Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life in a wheelchair.

Dear neglected, overlooked, and ignored blog,
It’s been two weeks and two days since Liz and I made the fateful decision to have Vietnamese noodles for breakfast.  Maybe the idea was so crazy that I deserve the consequences. 
Anyway, we had been in Montreal for six days, attending the CMSC (Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers) conference.  We both love Montreal so we stayed in town for two extra days to have some fun.  On Monday morning we decided we were hungry for Vietnamese pho for breakfast (neither of us really likes breakfast food) so, at 7 AM, after we packed our bags, we set out on foot to Chinatown to find the noodles we had eaten two days before. 
Maybe I’m too old to multitask, but, when I saw the first “noodle” sign, my foot slipped off the pavement and I tumbled into what had been a planter in the middle of the sidewalk. 
Ambulance to hospital, broken pelvis, pain like I’d never experienced (I broke my elbow and washed my kitchen floor before I would go to the ER.), two days in the hospital, trip home to Miami delayed until Thursday, and the last two weeks in a wheelchair.  You wouldn’t believe the effort it takes just to go to the bathroom.
Thank you, family: Liz spent an extra week with me, and my husband, who decided he doesn’t want to be a nurse when he grows up, took a week off.  Can’t decide what’s worse, the pain, inconveniencing everyone I love, or looking at my dirty floors.  Try as I might, I haven’t been able to figure out how to rig a vacuum to my wheelchair. 
In an earlier post, I wrote about my feelings when I realized that the lady in the wheelchair on the cruise ship was interested in the color of my lipstick.  Little did I know that I would be the lady in the wheelchair.
Life in a wheelchair really does turn you into a non person.  Last week we ran into someone we had seen and spoken to regularly.  He was walking his little dachshund and didn’t even talk to me.  He didn’t ask what had happened, and, when I turned to pet his dog, he told the dog to come around to the front of the chair so I could see him.  I wanted to say something, but I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I played the non person role.
When we went into the office at the park where we were staying (Life in our motor home was easier because I didn’t have that far to go and could support myself on my walker which I dubbed “the sidewinder” because it didn’t fit in the aisle.), the conversation turned to our Miami Heat.  Why did the guys in the office act so shocked when I joined their conversation?  I wanted to shout “I can’t walk but I can hear, and I can talk, and I still do like the Heat.”
And so, life has gone on.  I just chipped my nail polish and have to figure out how to get to the bathroom to fetch the polish remover, carry all the stuff with me, and polish my nails.  Yes, I really do care about the color of the lipstick and am still the same person who is obsessed with chipped nail polish.  I’d better not chip the polish on my toes because I can’t bend down to reach my feet.
What I wouldn’t do for a service dog.


  1. bless your heart!! i cannot imagine the pain of a broken pelvis... yeouch!!

    as for being treated as a non-person, that makes me mad.... i don't know why people are so mean and thoughtless.... i'm sorry you are having to go thru that...

    you need a canvas tote bag you can hang on the chair for all your goodies... polish, remover, files, books, candy, etc....

  2. I'm so sorry that this happened to you! True, it does now give you the true perspective of a person in a wheelchair, but what a way to get there! I guess I've been lucky, as I don't feel like the invisible woman in the wheelchair. In fact, most of the time I seem to somehow receive special treatment. An example being, needing to pick up tickets for a concert at Will Call, and having the venues policeman go out of his way to get them for me ... even though I was with my daughters! People wanting to help me, when I clearly can't help myself. In fact I remember the day I bought my first cane. A friend of mine steered me into a Walk Shop while shopping in a large mall one day, and made it clear to me that it was time to buy one. Not so much because I needed it to walk, as much as I needed it to make it clear that I had a medical problem, and that I wasn't drunk! I do hope that you start having better experiences ... and yes, going to the bathroom is a nightmare! Do you have a grabber, in order to reach things? And Sherri's idea of a bag to put things in is a good one. I too had always kept my nails done (I was a manicurist for years), but sadly some 'musts' do fall by the wayside...they just lose their importance over time. Mine are always filed, and cared for, but seldom polished anymore. There are light weight vacuum cleaners out there that you could use if you have a powered chair. I don't quite know how you could wheel yourself, and vacuum. Well you could if you just were to move yourself from place to place and then vacuum around you as far as you can reach. I have a Simplicity vacuum, which like the Oreck is lightweight and powerful! I know the floor's been getting to you. Just remember, this is temporary! You shall live to vacuum another day!

    Truly hope that you're not in too much pain, and that you're healing well. You never even got your noodles that day, did you? If you need any tips my friend, please, just ask ... Gail

  3. Thanks for the advice and well wishes. I'm only hoping that tomorrow is better than today, as the dust keeps rolling on.