely, they are adjusting a bit, too). He did ask if there’s anything he could get for me which was very much appreciated.
The big issue that my friends often forget when making suggestions is that I CANNOT PROPEL MYSELF AND NEED SOMEONE TO PUSH ME IN MY WHEELCHAIR. My shoulders are badly injured and even if they werent, having EDS means I have to protect my fragile joints. I get it, though. Most people in a manual chair can get around on their own. However, this is just my back up chair and where I’m living now, my power chair cannot be moved in and out of the house. In fact, I will have to hire the company that supplied it to transport it to my future home.
I’m not being critical of my friends. They’re just trying to help with suggestions, but I feel very uncomfortable announcing it or “breaking the news.” I fear any plans I might make will be suddenly canceled. I do fear rejection. I feel vulnerable in this wheelchair. At the same time, I just got a taste of the freedom it provides me. I could actually go shopping without being in excruciating pain or injuring myself within 10 minutes. I always put on a brave face and pushed too hard because I just wanted so badly to be like anyone else my age, but without mobility impairment. I learned something big, though. As long as they understand that pushing the chair is part of the package, we can do a lot more than we have been!
I am looking for an aide for shopping trips, errands and to travel with me via AbleRide or their own transportation to get to appointments and synagogue and stuff like that. If you know an agency that serves Nassau County, please let me know! I’d also love to find some sort of social or activity group with other physically impaired adults, but I’m coming up with nothing.
All in all, I’m off to a pretty good start. My legs still work, just not well. My brain is back in action. And most of all, I appreciate the friends who are sticking by me! I’ve become so isolated, but this is a new beginning and I’d love for you all to come along!