No, This Is Not What “Spring Forward” Means

It was another exciting night in the Chait household. One minute I was watching TV; the next, I was watching the floor fly up to smack me in the face. “Jan,” I said to myself, “you’re supposed to lean back in a recliner – not lean forward.”


And then I proceeded to get up onto my scooter. Not always easy. This room serves two purposes: It’s a TV room and it’s my office. In other words, it’s a bit crowded in here, and I can’t park my scooter perpendicular to the front of the chair as usual. Due to the location of the recliner, the scooter seat is closest to the chair.

I managed to turn the seat around, kind of get up on it, then turn the scooter on and back myself up to the recliner, where I slid back onto the seat.

At that point, I was being held hostage by a scooter I couldn’t turn off (too far to reach the key) and couldn’t move manually because it was so tight against me I couldn’t access the lever to put it into freewheel.

Bottom line? Since I was in my chair and didn’t have any bumps, bruises, scratches, or blood, I deemed it safe to call my husband and ask him to move the scooter. (He tends toward panic mode.) Besides, my granddaughter wasn’t answering her phone. (She takes after me and is most likely to deadpan, “I see you found the floor.”)

Life is not perfect. Literally and metaphorically speaking, you’re going to fall and you’re going to have to get back up. It’s best to plan ahead, whether it’s for the possibility of diabetic complications or an unforeseen accident down the road. I run these little “movies” in my head where I try out alternate methods of gettin’ ’er done.

For example, I usually get myself back onto the scooter by putting one hand on the tiller, the other hand on the seat, and pushing up. That doesn’t work if you’re sitting on the floor behind the scooter with its nose pointed away from you and you cannot turn it sideways (I tried).

So I sat on the floor behind the scooter and ran various scenarios across the movie screen in my head. I do get onto the seat from the back of the scooter every day. It’s just that it’s from the seat of my recliner; not from the floor. However, I was able to take that, change some things, and get back to my chair.

There are many, many “movies” floating around in my head: How to get on and off the shower bench; how to get on and off the bed; how to turn over in bed (try it with one leg); how to get into and out of various and sundry vehicles…

And that’s just in my own house. Never mind friend’s houses and public places. It can get quite interesting. I’ll tell you more about that next week.

In the meantime, I’ve been talking to a casual friend whose wife has been in a nursing home since August. First, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, then she broke her ankle. He and I were talking Sunday and he mentioned the two of them coming over when his wife was getting around better.

The next day, it hit me: If he’s waiting for her to get out of the wheelchair, that doesn’t need to happen – I have an accessible house. At least, it’s accessible for me. It will be interesting to see if it’s accessible to somebody else.

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  • jim snell

    Very good Jan. Glad to hear you are ok.

    For me due to lack of body balance control from stroke; I have to make sure I do not struggle around in pitch dark. When I had stroke, hospital trained my vision and brain to replace the missing internal balance control hence no marching around in pitch black or instant dirt dive into my face.

    Best wishes and thanks so much for sharing. The concept of your internal movies for each situation are dead on. When in hospital after stroke they had me roll around in wheel chair all over and practice these scenarios getting in and out a bunch of common challenges.

    Cheers and good luck!

  • Ferne

    I am not in a w/c but have balance problems. I fall without any notice and most of the time we just laugh like when I fell in the waste basket. Getting up can be difficult or in front of a crowd embarrassing. But I am thankful that I can walk with a cane or for distance a w/c. I think of my old age and how many younger people have such serious problems and I’m thankful. The best to you, Jan