A Birthday visit

Yesterday was the first trip out again in ages, this time it was back down Essex to visit Nan. She has fallen a couple more times since being been back home, so she’s in a care home for the next 6 weeks. It is her 96th Birthday today so we took down her cards and saw the place where she was staying. We also took Cody (my Labrador) down and left him with my Uncle, as we were going back there for dinner after seeing Nan. The home she’s in looks new and impressive from the outside, the inside doesn’t disappoint either. Access, as you would expect, was fine for me in the wheelchair, even the carpets were super easy to wheel on. The room was nice and she’s allowed a TV in her room as she can’t see the one in the communal lounge. Her short-term memory has deteriorated noticeably since the stroke but apart from that she was quite chirpy and talkative. She likes the home, and the food, but she doesn’t want to stay there permanently. During our time there I had to pay a visit to the bathroom. It was strange as it had two narrow doors to open instead of one dig one, rather like on a wardrobe. No trip to Narnia for me though, just the toilet. It was very well equipped but small so the easiest way for me to get in was to reverse, with the sink behind me. Save washing my hands sometimes I always carry Radox Clean & Moisturise Hand Gel (like an alcohol hand gel) in my wheelchair (or if using crutches in a pocket/bag). As I would have had to wheel out turn around a wheel back in again I used some of this. I was back in the wheelchair, pushed the doors open and pushed the wheel rims to go out, all that happened was a squeaky noise and a jolt. I did it again and exactly the same thing happened. I looked at the carpet strip in the doorway but the wheels weren’t caught on that. I tried to move forward again but still I didn’t go anywhere, I looked to see if there was something jammed under the back wheels, still nothing. Eventually I turn round only to find I had somehow managed to hook the wheelchair handle over the edge of the sink. Good job I hadn’t really put some power down to get out of the room as I could have ended up pulling the sink off the wall. After detaching myself all was well again and, in what seemed like not time at all, it was time for us to go. Cody had been on his best behaviour with my Uncle and Cousin, who’d been making a fuss and pampering him. We had a wonderful lunch with them, thanks to my Uncles partner, and then had the pants trip home. I must admit I’ve suffered from the day as it’s flared the stump pain quite a lot, I think it was the travelling in the car and car seat that did it. Still, it was nice to get out and see some family again. I realise then that no one on my Dad’s side of the Family has actually seen me since before the amputation, as nearly all of them live in Somerset. Another thought that came to me about visiting people was access. I had to use my crutches at my Uncles place, as there were steps on both the front and back entrance. I possibly could have used the wheelchair in the bungalow but some of the doorways may have been difficult to access due to the narrow corridor. It’s OK for me, I can jump out the chair and use the other leg if I really have too, but I was thinking about people who are paraplegic or permanently confined to a wheelchair. How do they manage? Can they visit their friends? What methods if any can they use to get round issues? How about access to shops? Some of them have steps and heavy doors etc. How tough is life and do they feel excluded from many situations? All these questions come to me now and yet when I had both legs I never thought about things like that at all. Of course I’m not alone and we tend not to think about these sorts of issues until we are faced with them ourselves. I am sure in my future adventures many other questions are going to present themselves, there are already some popping up regards Annual Camp this year!


Winifred Dell Care Centre

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