My poor husband has put up with my agonisingly slow attempts at walking for months now, walking patiently by my side and supporting me when I inevitably needed it. We’ve passed up chances to go to places and do things that last year we would have jumped at doing. We were no longer going to places where I would need to walk any further than from, say, the car to the house. Shopping had become almost impossible, often with me (especially at the end of the working day) having to sit down at regular intervals around whichever store we were in or standing, stork-like, when choosing things from shelves! My world, our world, had shrunk beyond recognition. I was doing what I had to do and sitting everything else out. We were increasingly spending more and more time apart and neither of us liked it.
I had had a taste of being pushed about in a wheelchair and I hated feeling vulnerable and out of control. So I came up with a compromise; I would buy a self-propelling wheelchair, one that the occupant pushes along by hand. I’d seen a few on ebay and had done a bit of research, but decided to ask a care expert.
On Friday afternoon hubbie came up to the my gallery in Dumfries and we walked, slowly, across to The Care Shop on Great King Street. I said pretty much what I’ve just written and was told, in no uncertain terms, how difficult it is to push yourself in a wheelchair! Dumfries is a hilly town and even to take my advertising board from my gallery on Irish Street to the High Street means me going up a fairly steep hill. Going up hills is something bursitis makes very painful for me, and trying to push myself up one wouldn’t be easy. So, after a bit of convincing, I finally ordered something I never thought I would:
I needed something that I could quickly and easily dismantle and put into the back of my car. The Colibri is shorter wheelbase than most and breaks down into five pieces. It fits perfectly into my car boot!
I went to doctors last week to chase up my MRI scan. It’s been requested, but the waiting list is about 3 months long. It could be another month before I even get the scan, despite my doctor offering to chase it up. In the meantime I didn’t intend to carry on the way I have been. I can’t walk any distance without discomfort. I find that by the end of the day I am sore and unable to even stand for longer than a minute. I’m just about managing to get through a work day and school days have been tougher because I spend too many times getting in and out of the car with the peripatetic role I have. Cooking a meal, or standing for a shower are virtually impossible by the evening.
So I’m actually embracing my new found independence. I don’t much like the tuts I get from people who think I’m getting in their way, when in reality I spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring that I don’t get in anyone’s way, or being ignored by people who don’t acknowledge anyone smaller than their waist-height! I went around the supermarket yesterday, accompanied by my hubbie, actually focusing on what we needed to buy, rather than wanting to grab as much as I could as fast as I could, so that I could get out and back to the car and a seat! I went to the pub and didn’t have to stop on the way down and sit on the wall before restarting the painful journey ( we live a quarter of a mile from the pub!)
I spent a day without pain etched on my face.
I still struggled when cooking the tea; I still stood like a stork, in an effort to take weight off my left leg and leaned heavily on the worktop, but I had accomplished two other things which I had previously dreaded.
And I don’t even care if people are now calling me ‘Madge’ and offering to top up my spray tan. In the words of Madge…
And talking of funny things, here’s a taste of Madge on Benidorm if you’ve got three minutes to spare!