My Dad’s a Goldfish – Mobility issues

cropped-goldfish-87-1254566814ncva1.jpgI can’t believe how long it is since I last put up a post on the blog. As always, I can only say I will try to do better and be more organised in future.

The Goldfish now started to sleep through the night so we could dispense with the overnighters who had been so disastrous, though they meant well.

The Goldfish seemed to enjoy his days at the day centre. As there were so few people attending the ratio of staff and volunteers to attendees was high, which meant he received plenty of attention, something he greatly enjoyed. However, it was becoming increasingly difficult to get him there – or anywhere – as his mobility had declined so much.

Even when he was still mobile but needed his walker, getting out the house was a hazardous event with two steps at the back door to be negotiated. I would go out first and stand at the bottom of the steps, while the Goldfish tilted his walking frame over the edge of the top step. He then sort of jumped down on to the next step, shoving the walker ahead of him while I grabbed hold of it to steady it and keep everything and everyone from landing in a heap. Health and Safety would have had a field day.

When he became reliant on his wheelchair we invested in a ramp – described in the catalogue as portable, though none of us, with the exception of the DH could have moved it. It weighed a ton. The front door steps were shallow and wide so this was where the ramp was placed. Leaving the house became slightly less risky. When I first attempted to take the Goldfish out of the house that way I was unprepared for the weight of him and the chair on a slope. Terrified the wheelchair would shoot off to the bottom of the ramp, tipping out the Goldfish, I made the exit backwards.

The next step was to persuade the Goldfish to transfer from the wheelchair into the passenger seat of the car – without causing irreparable damage to my back. In fact it was soon impossible for either Wee-sis or I to manage this feat. The DH could but was it was clearly only a matter of time until he put his back out.


The banana board, which proved not to be a good idea.


We asked for help and two district nurses (I think they are called community nurses now?) arrived with a banana board. As the name suggests this was a board shaped like a banana. One end slid onto the seat of the wheelchair, the other onto the car seat and the Goldfish could just slide along. That was the theory. While the Goldfish had the body strength to carry out the manoeuvre, he did not have the cognitive capacity to work out what to do. He perched on the board looking bemused. Scratch the banana board.

The only way was going to be to buy a vehicle into which we could push the wheelchair up a ramp and inside. Much discussion followed about whether or not we could justify using the Goldfish’s money on such an expensive item. The alternative was to give up on day centre and other outings and only be able to take the Goldfish out for walks in his wheelchair. The Scottish weather decided us and the Doblo came into our lives.


With the purchase of the wheelchair accessible vehicle we could ensure the Goldfish was not trapped at home but could enjoy outings as before.