It’s Day 22 of ‘National Health Blog Post Month’. One of today’s prompt asks us to write about we are thankful for – as I have already done this in a recent post (Day 5: Giving Thanks!) I have decided to use the second prompt. The second prompt asks us to write about change.
Well, my life at the moment are going through some changes. The biggest change is that I am going out more, and to new places, thanks to my new personal assistant whom I was able to employ thanks to a grant provided by the local council through a scheme called ‘Direct Payments.’ When I am out with my Personal Assistant, I am not just visiting places that I need to go – but am also starting to visit new places, or places that I have not been able to access for a long time. And for the first time, I do not even have to rely on my parents to buy essentials for me, such as shampoos and conditioners, shower gel for me anymore – I can get them myself and even decide on the brand for myself!
The house – outside and inside has also seen some changes this week. A few weeks ago, I had a visit from a Community Occupational Therapist, to have a chat with me and to look around the house, and whether any adaptations could be recommended to make my life easier moving around the house, and of course, to prevent accidents. For example, outside my house there are steps leading to the front door, steps which had no rails to hold onto – this for me, causes a real problem, as when I need to circumnavigate steps or stairs of any kind, I need something which I can hold onto, to prevent stumbles and falls, especially when the visual disturbances presents itself as I cannot always clearly see the steps to safely walk down. Before now, i used to walk down a little grass banking at the side of the house to get to Dad’s car – the Community Occupational Therapist saw a potential danger with doing that – as if when in the case of heavy downfall (which happens a lot in Wales!) the grass will get slippery, and leads to the increase risk for a fall. So, she referred me for some adaptations to be done to the house – such as external rails for the outside steps, an internal rail for the stairs (we already have one, but the OT thought a second one on the opposite wall would be beneficial) , and a drop-down rail for the bathroom.
These changes have now all been installed and ready for action – and are already been incredibly handy for me!
Another change that has happened for me lately is the move from using a crutch all the time when I am out and about to using a manual wheelchair. The reason for this is the worsening of the weakness in the legs, which for me leaves me unable to stand or walk for long periods – obviously when I am with my Personal Assistant, this requires me to be out for pretty much the entire day (around 7 hours), and so need a wheelchair to be able to manage this.
This doesn’t come without its problems however. One of my main symptoms, as you all know by now is the constant dizziness. The dizziness, can still be really bad, even when sitting down; a symptom which really won’t go away. And so the dizziness, is causing a real problem when I am using the wheelchair – being pushed and seeing everything whizz past, doesn’t do anything to help the constant movement that I already live with – and almost makes me feel really unsafe sitting in the chair. Using the wheelchair going into shops is also a problem, as it causes the need to look up to see items – and tilting my head back to look up is one of my triggers – and can set the dizziness to high!!
I would love to hear others’ stories about being new to using a wheelchair and perhaps some tips to help me adjust to the new experience of using a wheelchair. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!