Sunday, February 01, 2009

Battered Hope

Yesterday served up battered hope with a side portion of reality.

There were definitely good things that happened.
We found a work table that will be the perfect height for anything I want to do at home with the power chair.
We found the exact dresser we wanted, on sale in the as-is section of Ikea.
I was able to get the supplies I needed to put together my Master's application for the Knitting Guild Master's program (now ot knit the samples and write the papers.)

Overshadowing the good things was a big dose of bad.

It will be impossible for me to go anywhere by myself in the van with the new chair until or unless we find some other adaptive technology for mating the chair with the van.
Backing up into the ramp without someone to tell me when I have it right is impossible. The wheels turn even after I've lined myself up perfectly as soon as I move again.
There is less than 1/4 inch clearance for the chair on the ramp side to side, and negative clearance front to back. Actually, enough negative clearance that the only way to load the chair onto the ramp is with my legs overhanging.

We determined this in the worst possible way. I tried driving forward onto the ramp after spending 15 frustrating minutes in the bitter cold backing repeatedly with Oscar trying to guide me from the driver's seat.
As far as I could perceive, The chair was on the ramp, I had raised it to enter, and I was adjusting the legs of the chair to hopefully clear the lip into the van.

When the legs caught at the entrance to the van, somehow the protective flap at the back of the ramp went down. It's possible I bumped the controls in the tight quarters, or it could have been an automatic result of jamming the legs against the lip of the ramp where it enters the van.

The result was the chair tipped backward, suspending me with my head five feet above concrete. The rear tires of the chair were off the back of the ramp. Any movement of the ramp to lower it could have overbalanced the chair.
Oscar tried his best to pull me in the van, but could not get leverage. If he had gotten out to push from the back, the difference in angle as his weight left the far side of the van would likely have tipped the chair the rest of the way off. I am not ashamed to admit that I was terrified.
If not for two Good Samaritans, who pushed me back onto the ramp, I don't know what might have happened. I am more grateful than I can adequately express that they cared enough to save me.

I am still very grateful to have the chair. It will make events like the convention in February possible, and enjoyable. Oscar and I will be able to go to museums and zoos, and lots of other places.

When the weather improves sometime in March, I will be able to go outside, and drive the chair around the neighborhood, and that will be lovely. I will be able to visit the garden, and hope that I will find some way to pull weeds and stuff.

It will take me a little time to get over the hopes that were crushed yesterday, that's all, and to find new hope if we can someday afford some nebulous thing that may make the van work down the road. Liz suggested a rearmount rack like some people use for scooters. That would work, if they make them for my kind of chair. I could maybe use the manual wheel chair for moving from the back of the van to the inside.

We'll find out, and in the meantime I am going to be gentle with my body today. It got kind of messed up when I tried to save myself.


momtroll said...

I an so very sorry for the awful experience you had. Yet I am over joyed that you did not fall. Sometimes our blessings come when we least expect it. Bless you.

JaM said...

I second the joy that you did not fall. Also wanted to say how much I like the look of your blog, esp banner and latest photos. Love the pic of Oscar in hat. And I appreciate the work you do to write and publish for your worldwide readers. Happy knitting.

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Well, big huge drat. I'm so sorry you guys had to go through all that, both the immediate scare with the lift and the disappointments of more independence outside the house.

It's good that you can see the up side... disability is just not fair, but whatever you can do to keep yourself from going down in the dumps for long will be good for you (even selfish in the good way) in the medium-to-long term.

Figure out what you can to love yourself while the clarity sinks in a bit. Good coffee, perhaps?


MarieAngel said...

Ying & Yang Diana. I know exactly how it feels. You get some good things happening, finally and then the other shoe drops. Just be thankful that these are all things that will resolve themselves in the future one way or the other. Don't give up! You have a wonderful man by your side who would do anything for you. That in itself is the biggest blessing you could ever receive. Never mind the stumbling blocks, You are not alone:)

From one who knows how it feels,

Lutrah's Ocean Alter said...

Oh, pooh!
Don't give up! there may be a resolution yet...
I'm so glad that you didn't fall, that must have been terrifying...
keep your eyes open, and you may yet find the solution to the problem....