Sunday, December 26, 2010

If wishes are challenges ...

If wishes are challenges … then this must be Christmas

Our wheelchair van failed us on Christmas Eve. So it was back to the old days and old ways of transferring to and from wheelchair to vehicle, except progression of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms had erased Patti’s old days abilities to assist in transferring.

Vehicle transfers unlike a pivot transfer (one-person transfer technique, the hug) from wheelchair to bed necessitate a contortionist extension of a caregiver’s / carer’s back into the vehicle.

Toss on top of holiday amplified Multiple Sclerosis symptoms the stress and confusion of being twisted, pushed, and pulled in and out of a vehicle unlike Patti has experienced in years and the best present of all was that our journey into Christmas past ended without a fall through a total of eleven transfers.

Today Patti’s needs of daily living are supported by fresh shifts of staff and lifts while I try to stretch myself back into something resembling an erect standing person and our wheelchair van waits in a repair shop lot. Should a Christmas entry feel like a battle casualty report?

For most Christmas is and should be about enjoying dreams of dancing sugar plums followed by a frenzy of tearing open presents. … For others well it can be somewhat different.

- A layoff, an illness or a death in the family can change everything. People spending Christmas at this emergency shelter never imagined this would be their Christmas. Strangers band together to celebrate the holidays

- When surgery prevented a caregiver parent from carrying their 75 lb child with cerebral palsy up 14 stairs to his bedroom, a high school student athlete volunteered his time, arms, back and heart. A simple act elevates all 

Like reading tea leaves, may we all see hope in the litter of Christmas wrappings.

… And so this is Christmas

For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear …
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1971    

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. I hope your van comes out of sick bay soon. In the meantime, take care of your back.

  2. hugs to you all, Patrick. I hope Patti didn't get hurt in her fall and I hope your back mends sooner than later. Hoping the van doesn't fail you guys again during holiday times. I had to work a half day on Christmas (no biggies, it was just fine) and as I was typing this report and that report, I typed of falls on ice, strokes, heart attacks, etc and thinking "oh geesh, these poor people's Christmases", but unfortunately we are never guaranteed how it will be from year to year ot who will not be at our table next year when we celebrate it. So we do the best we can, which I think is what you tried to do despite all the challenges posed to you. I hope despite all those challenges there was a bit of joy in the day and a smile in your heart.

    may the new year be a kind one


  3. I hope the van gets out of the hospital soon. And I hope YOU hold up.

  4. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Our wheelchair van was diagnosed, healed and back in action for minimal cost by Monday afternoon. If only the skill of mechanics could work with MS and backs.

    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick


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