Saturday, 12 April 2008

Up and at 'em

Let me tell you about my morning. At about 7.00am one or other of the children comes in to demand breakfast and I become aware of a pain in my hip. I've been lying on my right side all night and perhaps there is a crease in the sheet. Now I am aware of the pain I can't ignore it. The painkillers I've taken the night before have long since worn off and it feels as if the hip is burning. I try to move but the air mattress absorbs my efforts and if anything the pain is increasing. I finally have to ask Polly to help me, which is something I hate to do. She tugs and pulls at the sheet but can't un-crease it so I pretend it has helped and let her get on with seeing to the boys. The next two hours are anything but relaxing as I wait for the carers to arrive at 9.00am.

Jerry and Anna sign in and tootle about for a bit. Eventually they come and start the process of getting me up. First the duvet is removed and then the electric bed is tilted. Then Anna lifts and swings my legs out of the bed. The head end is then raised and Jerry sits me upright. My shoes are placed on my feet so I can grip the floor to balance and the ventilator is unstrapped and the plaster protecting my nose from the pressure mask is removed. I take a sip of water through a straw and begin to feel the burning in my hip ease. Jerry helps me move my leg in to position and Anna manoeuvres the electric wheelchair so that my knee is pushed along the side of the bed. The bed is raised and I do a controlled sideways fall in to the chair. Jerry crosses my legs at the ankle to stop me running over them and I make my way to the bathroom.

The transfer to the toilet takes about five minutes. I usually manage on my own but this morning I need Jerry to place my hand on the handrail. I make the transfer and relax a few moments. A couple of minutes later I call for Anna or Jerry to come. Jerry responds and places a glide sheet on the chair and then leaves again. At this point S, the little one, barges in and demands the potty.I start the transfer back. The process usually another five or six minutes but this morning I get stuck as I have been doing so more frequently recently and need to call for help. Jerry and Anna help me brace my arm on the chairs armrest and with a grating twist of my shoulder I slide uncomfortably on to the seat just enough to balance. Jerry and Anna leave me to cautiously negotiate my way to the handrail where I can heave myself fully on to the chair.

They wash and shave me and then we make our way back to the bedroom. Getting dressed takes several more minutes but is done with practised ease. Getting my trousers on is the only unorthodox handling, a procedure that involves tipping me bodily forward on to the bed head first and whipping them up before I fall back down. Once dressed I make my way to the living room for breakfast. Now I can start my day. Polly, of course, has already been going for hours.

All the best and 'bye for now.