Thursday, 1 May 2008

Onwards and Upwards - Talking the talk if not yet Walking the walk

Today is Thursday and I've just returned to the study after 3 trips outside of the house and a further trip up to the converted loft. I also managed to transfer into and out of the passenger seat of my car.

The reason for such rapid progress all in the one day was the presence of the community physiotherapist (accompanied by colleague). I reported that I had managed the initial crossing of the front door threshold and also made it up the stairs to the converted loft - under supervision and with the assistance of my wife. I stressed that I had not yet repeated either of these accomplishments.

I was able to talk and eventually hop through the process (note I carefully avoided using the word "walk" - I may talk the talk but I'm a long way yet literally from walking the walk!).

In the process of demonstrating how I managed to negotiate the change in levels on the way through the inner and outer doors and then again out into the front patio I referred to the concern I had about the wheels on the front of the zimmer frame moving away from me when I was shifting my centre of gravity forward of centre. The answer proved simple - to swap the front wheel components for static feet. Fortunately the colleague of the regular community physiotherapist had 2 in his car. So with those in place and using the more straightforward route we had worked out before, getting out was really no problem. I made my way over to the small round table we have outside and sat on one of the 2 chairs in the afternoon sun and thought I can now return to sitting out on the "front decking" like the retired cotton pickers of old with a cup of fortified coffee and a good book to read.

Having got this far we then made our way back. I would like to have said "headed" back but this would be misleading. I find it easier to negotiate the steps to get back inside if I approach them in reverse. Because I had only made this journey once before in my current state I forgot that one of the manoeuvres required a single long stride backwards and subsequent second or two supported in mid air with both feet off the ground. I initially tried this particular manoeuvre in 2 stages and it felt wrong. Both physios recognised that this would be better as a single step backwards and so it worked out. It was good to have a second (and third) opinion and gave me more confidence.

Once back inside safely we then discussed the progress I had made with "climbing" the stairs to the converted loft. I demonstrated this and asked one of them to be behind me at the top of the stairs ready to steady the shower stool. Having got up to the converted loft I was asked why I wanted to get there - was it to sleep? So I pointed out the ceiling mounted projector, sky box, sound system and Nintendo wii and explained that with friends from Germany coming in a few days it would be good to be able to set up a game or two on the wii. (I realised this went down as an example of "boys toys" so stopped there) This seemed an acceptable reason all round but especially to the colleague who wished to do something similar in his house - provided of course he could persuade the wife!

After returning to the ground floor without any mishap the three of us discussed the risks involved in trying to get into the car. If I had a full hip replacement there would be special considerations regarding the angle that my leg could be bent so as to avoid the hip joint dislocating. As this did not really apply in my circumstances and because I had demonstrated that I could manage to lever my way up and down stairs it was agreed that I could attempt to get into the car under supervision.

So another trip outside was required. In preparation for this "journey" to the car - which was either by steps ( definitely ruled out) or slope - we agreed that I should use the mobility scooter to travel from front door to the car below. As it happens my son was visiting and in the process of loading up a hire van with some furniture. A shout to him resulted in the mobility scooter appearing at the front door before I got there. 2 minutes later I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car - having ratcheted the car seat up to its highest extent, pushed the seat back as far as it would go and reclined the back to 30 degrees. Past experience of managing with newly replaced hips came back to me as I laid back as far as I could and positioned myself over the handbrake before swivelling round and lifting my filleted leg over the car door sill. Getting out was easier and I got back on the mobility scooter made my way back (again under supervision) to the front door and once again reversed my way back with the zimmer frame into the house.

Later that afternoon my son wished me to advise him on stuff to keep or dispose of in the garage and as my wife had by then returned the three of us repeated the careful egress from the house one more time.

About 40 minutes later after acting both as gaffer (barking out instructions) and labourer (moving a few items around the garden on the mobility scooter ) I returned to the house a final time.

All in all an afternoon of moving both onwards and upwards and if not quite yet walking the walk I was at least talking the talk :-)


But Why? said...

Just a thought - have any of your recent experiences shed light on the origin of the phrase "hop to it"?

Prisoner of Hope said...

No now you mention it. Nor does it seem to shed light on the phrase "best foot forward" - as you'll appreciate it is more often a case of worst foot forward, followed by the good foot "hopping to it" if not beyond it. Don't fancy my chances in the London Olympics Triple Jump either!

DJ Kirkby said...

Bet you slept well Thursday night! I was suprised to learn that getting into a car is more challenging than mastering stairs.