Monday, November 26, 2012

Needles; wheels

A very significant acupuncturing this afternoon. And a small "first" yesterday.

Acupuncturing opened some closed energy pathways. When these pathways get blocked, life stops being worth living. Or even able to be lived... I spent the entire weekend in bed, mostly sleeping, I didn't have enough energy to do more.

This "blockage" was pretty serious... it took twelve needles to fix it, rather than what has alas come to be my "usual" need for just four. All seems to be better now, although it won't be until tomorrow that I'm really fit to deal with the world at all, in anything more involved than "driving back from the doctor's office."

And a small first... I took the "self-propelled" wheelchair out on a "solo" run over the weekend. Shopping. A very simple trip, this particular store is nicely equipped with "drive it yourself" powered chairs (which I've been using for quite some time), but the "solo" was important. Load the chair myself into the truck; unload it from the truck upon arrival, again by myself;  wheel myself into the store, transfer to the power chair. Do the shopping, have small help getting back to the truck from the cashier line (someone pushed the wheelchair behind me in the power chair), but when everything got back to the truck, I loaded the wheelchair all by myself—it was, after all the point of the whole adventure—and then, home again home again, jiggety jog.

Things I noticed (both on the "solo" trip and a separate someone-helping-wheel-me trip):

  1. Chair's weight is just barely on the "doable" side of "almost too heavy to lift myself." Still quite liftable, but barely. My wife and I took it out somewhere together earlier last weekend, and it was actually very much a moment of "sweet togetherness" to lift the chair into the truck together. The doing of which, by the way, with the two of us? Trivially easy.
  2. Man, can I propel myself faster in the wheel-it-yourself chair than with the walker. I walk very, very, very slowly, with the walker.
  3. When you're two people together, one of them pushing you... you definitely want to be pushed in the big-wheel chair rather than the walker/transport chair. The big wheels make going over bumps/divots much easier to manage (both as propulsion and cargo), and no matter how solicitous your "driver" is, if their attention is drawn to something, they just kinda ... leave you wherever you are when their attention is drawn elsewhere. With the self-propelled wheelchair, you can reposition yourself instantly—it might be as simple as spinning yourself around so you're facing another direction, or moving yourself to a more comfortable location. I really like being able to do that. Though my assistants have the patience of saints and are so generous to push me all sorts of places, they can wander off and leave me facing the corner or a wall and you can feel kind of ... abandoned, even though you know that you really haven't been. Big-picture abandoned, at least.

I gotta tell you, though, more than anything else today, I am so grateful for my five-element acupuncturist and today's Twelve Magical Needles. Life is livable again.

Considering where some of today's needles needed to be inserted, you'd never imagine you'd be grateful for such things, but trust me... When you know what it is you've "got" (acupuncturally speaking), you beg to be needled there.

I suppose one of these days I'll be as grateful for M.S. as I am to get needled in CV1 and GV1... I'm definitely not there yet, but you never know. Stranger things have happened (like getting M.S. in the first place), and if you can be grateful for a needle in CV1, you can be grateful for anything.


Katja said...

Congratulations on your solo trip!

Chair's weight is just barely on the "doable" side of "almost too heavy to lift myself."

What brand/model is it?

Muffie said...

I can definitely relate to #3! I get annoyed if I'm in the transport w/c and my husband starts speaking to someone 'on his level.' I'm pretty much ignored, left to talk to myself, or stiff from trying to adjust my position to be a part of things. I hate that chair!

Robert Parker said...

Katja: KARMA has something to do with its name, oddly enough... if I can find a better/more informative name, I'll post it for you.

Katja said...

Karman? They make "lightweight" (which means "heavy") wheelchairs.

When you get around to being annoyed with the weight of your chair, look into an ultralightweight chair. Ultralights come in both rigid and folding versions; rigid are lighter, easier to push, and contrary to popular opinion, fit in cars just fine: SpinLife Ultralight Rigid Wheelchairs.

Robert Parker said...

Katja: Shop says that it falls into the "ultralight" HPCPS code/category. And it is pretty darned light... when my wife and I pick it up, it's amazingly light, and it's much more fun to operate than the standard heavy-as-all-get-out hospital chairs. Plus, the shop said that the insurers go into conniptions the lighter your chair is rated; Lord knows, we wouldn't want to waste profit money to make life easy on a disabled person by allowing them to get a chair they could actually use. After a little practice, it's going to be easy enough to pop into the truck by myself... I wouldn't have left the shop with it if it wasn't comfortably within the range of "easy enough." And, pop the wheels off, and it just floats into the truck... on a bad day, a little disassembly and POOF! No problem.

Katja said...

I hear you on the insurance company problem.

Good to hear it's a K0005.

I recently lent my backup chair to an elderly couple for the gentleman to use. I carefully explained how to take the wheels off for easier loading into their minivan, but got the feeling that they weren't really following this.

The wife called me a week or so later and said, "Come get this thing, it's too heavy and won't work at all."

So I went to their house to pick it up, pushed it ahead of me to my station wagon as she walked alongside me, opened the hatch, popped a wheel off and threw it in, popped the other wheel off, ditto, and the lady's mouth just fell open. "Oooh," she said, "the wheels come off!"

Sigh. The gentleman succumbed to his multiple ailments the following week.

Robert Parker said...

Sorry to hear about their loss.

Part of "testing" the chair, for me, was, "I put it in the truck BY MYSELF with NO HELP FROM ANYONE." So that I had tried everything before I decided that it was the chair for me.

I go through this sort of thing (fortunately, on a much simpler level) with my own mother. I'm repeatedly amazed by her answer to the rhetorical question, "Here, you try it, isn't this easy?"