Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Final Frontier - Smashed! :-)

Its my birthday and because of the recent turn of events it seems like all of them and all my Christmases have come together.

I've already mentioned how being able to bend my knees up made movement easier and particularly the transition into and out of bed. In the last few days I've been confident enough to stand up from the powerchair without needing to use the zimmer frame. I demonstrated this yesterday to the GP who visited (one week later than planned) to carry out a prescription review and to the district nurse who came later at the end of the day to remove the one remaining suture that had been missed before.

Buoyed up a little I decided on the spur of the moment yesterday to see if I could manage to "climb" the stairs that lead up to our converted loft area where we have a video projector and Nintendo Wii among other things. I enjoy "playing" golf on the Wii when the images are projected onto an end wall. It's also where I used to watch football and other sports. I refer to this as my "executive box". We have some friends from Germany visiting next weekend and thought they might enjoy "playing" some of the Wii sports and other games. I need to be up there however if only to act as gaffer and bark out instructions how to get the various pieces of kit working together.

With my new found flexibility I thought I might be able to sit on the first few stairs and straighten enough to lever myself up one at a time in a seated position. I tried up one step then down one step, following the physio guidance to first time users of crutches after hip operations. "Good - up to heaven, Bad down to hell". Essentially this means lead with the appropriate leg when going up or down steps while supporting weight on crutches ( or in my case my 2 arms on the step behind or in front depending on direction of travel). It worked!

The steps up to the converted loft area turn through 90 degrees so I checked that I could manage this as well. Despite this working out I decided against going " all the way" as I would need to stand up at the top from a seated position and work out how best to get seated from a standing position to come back down. I think this will be possible with help to fetch and carry the necessary aid such as crutches, zimmer frame or small stool.

Well that was yesterday and this is today - my birthday. My wife and I had decided if the weather was good enough last weekend to try to see if I could get out into the garden. When I tried with the physio 2 days before we could not see how it would be possible without 2 people standing by. However we did not try opening up both inside doors that lead into the porch. When we tried that this morning I had a less encumbered route using the zimmer frame. As before I first tried moving down a step at a time and making sure I could return safely before committing to the move. This worked for the first change in level and I then tried the final hurdle and once again felt secure enough in my ability to return ( albeit backwards) that I finally made the greatest leap of my recovery period and got all the way outside where the mobility scooter was waiting for me.

In the 90 minutes that followed I was able to help my wife in the garden as she tidied up, moved plants and planted some new ones. Our bungalow is built on a slope and below the lounge/ dining area is a garage space the land continues to fall away and beyond our front garden is the roof of a neighbours bungalow. Our drive however continues to the right of this bungalow and slopes down to the road. I scootered down to see if the neighbour at the bottom was in and in his absence scootered back up again. A few years back we replaced a series of gentle steps with a slope to link the 2 gardens so I can use this with the scooter to get all around the garden and fetch and carry tools and garden waste.

While I was able I also scootered into the garages we converted into a play room complete with snooker table exercise bike and multi gym. It is also full of furniture from both children who are both in rented accommodation at present. In addition this garage is where I keep a reasonable wine cellar. I have not been able to manage it for about 6 months despite occasional deliveries of cases of wine. I was at last able to sort out 3 such cases and will when I get the chance update the spreadsheet I use to manage the cellar.

One other thing I was able to accomplish while down there was to load Ubuntu (a linux distribution that I've been impressed with recently) onto one of the old computers that I keep in the garage (mainly for wine cellar and wood turning purposes - I keep wood turning videos and patterns on it for reference purposes as the lathe is in a room off the other garage).

It was a great feeling of release and of getting back to normal that I was able to share with another neighbour who came out to wish me well.

We did not try the car this time but that is going to be the next step in my expanding universe of activity.

No comments: