This past Tuesday a near disaster happened in the lobby of the building where Don goes for speech therapy. His wheelchair broke apart. The main bolt in the scissors-like bars underneath the seat snapped in two which made the whole thing fold up on itself---with Don sitting in it! The wheels, at the bottom, kept spreading farther and farther apart and at the top they kept getting closer and closer together until they were pinching Don in between them and the side panels snapped off their screws. Timing is everything. As I stool there panic stricken and not having a clue what to do, a professor we know walked by and asked if everything was okay.
"NO!" I replied, my voice edged in full panic mode, "Every thing is not okay." And I explained what was happening.
The professor flagged down a student she knew and sent her over to the conference hall, several buildings away, to sign out one of their curtsy wheelchairs for us to use while we were on campus. It seemed like it took forever and while I was waiting I kept ordering Don not to move even one inch which is hard for a friendly guy with short term memory issues to do. The college kids going back and forth in that lobby have always made him forget that we have places to go and things to do as we pass through.
Finally, I got him transferred to the loaner chair and up to class. While he was there I got his broken chair back in the Blazer, tracked down a phone book and made arrangements to stop at the orthopedics place on the way home. Don's had a new wheelchair on order for a couple of weeks and I knew it had come in; we were scheduled to pick it up next Monday. Timing is everything. They had just put it together that afternoon. They didn't have room on their schedule for a full adjustments appointment and the cushions hadn't come in but the chair was usable. Life was good again.
Timing is everything. This past month I've been working at the YMCA on a machine to strengthen my upper body and since I can't use our Bruno wheelchair lift in the Blazer until the new chair gets another style docking arm, I have to lift all forty pounds of its awkward metal and plastic in and out of the car until next week. So the extra muscle strength has come in handy although I still struggle and use a few blue words. Thank goodness a list of handy-dandy four letters words came with a Welcome to Caregiving packet.
This whole thing with the wheelchair turning into a pile of junk could have been so much worse. We were extremely lucky to have it happen where it did. We were extremely lucky that we had a new chair on order and to have the orthopedics place stay open until we got there to pick it up. Timing and nice people truly did save us from having an inconvenience turn into a disaster.
Jean Riva ©
P.S. I published a blog entry here last month titled Inconvenience or Disaster. I didn't think I'd be using the stress reduction techniques I talked about in it so soon.