57 minutes in purgatory…

I have been doing exceptionally well as of late. The problem with doing so well is that I have become uncharacteristically careless. Now I tend not to think before I move. Moving a little too fast, leaning a little too much or bending a little too far can cause significant catastrophes. The cleanup from one of these calamities can be very time-consuming.

The other day I was feeling especially good. This positive day was not a reason for the alarms to go off and the bells to ring. Instead, it should have reminded me to always be on the alert. The flashbacks of my problematic past should encourage me to watch every move that I make cautiously.

I rolled up next to my bed so that I could take my twenty-minute power nap. Transferring to my bed from my wheelchair has never really been a problem. The issue has always been when moving from my bed to my chariot. This bed to chair transition is a challenge because of not having the extra height from shoes. The lack of elevation having footwear when getting out of bed in the morning is what causes most of my falls. Although this slight elevation seems superfluous to most, it gives height at the precise moment that it is needed.

I have a folding style chair that sits at the head of my bed. At my last house, I used this chair to change after my showers, before bed and at wake up time. I currently use this chair mostly as a side table because I dress in my wheelchair and on my bed.

When I was parked next to my bed, I began my quick transfer procedures. I removed my feet from the footrest by placing them on the ground in front of the wheelchair. I noticed that my feet were not in a good position yet I did not correct this as it seemed minor. I scooted my rump to the edge of the seat of my chair to prepare for my simple fling and flop.

I have done this basic hop and drop of my derriere a million times with no issues. The problem this time was the illogically placed and uncorrected foot position. As always I placed my hands for proper push propulsion. I thrust my fists down to launch my posterior onto the new location. With my feet in the incorrect position, I twisted and landed face down on the bed. I was so close to the edge of the bed that there was nothing to grab onto for my recovery. I struggled to flip over and correct my position for several minutes only to lose the battle and slide off of the bed and onto the floor.

I have fallen off the bed before and most times I easily get back up. Most of the time I get into the chair at the head of the bed with proper body part placement. However, this time my body was not cooperating during my self-restoration.

I tried for fifteen minutes to get onto the chair at the head of the bed. My goal was to lunge myself onto my knees that are shoulder-width apart while leaning on the bed and chair. Once I am there, I would place my right hand on the chair and my left on the bed and simultaneously push my body up and turn. This push and turn would land my seat on the seat, and I would sit and rest for two minutes.

I am not proud of my behavior at that moment. After I had been struggling to get up for nearly twenty minutes, my language began to get colorful. I started to cuss out loud like a drunk Marine just before a bar fight.

I decided to forgo the folding chair route and instead attempt getting into my wheelchair. I began to shuffle around so that I could sit in front of my wheelchair to start my wheelchair lifting steps. I did this shimmy having significant difficulty. My legs were more of a hindrance than a help at this point.

As I shifted around to the wheelchair my legs did the spasm thing several times. This leg issue made any movements more of a struggle than wrestling a T-bone steak from a hungry dog. When I finally positioned myself in front of the footrest a new challenge emerged.

My new task was to get my posterior placed precisely on the footrest. This movement would be a difficult task if my legs were merely deadweight. However, they were in spasm mode and not cooperating by not bending. I placed my finally bent legs so that the knees were touching and my feet were shoulder width apart. Then I put my hands at the top of the leg rest and pushed myself upward. The goal was for me to push hard and lift my derriere and place it on the wheelchair seat.

Fifty minutes of continual struggle with two-minute periodic pauses for peace began to wear on me. At this point, I began to contemplate my life choices. Did I do something to anger the big guy? Was I putting enough positivity into the world? Do I give enough to charity? Do I give enough in general? Am I a good person? Although I have used foul language, I have never used the Lord’s name in vain. Does that count for anything? When you struggle like this, you think of everything.

My first attempt to lift my hiney onto the seat was a failure. For the next five minutes, it was: lift, fail, rest, reposition and then repeat. I finally removed the seat cushion lowering the goal height by four inches. At that point, my rear-end finally made it to my chariot. The last step was to get to the bed and transfer from the chair and replace the cushion. At this point, it was fifty-seven minutes of H-E double hockey sticks. However, I can call this massively malefic mission complete.

I left part of the story out because I did not want this blog to be excessively long. This challenging day reminds me that life with multiple sclerosis changes day to day. It says not to let consecutive excellent days lure me into a false sense of security. MS is my new normal, and any idea of “typical” is indeed nonexistent. I still occasionally question my life and I am not sure that will ever change. I am hopefully an okay guy and this was just a difficult day.


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