So, to visualize the Amazing Alex think of young, blonde, blue/green eyes, tallish, with a ready smile and a way of encouraging you/me for the slightest new or extra movement completed! She was also stronger than she looked. Well, she had to be…remember, I am, at this time, the blob.
Alex started by teaching my husband, Bob, the safest way (for him and me) to move me around. It was the funniest thing, especially when we started with the transfer board.
It is the gangplank to freedom, but a tad undignified, the bed is higher than the wheelchair and the whole point is to slide regally down the board and plop into the Wheelchair.
Well, that is if the board is highly polished or lacquered, sadly it was not, as it was a ridiculously small plank from the timber yard, call it rustic, so there were splinters a plenty and because of that, there was no regal entry to the Wheelchair. It was more bumpety, bumpety, bumpety, caused by Bob yanking the back of the pyjamas in an up/down movement, shouting “move along everyone” As I said earlier, laughter all the way, and the occasional scream of fear when I heard the PJ’s tear.
Going down was getting easier but going up had a different set of challenges.
Of course, the other lesson was the knee-to-knee configuration, a stunning movement in ice-skating with startling results; on dry land though, it is a totally different kettle of fish!
Later that day there’s Bob, slightly red in face, but looking pleased with himself, as he had conquered the knee-to-knee dance with me, he looked at me with a big grin and then flipping let me go! (this happen before a lesson called RECOVERING FROM THE FALL)
Bless, I think he had forgotten my legs did not work, I never got to ask him why he let me go, because he had shot out of the room and then the house to find someone to help with the big heave-ho.
So, getting back to Alex, she came three times a week to begin with and it seems now looking back, that in no time I graduated from bed work (building core muscles) to standing, balancing holding on to something, (which you would have thought this Retirement Village, we had moved to, would have handles galore BUT no, you want handles then you put them up yourselves) and then my first tentative steps with the walker.
The lesson on how to get into and out of a car was repeated quite a few times with the gang-plank and once a neighbour came to help, without us even asking, that was nice. Who would have thought it would take 3 adults to push pull and bumpety bump one adult into a car? The question being, why do I need to get into a car in the first place? As I had no desire to go to the shops or anywhere else, but you see Alex had a scheme, which she had not shared with me yet.
By the way, I was/am still reliving the escapades I had under pethidine, when I closed my eyes at night the same sights and sounds come flooding back, but now I can control them, which certainly gave me hope that I was not barking mad, but a madness I enjoyed with my parameter’s and my goals.
So those of you hissing “she is a control freak” well yes, I suppose I was but if I did not have control and share the control, how would I have progressed beyond the beginning?
One of my granddaughters, Michie, moved in with Bob after about the first month to 6 weeks of my being in hospital. She was a great source of love and companionship to Bob, but at that stage she was not really into cooking, so Bob did the cooking which was good because if he had been on his own, he probably would not have cooked. The mystical age of 24, why indeed should she cook.
When I came home, Michie stayed on and it was a pleasure, as every evening after she finished work she would come home but I would be in bed, (Bob use to put me away at about 4pm!)
Michie would lay on the bed beside me, telling me about her day at work, the friends she had seen that day and small bits of gossip. It was a great way to connect with another generation, to understand how they saw the world, she also wanted to know about my age group, their wants, and aspirations, so we learnt from each other. How privileged I felt that not only did she share her time with me but shared her thoughts and aspirations.
And when she suggested I write a poem for Women’s Day celebrations for her charity, Swan Shine, I felt proud and humbled that she would think I had something to offer. But I enjoyed writing the poem and by what she told me, the young teenage ladies from Soweto enjoyed it too.
Every evening she would massage my feet and back with the CBD oil that her mother made, now that was bliss. Each morning she would help to dress me and brush my hair, I could see she was tense when doing this, but a few days later the truth did come out, my hair was falling out in clumps, it’s the medication, not to worry, but she was so upset. I started using a brilliant shampoo soon after, now my hairdresser can not believe the growth and condition now. (if you want to know the name drop me an email)
ALEX’S SCHEME IS REVEALED
Alex’s scheme was to get me to go to her practice rooms, by doing so, I had to get in and out of the car, that was good exercise and once confident enough, walk with a walking aid; but until then it was the rustic board change over! And you remember what I thought that little malarkey!
Oh, but the worse little game she wanted/needed me to play was the fall. I mean really, what was going on in her mind, but has it turned out something particularly useful.
We had started this at home and the trick is ….oops I fall, so now sit on 2 books, then move across to the step-up step, then to a foot stool and so on until I had reached my goal of getting into my wheelchair.
Sounds so quick and easy, no stress there then… and in the comfort of my home the plan came together and was executed in under 40 mins, (37 min. actually) But that was because Alex had arranged all the equipment needed in a circle, and Bob was there to do the occasional bumpety bump holding on to the back of my trousers.
But when the real fall happened 2 months later it was a different story. Isn’t it peculiar how an important lesson can dissolve into “mush”, never to be retrieved from our brains when it is needed?
So there I am on the floor, scream like a banshee for Bob, as he comes in the room those beautiful blue eyes 👀 looking terrified, “Haven’t I asked you to be careful, walk slowly, you know you have a dropped foot,” So now the hunt was on, the books, the step-up thingy, the footstool, the bigger footstool etc. He was rushing around collecting, discarding with a lot of muttering, like his life depended on it, which of course it did!
I never quite understood why he asked me……” What books should we use?”
Long story short, an hour and 17 mins later after laughter and tears, I was in my chair with a new determination of “never again”, and a glass of wine to steady the nerves!
So, we decided to come clean with Alex and tell her what miserable failures we were, and we could almost see her mind going, aha, but she said right away “I have a good exercise today for you, now easy-peasy slide out of the chair on to the floor, turn on to your stomach.” What, no this is not right, I thought.
Alex moved my chair to the other end of the room; the small room thank goodness. “Now as quick as you like leopard crawl to the chair” she said but with her eyes twinkling.
I did it! Although not quickly, the floor was ridiculously hard to sensitive nerve endings, but I DID IT!