Monday, September 15, 2008

Stairway to heaven

The knee is continually being jostled. Each bump causes intense pain.

Yesterday. Yesterday, H and J both smacked it several times. They felt terrible about it. I still feel the after-effects of their repeated blows today. I am thankful for painkillers.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow, the staples come out. I hear that hurts. But I am hopeful that the pain will start to subside once the staples are gone.

I try to move around some each day. I can get around pretty well now with my walker. And I'm getting better on the crutches. But stairs are still a challenge. And of course, we live in a 2-storey house.

When I was released from hospital, I had to navigate a bit to get home. I had to get up and down curbs, in and out of the van, up the three steps to our veranda, and over our threshold. It was difficult. I never realized that the rise of our veranda stairs is so crazy. The steps are really, really high! I went up the first step with the crutches, but I had to put my bad leg out at a crazy angle, and it hurt horribly. After the first step, I thought better of it, and I sat down and scooted the rest of the way up. Once at the top, I had to figure out how to get back to my feet. From ground level. With only one good leg. The solution was found in J's picnic table. It was conveniently situated on the veranda, and I used it. Two small pushes up - one to the bench, and one to the top - and I was then sitting at the perfect height to get back to my feet, aided by the crutches.

Our inside stairs are even steeper than those veranda steps; high rise, narrow tread, and many more than three steps. Not my favourite feature of the house. And those stairs are why I have been living on the main floor. I mean, our stairs are rather dangerous even with two good legs. But on crutches? I'd probably fall down and break the other leg. Or maybe my neck this time. Mess me up real good. 'Cause that's how I roll.

So I live on the main floor as much as possible. Once I can weight-bear on the left again, I can go up the stairs more frequently. It's not too bad, really. The main floor is fully equipped. Mostly. But there is one problem. Our showers are on the top floor. And I like showers. A lot. Sure, I can have sponge baths and wash my hair in the sink. But that kind of thing just doesn't replace a nice shower. I miss my showers. I want my showers. At this point, a nice long shower would feel like a little piece of heaven.

Okay. So I can't exactly stand, balancing on my one good leg, for long enough to manage this feat. But we have a shower seat. We have a tub clamp. We borrowed these things from the equipment loans program. So I can get in and out of the tub. And once in, I can sit down to shower, with no weight being placed on the offending limb. That will work. I can have a shower. In theory. Really, all that stands in my way is a full flight of death-trap stairs.

(Did I mention that they're covered in the most slippery carpet I've ever seen? And that each tread is completed with a rounded lip that you can catch your foot on, or slide right off of with ease? Did I mention that I am not the only one to have fallen down these things? On more than one occasion? Did I mention that they are not my favourite feature of the house?)

I just have to get up the stairs, get back to my feet at the top, and crutch-walk to the bathroom. That is all. That can't be insurmountable. People do this sort of thing every day. How hard can it be? (Did I mention that I am a klutz? So much so, in fact, that H has requested I not crutch-walk when he is not at home, for fear that I will lose my balance and injure myself further when he is not around to help me? "Please, just use the walker, okay?")


T: I need to get upstairs. I want to have a shower.
H: Are you going to be able to make it all the way up on the crutches?
T: I don't think so. I'll have to sit on the stairs and scoot up.
H: How are you going to get back on your feet once you reach the top?
T: You'll need to bring J's little picnic table in from outside and put it at the top of the stairs. I'll use that.
J: You're going to bring in my picnic table?
T: Yes, J.
J: So I can have a picnic inside?
T: No, J. We're just going to use it so that Mommy can stand back up.
J: No. My picnic table can't come inside. Because it's for picnics.

(Great. Thanks. Thanks so much. I bought you that dang picnic table, and all your other stuff too, incidentally, you ungrateful little troll, and I'll use anything I see any fool way I like, and ... deep, cleansing breath.)

T: It's just to help Mommy briefly, J. Then we'll put it back outside, and you can have a picnic. Okay?

J is thinking about it.

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