As many of you know, I had bunion surgery on September 11. It requires me to be in a non-weight-bearing cast for eight weeks. I chose a wheelchair as my mode of transportation for those two months, since I’m a klutz on crutches, and the “scooter” was uncomfortable. It is an older chair, borrowed from my church, but it’s sturdy, and well-made.
Luckily, standing on one foot for any length of time is uncomfortable, so doing dishes is out. I don’t even try to do them, and certainly don’t miss that chore. I do load and empty the dishwasher, with my son putting away the high glasses. And, while my husband does the laundry, since it’s out in the garage, I fold the clothes, and put away my own. I can even make the bed on occasion. His retired life has not changed too much, and makes him happy to help me.
The one whose life changed the most, besides mine, is my dog. As soon as I came home from the surgery in my chariot, my dog ran and hid under the dining room table. He heard my voice, but all he could see was those big wheels. It took him nearly a week to get over his fear (he’s a Sheltie; fear is his middle name).
Of course, I’m not saying my last eight weeks have been all roses and unicorns. It hasn’t. Going to the bathroom is like planning a covert attack. Try getting onto the toilet using only one leg, and you’ll understand. Getting into our high bed was a fall waiting to happen. My husband and son finally took the box springs out, and I can get into the bed much more easily.
Maneuvering around the house is great, since we have wood floors, but our bedroom is carpeted. Propelling myself through it is like moving through quicksand. I power down to a crawl. By nightfall, I sleep like the dead, partially because I’m so tired from hauling myself around by my arms.
Lastly, drop something small on the floor, and then try to pick it up from your wheelchair. It’s impossible! You either roll over it and crush it, or you’re out of breath by the time you retrieve it from bending over so far. I have one of those grabber-thingies, but small items slip right through its grasp.
A few weeks ago, I was with a friend, who lost her keys. She tore the place upside down, looking for them. While sitting in my chair, I noticed the keys sitting on a quilt that was flung over a pony wall. They were at my eye level, and I was able to save the day! The same goes for the kitchen table and counter. I can tell when they both need wiping; they are right at my vantage point.
I am very happy that my time in a wheelchair is coming to a close, though I am thankful for the freedom it gave me. I didn’t have to rely on people as much. I maintained some semblance of freedom throughout my recuperation.
Next up: my new mode of transportation. What do you think?
Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it!