Update on Wheelchair Lift

Remember my problem last week when the wheelchair lift on the mini bus messed up and left me pitched forward with wheels that couldn’t grab anything? Me, too. I reported it to the Executive Director by email so she would have a written record in a form that she could forward on to other relevant people.

The company that services the bus will be here next Tuesday to check out the lift and fix any problems. This will be followed by an in-service training for all staff who are responsible for bus transportation, reviewing how to strap people in, how the lift works, and how to deal with problems. They want us to be and feel safe, which I didn’t.

I’m hopeful this will help and glad I spoke up.

My Body Isn’t Very Happy

I have a sinus infection moving down into my chest. This is normal for me at this time of year, but it’s not pleasant. My head feels like it wants to explode and my chest hurts.

I also have an infected ingrown toenail on the right foot. Nails were last cut by a traveling podiatrist, so you’d think this wouldn’t happen. I’m on an antibiotic, which is also doing double duty for the sinus infection, and waiting for my visit to a stay-put podiatrist to get this fixed. My toes curl under, so the end of the toe presses hard in the shoe when I walk. So I’m not walking right now.

My right knee (see, same side as the toenail) is a bit swollen and very sore. Not sure what’s going on with that but I find myself absently rubbing the knee to make it better. It’s not working, but I’m trying. And taking Tylenol. I can’t take my arthritis meds now that I’m on Xarelto for the blood clot (also same side) so that may be part of it.

My right shoulder/upper arm have been sore for months and were treated in PT with ultrasound and e-stim. They still are sore.

The right ankle (same side, see a pattern?) has been weak since I fell into my chair in the middle of the night to keep from hitting the floor. It’s still weak.

And today I in the kitchen, reached for something above me, and the ankle turned. Naturally. I fell backwards into the chair which is always right behind me when I’m standing, for safety. Now the ankle is sore and so are the unhappy shoulder, right wrist, and both thumbs. I have ice packs.

Basically I’m a mess. Good thing nothing is broken or badly hurt, just sore and achy. I want chocolate. Or ice cream. Or both.

UPDATE:

When I stood up after sitting for 90 minutes, I found more sore places, especially my SI joint. On the right side, naturally. Everything else stiffened up. I’m sore from top to bottom – on the right side.

I’m Afraid of the Wheelchair Lift

We have three vehicles in our transportation fleet: a van with a wheelchair ramp, a sedan, and a bus with a wheelchair lift. I’ve ridden in all of them but it’s usually the van when I go to the doctor or therapy. But one of our drivers isn’t strong enough to push a chair up the ramp or pick up a chair to put it in the trunk of the car, so when she’s driving, it has to be the bus.

But now I’m afraid of it.

Twice now I’ve had problems with my chair and the lift. The first time my brakes got screwed up when they tangled up somehow in some of the bolted connections next to the lift inside the bus. I’m still not completely sure how that all happened, and it caused me considerable stress as the brakes went wonky.

Last week, though, a second scarier problem happened. I got into the bus just fine, all strapped and hooked up and tied down. When we got to the grocery store the lift started acting up. Two metal plates at the top were not quite aligned properly and there was a loud beeping with a flashing orange light right next to me. I roll onto the lift and lock my brakes, with a safety belt across my body because the lift tilts forward just a little bit. It’s never been a problem until this week.

The lift went down but it was moving so slowly that it was hard to tell. When it eventually got to the ground, the front flap folded down as usual and I unlocked the safety belt and my wheels to roll off. Except once I started that, the flap went back UP for no apparent reason, in the middle of my chair so my wheels were spinning without touching anything secure. The chair pitched forward and I was sure that I was going to fall out of it, flat on my face.

One of my fellow grocery shoppers from Meadow Lake helped me get my right leg out and on the ground. I then got the other leg down myself so I felt braced and able to walk the chair forward until it was stable. The flap went down again in the process. I was very unsettled and rocky, and I did NOT want to get back on the bus to come home. But I had no other choice.

It could have been so much worse. I have good reflexes and am aware all the time of where I am when I’m in the chair. Someone older and more frail could easily have fallen forward, hitting the concrete sidewalk and cracked open a head or broken an arm, or at the very least torn their skin.

We need our transportation to be above all safe and dependable. I rely on it. Many of us do. I wrote to the Executive Director so there is a formal record of the incident with a request to purchase a new bus. We have new owners so hey, it’s possible.

I don’t want to get on that bus again until it’s been thoroughly inspected and repaired. Even then I’m not sure I want to get on it, though depending on who’s driving, I may not have choice.

Unhappy toes

Sensation below the right knee hasn’t been normal for a long time now. There was nerve damage that hasn’t recovered and probably won’t, at least not anytime soon. When I feel odd things such as pain under the ball of the big toe, I’m told it’s nothing more than nerve damage and not to worry. Oh, and let’s not forget the “sponge-y feet” that sort of squish on the bottom when I walk. Odd but normal for neuropathy.

Now my toes have been acting up. They started curling under a bit in the spring of 2021. That triggered the MRI that finally sent me to a neurosurgeon. My right ankle is still frozen and I can’t flex the foot at the ankle, but I can finally move the toes up and down a little bit. They’re still curling under some and I’ve noticed they’ve been catching on the drain in the bathroom floor which is uncomfortable.

Except my middle two toes are not happy. I can’t feel anything wrong but then, I can’t feel much in the foot anyway. Today when I strapped on the AFO’s and started walking around the apartment with the rollator, those toes started screaming. I don’t know why they hurt but they do. I may need to buy another pair of shoes one half size up to give the toes more room. But I’m pretty sure that my doctor would just repeat that there is nerve damage making it feel this way.

Walking hurts, though, and it’s hard to make myself do much of it when every step hurts.

[Note – the picture is of happier toes when I could still wear my pink Birkenstocks, now alas in my past.]

Winners and Losers

There are winners and losers in an election. That’s just the way it works, the way it has always worked. The person with the most votes wins. Sometimes that person is the one you wanted and sometimes it’s not. But wishing won’t change the reality.

I’ve lost races before. We all have. We didn’t get elected to the student council or officer in an association – or elected to Congress or president. It’s just not possible for everyone to win. And I grew up in an America where, if you didn’t win, you conceded defeat gracefully (if not happily) and stepped aside for the winner to take the spot you wanted for yourself. You looked at what worked and what didn’t and decided whether or not to try again. You let go and moved on.

But the idea of simply saying you won’t accept the result of an election unless you win is an alien concept. Everyone can’t win. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. Sometimes you just lose because more people vote for the other person, even if you don’t understand or like that they did.

In this midterm election we find candidate after candidate already anouncing that they would not admit defeat, that losing a race automatically means there is fraud or irregularity because of COURSE they would win.

Losing is a bitter pill, and the higher the office, the harder that pill is to swallow for both the candidate and their followers. There have been many elections where the person I supported lost and I had to simply accept it even while seething at the jubilation of the winning side. But those losing candidates understood that two people can’t win the same race for a single spot. One of them wins, the other loses.

I’m afraid for our country. I’m afraid of the hatred and vitriol that I see spilling out of political ads and news broadcasts. And I’m afraid of the same words hurled by neighbor against neighbor when they hold different positions. More people are so full of anger and pent up violence, and more of them have guns and the freedom to carry and use them. That doesn’t make me feel more secure; it makes me more afraid that innocents will be shot because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We live in a climate of violence all the time now and it’s going to erupt in dangerous ways. I’m afraid of what’s coming.