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Aids to Support Daily Living

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Well, yesterday the wheel chair arrived.

The 3-in-1 commode was delivered and placed a number of days ago.

The handheld shower wand was delivered and DH installed it.

So, now, both a shower stool and the handheld shower wand are available to assist me with showering.

I have been paying attention to signs of fatigue and minimizing stair trips as advised by the occupational therapist. Prior to the delivery and placement of the 3-in-1 commode on the lower level of the house (which does not have a restroom), I was not seeing any connection to the stair trips and fatigue experienced. I suspect it was too subtle and, perhpas, not immediately evident which made it difficult for me to see any connection.

Now, with the 3-in-1 commode in place, it does seem that the fatigue is a bit better.

It seems that firing those quads and glutes to climb the stairs was expending far more energy than I realized. It isn't like climbing 7 stairs leaves me feeling winded or exhausted immediately; but, apparently doing that taxes the energetic reserves more than I knew.

The balance we're seeking feels precarious: remain within the body's energy envelope. I keep getting told to reduce exertion (physical, mental, emotional) and I feel like I'm not 'doing' anything.

It feels like more and more is being taken away: severely restrict physical activity, don't climb the stairs, get a shower chair instead of a shower stool ... you're using too much energy firing your core to sustain a sitting position (Good grief!), limit your personal interactions.

Good thing I am an introvert.

Good thing DH seems to be settling down and accepting the situation. His intitial reactions to the suggestions from the health professionals were extreme. He's still not read the information that the diagnosing physician wanted him to read nearly 2 years ago. It has been a challenging dance.

Here are some of the indications that the placement of the 3-in-1 commode has served to free up some energy:

1. able to refill the hummingbird feeder for the first time in I don't know how long
2. able to help with laundry for the first time in I don't know how long
3. able to do some very gentle stretching
4. able to take a shower ... we're trying to free up enough energy so I can energetically manage a shower once a week

The wheel chair is to be used in the house to provide an immediate place to sit ... stop-pause-rest ... while giving me the ability to scootch myself on over to the couch should the energy not be available to stand and walk to the couch.

They're clearly concerned about fall risk. I did fall (don't know why) in January 2019 which resulted in a bone bruise.

In retrospect, that fall likely happened because the body's energy stores were simply tapped out and the energy needed to remain standing was not there; so, I collapsed. I remember how perplexed I was by what I was experiencing. When the experience was shared with the treating physician at minor injury, he indicated that it was likely due to pain which never did make sense to me.

The experience? Every time I attempted to stand I was dizzy, nauseated, weak and feeling like I was going to pass out. So, I'd squat down on my haunches and rest there until I felt like I could manage standing again. It took me quite a while to squat, rest, stand, take a few steps, squat, rest, stand, take a few steps ... wash, rinse, repeat ... until I managed to get myself to a bench where I could sit and wait for DH to realize that I was in trouble.

I'd experienced a similar enegetic melt down at the gym earlier that same month ... January 2019. Both the personal trainer at the gym and regional park staff (which is where I fell) wanted to summon an ambulance which I refused. Because they could see that I seemed essentially okay, an ambulance was not summoned in eaither case. DH did get me from the regional park straight to the minor injury clinic and from the gym straight home.

It is the weirdest experience to not have a clear sense of the body's energy reserves and know that at any moment the light burning within can blink out in an instant which is what seems to have occurred with the January 2019 fall.

That's what it feels like to me: lights out!

It felt like a switch had been thrown when the exercise tolerance was lost in July 2018 too.

It's kind of like the body's battery has lost it's capacity to recharge with less and less energy available with each recharging.

So, doing what I can to listen to the body, understand and respond to its needs with the assistance of some new aids.


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