Fall Down, Can’t Get Up Again
So I’m at my multiple sclerosis (MS) exercise class working out on a sit-down bike. Yes, I know, by their very nature bikes tend to be of the sit-down variety, but for us lot in wheelchairs, these bikes are designed so we can roll up to them and have our feet placed on specially designed full foot stirrups. All the while our tushies never have to leave our personal chariot.
It’s surprising the number of us who still have some movement in our legs, yet have completely lost the ability to walk. I can even stand up on my trusty Molift assistive device, especially since I acquired the company-designed safety belt.
Normally, working out on the bike is a tad tedious — even while listening to a podcast. This time, though, 15 minutes flew past. This was especially unusual as 10 minutes has been my maximum time for years now. I was getting to know a new “physio” (that’s actually how they invariably refer to themselves), or at least, as it’s part of her job, she was perhaps getting to know me. Or at least that’s my perfecto excuse.
Talking (or indeed writing) about me is remarkably easy, as I’ve been saddled/bestowed with one of those showbiz egos. Indeed these days, if I mention this column to anyone and my wife, Jane, is present, her eyebrows immediately rise in disdain.
Fortunately, I was on my own so I could, oh so happily, bang on about meself. I got around to my column’s overall title, “Fall Down, Get Up Again,” and the physio rightly pointed out that as I can no longer “Get Up Again,” well, had I mentioned it? As I hadn’t, I had to agree that this was, indeed, a very good idea.
The very next day synchronicity gave me a figuratively good kicking, where, these days, the sun could never shine. Even in a nudist camp (if they still exist?).
The drain of my specially designed wet room has surprisingly not been adapted for wheelchairs and especially of the shower variety. The slightest maneuvering mistake by moi pops the drain clean out. Takes awhile for even the able-bodied to align its prongs, so there’s no chance for me to manage with my olde grab sticks.
Now I have a brand-new brill chair. It’s slightly higher, has secure footrests, and is far more solid. And yes, it’s far easier to drag me to and from the wet room on. It also, unfortunately, means I can now whiz myself ’round once there.
Hubris led me to push off backward fast, conveniently forgetting I‘d already knocked the drain out. The smaller wheel on the new chair lodged itself in the now exposed drainage hole, and I slammed to the floor on my right side. Trapped on my bad neurogenic (damage to the supplying nerves) arm and shoulder. Also, my right cheek had whacked into the floor.
An ambulance was immediately called. Far too complex for me to be shifted except by professionals.
My daily skim of the news meant I was well aware of the pressure on the U.K. ambulance service these days. I recalled stroke victims currently wait an average of 51 minutes. Oh, yes, I can be occasionally that exact. It’s fair enough that my wait would be a lot longer. After 50 minutes of torture lying on my throbbing right shoulder, my family helped me to roll onto my back.
Bliss. It was also our hottest day of the year so far, topping out at 90 F. The wet room floor was pleasantly cool. I would have happily slept, except Jane, worried that I had concussion, kept waking me up.
Three and half hours later, the ambulance arrived. Nothing fazes paramedics. They maneuvered me out with an ordinary bed blanket! Then it was a simple matter of raising me onto an inflatable pillow, to the Molift, onto the shower chair, then back to my bedroom. Jane finally hoisted me into bed; the paramedics aren’t allowed to as they’re not trained for it.
Their forte is to be absolute wizards with the humble bed blanket.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.