The Aftermath Part 17:
And So it Slows…
I pushed myself as hard as I could through July when the therapist thought I had developed the strength and agility to discharge and continue to work on my balance at home.
My balance never did return, and I continued to fall nearly every day. I kept on until the day before Thanksgiving when I fell and tore my rotator cuff. This left my right arm too weak to properly use my walker and thus ended my ambulation using a prosthesis. I could have had it surgically repaired, waited for it to heal and started over, but there was such a high chance I could fall and be injured again, we agreed that it was not safe to do so.
The next year, I spent trying to get used to life in a manual wheelchair which was very difficult as it takes two arms to propel the chair and none left to carry anything. Again, I was very depressed and felt that I had failed. I really felt dependent on others which went against my independent nature.
Another year spent struggling and feeling inadequate. I stopped going out as much and began to withdraw again. This went on until the next Thanksgiving, when out of the blue, my mother called me to ask if I wanted a power chair. Her neighbor had just received a new one, and was willing to give me her old one, free of charge.
This began my striving to be independent again. The use of a power chair made life much easier and helped conserve my limited amount of energy.
A year later, I found I was eligible for a new chair, completely free of charge courtesy of Medicare and Medicaid. Since I was given my first one, I passed it along free to someone else in need.
An electric wheelchair does present a few difficulties. It requires daily charging and periodic maintenance. It is far too heavy to place in a car, necessitating the use of bus with a wheelchair lift; our bus system is far from user friendly, so I still have my manual wheelchair to use when I have to travel by car.
I have never even considered trying to drive again, although I know amputees who do. I don’t have the courage, and even get nervous when riding with others near semi-trucks.
Almost to the end...