Thursday, May 12, 2005

transfer to vehicle

Until recently transferring in and out of a car has been a blessed enigma to Patti’s MS progression. That quirk has enabled her with opportunity.


Sadly over the last several months her ability has been fading. Increasingly attempting to transfer to and from a wheelchair and a passenger car places both herself and anyone helping her at risk.


Unlike a bedroom or a shower no Hoyer sling lift, or Posey belt, nor are multiple attendants of much help in the confined space and limited opening of a car door.


Loss of this talent for transferring dramatically changes Patti’s access to houses of family, friends, and the outside world of restaurants, movies, and more.


Tuesday I spent nearly an hour unsuccessfully working with Patti, and her physical therapist trying to safely transfer Patti to and from her wheelchair and our family car. We tried transfer boards and Posey belts. We tried front vs back seats, and left and right sides of car.  We exhausted all logical ideas and devoted time to thinking outside the proverbial box.


For months I’ve wanted to blame anything except progression. However, every symptom and issue has been systematically isolated and treated. Accepting progression is more difficult from the outside looking in. In reality Patti is unable to participate in any other transfer such as to bed or shower chair, etc.  It really was amazing that her ability to transfer to a car remained as long as it did. (In fact she still can somewhat transfer ‘out of’ the car to the wheelchair – just not ‘into’ the car. MS is always strange in its manifestations).


Whatever, the bottom line is for the consistency of Patti’s safety and the safety of any one attending her we must enter a new transportation era if Patti is to be able to dependably experience the freedom of opportunity.


This of course may seem odd that we do not already own a vehicle with a lift or ramp. However neither house we’ve owned has ever had a ramp or “visible” ramp. In the past Patti never wanted such things. She “could” transfer therefore she “would” transfer. In days of long ago, she 'fought' progression however she could even if irrational.


Until I figure out something involving a wheelchair accessible vehicle at least I have the physical strength and “can” still lend her a hand and wrestle her in to our car and the opportunity for adventure.


There's an appropriate line from a poem by Robert Burns, borrowed from a song of the dawn of time in the Scottish Highlands: (today butchered by drunks on New Year's Eve as Auld Lang Syne <grin>)


“… And there's a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand of thine! …

For days of long ago.”

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, I understand the problem.  Three years ago my husband and I tried to transfer him to the passenger seat for a cross country trip.  We did have the ramp into the van,  the ramps into the house,etc, but he wanted to sit in the car seat.    Now I am leaving on my first trip without him.  Flying across country to be with my mother as my step-father has passed away.  Someone other than myself will be  taking care of him,, always new developments.  As each new day comes, new challenges arrive.  How we handle them makes our spouses comfortable or stressed.  I hope I am doing this right!  Take hope that we are strong for each new challenge.


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