Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sleeping in My Wheelchair

Some years we’ve gone on exotic vacations during Kim’s February break. This year we decided to simply spend a couple of nights at a casino resort about three hours away – Foxwoods.

We had stayed there several times over the years and knew that the wheelchair accessible rooms were better than average. But we hadn’t been there with our new portable lift which helps transfer me from wheelchair to bed, and back. I had a concern that the legs on the lift might not fit under the bed. It requires about five inches of clearance.

As soon as we arrived in the room, we tried it out. Indeed, the base of the bed essentially sat on the floor. I phoned the maintenance department and asked them to send a technician to our room with some wooden blocks to raise the bed by several inches. They said they would.

We didn’t want to wait in our room for who knows how long, so we left a note on the door that essentially read, “there is a note on the bed.” We left a note on the bed that essentially read, “see that lift over there? It needs to be able to get under the bed. Call us at (I gave my cell phone number) if you have any questions.”

We went downstairs and gambled and had dinner and a drink and then went back up to the room, probably four hours later. Nobody had been there yet. I called maintenance again, reiterated my needs, and complained about their lack of response. Within a few minutes the nighttime housekeeping manager showed up.

I suggested she scour the maintenance shop for scrap lumber that we could put under each corner of the bed. She returned about 10 minutes later, not with lumber, but with eight reams of printer paper. Close enough. She placed two reams under each of the four corners of the bed. The lift slid underneath with ease. Nice work by everyone, except the guy who was supposed to come four hours earlier, whoever he was. Going forward, we’ll bring a set of bed risers with us when we travel.

But the problems were just beginning.

Later that evening, Kim used the portable lift to transfer me from my wheelchair to the bed. She got me well situated, things were looking up. But when I lay in bed, that’s the position I’m stuck in for the entire night. I can’t move around like most people. So, if a mattress isn’t comfortable, I can’t relax, and that was the case with this one.

After a sleepless night, at 5:30 in the morning I woke Kim and said, “I can’t stand it anymore. You’ll have to get me up and put me in my wheelchair. Either I’ll work on the computer or maybe I can nap.”

Kim got up, transferred me, put a blanket on top of me and a pillow behind my head. My Invacare wheelchair reclines almost all the way, and I can raise my feet. Soon, I found myself in such a comfortable position that I slept – for five hours! I didn’t know that was possible.

At 5:30 that morning, Kim and I were resigned to cutting our vacation short and going home that day. But after my comfortable sleep in the wheelchair, we decided to skip the bed altogether on the second night. It worked. I still prefer to sleep in a bed, but I now have more options when we travel, and options are good.

I can sleep in my wheelchair.


  1. Hah! Way to be adaptable. Glad the chair works out.

    You've been quite adventurous. Gives me inspiration to get out more.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Kim is amazing.


  2. There's something about this posting that makes me say, "what the heck, go for it!" The fact that you would strike out into the unknown without tying down every single contingency IS quite inspirational. And I realize that there are always going to be unknown problems and there are always going to be inconveniences and yet somehow we can get around them.
    Way to go and thanks!

    1. Yes, when we venture out we try to tie down as much as we can, knowing that surprises will come up that we will just have to work through.