“The sun feels good this morning, doesn’t it,” I said to Russ, as he pushed me through Publix parking lot, Sunday morning.
“Yes, it does,” he said.
“But soon, the sun won’t feel so good.”
“Oh, it won’t start getting really hot until next month.,” Russ said. “Don’t rush things.”
I nodded and smiled, as if to say, “Yes, Russ, you’re right.” Then, with more than a little help from Russ, I got in the car and we returned to Covenant Woods. He pushed me back to my apartment, went back out and got the groceries, put them away, and took my wall clock down, set it to Eastern Daylight Time, and popped in a fresh battery.
I waited until he left before setting out to satisfy my need to always be right. On a quick visit to Yahoo Weather, I saw that Tuesday’s predicted high is eighty-seven. That is “really hot,” at least to my Yankee sensibilities. And Tuesday is the Ides of March, no less.
* * *
My appointment with Dr. Verson went well. We talked about the difficulty I am having doing even some very simple things. Transferring from the wheelchair to the bed is getting dicey. My uncooperative legs and questionable balance make hitting the sack just that. I get the wheelchair as close to the bed as possible while leaving enough room for my feet. Then I stand up as best I can, put my left hand on the bed to brace myself, and keep my right hand on the wheelchair armrest to make falling back into the chair a little less likely. Then I do my best to fall forward onto the bed. The challenge is to do it without missing the bed or getting my feet and legs tangled up with the wheelchair. Getting them untangled without me ending up on the floor is always a struggle.
We also talked about my need for a new wheelchair. We had discussed it when I saw him in December. The order Columbus Home Medical Equipment got from him, however, was for a scooter. I called Dr. Verson’s office several times to explain that I need a chair. It would take all my remaining strength and coordination, and a heaping helping of good luck for me to get on a scooter. Each time I called, the person who answered said they would pass the message along, and someone would call me back. They never did.
After Dr. Verson put his hands on my knees and told me to lift my legs, checked my arms for strength and coordination, and asked me to close my eyes and touch my nose, first with the index finger of my right hand, then with the index finger of my left, we were led to a small waiting area. We had not waited long when a nurse came in and told me that Amedisys, a home health outfit would be contacting me. That afternoon, Anne from Amedisys called to ask if I would be home Saturday. I told her, “Sure.”
When Anne arrived Saturday, she was full of questions – the usual questions: When were you diagnosed with MS? Are you in pain today? Do you have bladder issues? How often do you have a bowel movement? When was the last time you had a bowel movement? Can you walk at all? From there the questions turned to the difficulties I am experiencing now. I told her what I had told Dr. Verson.
When she ran out of questions, Anne asked me to get on the bed. Nothing makes an already difficult process nigh on impossible quicker than knowing you are being watched and that your effort is being critiqued. I didn’t see her stifle a laugh as she watched me, but I bet she did just before she grabbed me by the pants and helped me on to the bed. Anne then asked me to move my legs – lift them, spread them apart, things like that. I could not do most what she asked me to do, and what I could do, I did feebly. Although, I honestly think I did extremely well when I was asked to wiggle my toes.
After I got off the bed – which I managed to do on my own – Anne told me they will have the Hughston Clinic, an orthopedic place here in Columbus, determine what I need in a wheelchair. That was a relief. My left side is very weak, and I am constantly leaning to the left. Anything that can be done to keep me sitting up straight will be greatly appreciated.
Then Anne said she would return Sunday, the following day. When she got here, she told me to get on the bed. Then she started on my legs. She pushed, pulled, stretched, and made my legs do things they have not done for years. After that, she had me go to the sink and pull myself into the standing position. That was not too bad. I pull myself up several times a day in the course of doing what has to be done. The hard part came when Anne told me to stand up straight, to stand with my chest out. When our time was up, she told me she will be back on Thursday. I am going to have to get in shape by then.