Just living my life now

I recently read over all of my blog posts from the first when I was in Rehab #1 in August 2021 to the latest, covering progress, setbacks, pain, challenges, emotions, and regained skills. Wow, lots of words covering all sorts of mental states and physical change. Thanks for hanging in there with me as I babbled my way through. I’m putting all of those words in a format to produce two bound volumes as a way to track my “recovery time” of August 2021-December 2022. It’s how I marked the timeframe I’d be mostly like to get back my mobility.

Mostly now I don’t think about it; I’m just living my life. I’m in the wheelchair most of the time but am planning to get a power chair so I can travel down to the front of the building more often to be part of various activities. I just can’t roll down with the manual chair more than once a day or my arms want to fall off. My arms are strong but could be stronger; I need to work on that, but today am dealing with arm soreness from my neck and shoulder down to my wrist. Using a manual chair puts a lot of strain on the shoulders and arms. Even walking does for me.

I haven’t done as much walking lately as I should be doing, and it really doesn’t bother me. I know it should. First it was my ingrown toenail that cause sharp pain with every step. Now it’s the place on my back/side that I hit on the arm of the wheelchair when I fell in the kitchen 2 weeks ago. Not on the floor, thank God, but even just falling into the chair left me with pain and soreness that hurts from the shoulder to the hip. It’s better by the end of the day but in the evening and again when I wake up in the morning, moving is painful. Well, just breathing is, to be honest.

My health aide now gives me regular massages, either full body or back/shoulders/feet. Oh my, it feels soooooo good to have those stress knots released, and I have so many of them! Living alone through Covid concerns has meant no hugs and little physical contact, which takes a toll. I have the cats but they’re not really cuddlers, much as I want them to be. I’ve been touch deprived except in a clinical sense and very much appreciate these massage visits.

Christmas decorations are mostly up except for my tree, and I’m debating on that. Right now the place where I would put it is blocked by my old lift chair that’s waiting to go to a new home. Last year the tree was in my bedroom but that doesn’t work now because I have a chair there that I need to keep to put on the AFO’s. But directly in my line of sight is a super cute table top wire tree that I got at a consignment shop, waiting for its small ornaments. Maybe this would be enough for me this year. I need to put the ornaments on – after getting the box out, which is a task in itself – and then we’ll see. I have stockings for Ellie and Emma, a basket full of elves, two nutcrackers that were my father’s, an angel made from my mom’s wedding dress, flameless candles and pretty ornaments in lanterns, and two nativities. Not to mention the Christmas Pillows which mostly have gnomes on them. I have a thing for gnomes 🙂

Through this blog I’ve met two people who found posts that linked to their families. Come 2023 I want to write more family history oriented posts instead of all of these “today I walked X feet” posts. It’s been necessary and important but I’m ready for something else. Go me.

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.]