|Hoyer lift, used for lifting patients into/out of bed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
“Sometimes I wish for falling
Wish for the release
Wish for falling through the air
To give me some relief
Because falling's not the problem
When I'm falling I'm in peace
It's only when I hit the ground
It causes all the grief”
― Florence Welch
The type of wheelchair transfers I do are called “stand – pivot.” The reason that I can stand at all is because of the spasticity in my legs and Kim’s firm grip on the back of my pants, not because of actual standing ability. During this type of transfer there is a critical maneuver where I rotate 180° and land at my destination. It works pretty well, almost all the time.
But last Friday morning my legs lost their spasticity halfway through the pivot, and I started crumpling to the floor in slow motion. My legs were stuck in an awkward and painful position under my full body weight. “Pull me forward. Pull me forward!” I implored Kim. She was able to do that and I had a semi-smooth landing, face down on the carpeted floor.
Kim rolled me over and placed pillows under my head and under my knees. I was comfortable. We did the usual roll call of body parts and found that, once again, I had fallen without significant injury. She then went out into the garage to gather up the various pieces of our portable Hoyer lift. This would be the second time we had used this lift in the last year to raise me off the floor.
Did I mention that my daughter and her longtime boyfriend have moved into our house? There’s probably enough interesting material on this subject for a future blog post. Anyway, Nick heard Kim making noise while gathering up the Hoyer lift components, so he emerged from their luxury accommodations at the back of the house (which I fear are so cushy that they will never leave) so that he could help get me off the floor. The Hoyer lift is barely adequate for transferring a disabled person from a wheelchair to a bed, or vice versa. But this lift is not set up well for picking a large person off the floor. Therefore, Nick had to support my head and back while Kim operated the lift. Before long I was back in my wheelchair, only slightly battered and bruised from the ordeal.
Each of my transfers is now a near fall, except for the ones that are actual falls. I know that you are tired of reading about this sort of thing, and I am tired of writing about it, not to mention living through it. I realize that there are several choices for safer transfers. Instead of the stand – pivot, we can do the squat – pivot. Kim has been trained on this procedure. We can also use a slide board. I ordered one and it arrived last week. But these are merely incremental improvements. I’m inclined to make a dramatic improvement. What if there was a system that provided much safer transfers and actually allowed me to accomplish these transfers independently? How cool would that be? Well, there is such a system, and I’m trying to get my hands on one.
Stay tuned to this channel for further updates….
Here’s one parting quote on the subject of falling, by a man who ought to know.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ― Nelson Mandela