Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Active Invalid

My wife is slowly learning to live within her limitations. The limitations of being able to use only one arm. The limitations of being able to use only one leg. The limitations of being able to take Percoset only once every 6 hours.

She is now scooting around the house quite successfully on the office chair, which means she has some mobility. But she has to scoot backwards, pushing with her good leg, so the price of this mobility is that her good leg is now burning with the effort. She has to lift her body out of chairs and car seats using her good arm. By the time this is over, she’s going to look like a steroid freak on her right side and like limp spaghetti on the left.

Once my wife is sitting immobile in a chair, or lying in bed, she feels pretty good, almost perky. A friend came to visit and stayed a couple of nights, so we went out to eat. My wife wanted to go to Outback Steakhouse, but I vetoed that because she can’t cut up a steak using only one arm. She hadn’t thought of that, so we went out for nice mushy Italian food.

Yesterday, I put our daughter on a plane for Atlanta to visit a relative. The original plan was that we would drive up later, stay a couple of days, and we’d all drive back. We agonized over whether my wife could make the trip, but she feels pretty comfortable in a car, because of the support offered by the seat. So the plan is, we’ll drive up to Atlanta on Christmas day, despite my misgivings about her ability to use the facilities at rest stops along the way. If necessary, I’ll just wheel her in myself and hope the women inside are not armed.

A friend helped us find two bedside commodes, which are far superior to the stupid camp toilet I found at Wal-Mart. So she’s able to go to the bathroom whenever she needs to, without any help, even in the middle of the night. I returned the camp toilet to Wal-Mart today, assuring the suspicious lady at the Customer Service desk that it had not been used.

The commode collection.

So I’ve been doing a lot of running around, usually pushing a wheelchair, and all of the household chores are now my responsibility. So my aged creaky knees are inflamed, and I’m forbidden to touch the Percoset.

I have received permission to publish these pictures of my wife’s injuries. She has large ugly bruises on both arms, but strangely, the broken ankle hardly looks different than the good one. She keeps it in this AirBoot gizmo that comes with a little pump so you can inflate it or deflate it, immobilizing her ankle joint. I wonder if they make those things for knee joints?

The unbroken right arm.

The seriously broken left arm.

The AirBoot.

The inflator/deflator.

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