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.

Banana_Board

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.

wheelchair_accesible_vehicle_fiat_doblo_black_3

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

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15 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – Mobility issues

    • Thank you, Bridget. Yes, the Doblo was a very good decision. Life would have been very, very, tough if we weren’t able to take dad out. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment.

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    • I know. It’s only when you confront them head on you really understand the implications. I find myself wondering how many years of sentient life I have in front of me – not to mention worrying about my knees which are definitely complaining these days.

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  1. If only everyone was lucky enough to have family who gave this much love and care.
    So many challenges — things that could never be imagined.
    It’s incredibly important to have changes of scenery and just be going , well, somewhere.
    My Dad was lucid enough to say ‘ I don’t drive any more – but Mum’s a very good driver’, but at the same time was starting to try to open the door of the car when going along. EEK!

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    • Thanks for commenting, Julie. Yes, you are right about how important it is to have a change of scenery – and see other faces. We would have gone round the bed if we hadn’t been able to take dad out and he would have become horribly depressed.
      I remember him trying to open the door when I was driving (before the Doblo) and he managed to break the window opener on both my car and my sister’s through constantly playing with it!

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  2. You are an absolute star, Mary! Lack of mobility is a really challenging issue and yet you document the trials of being a carer with no hint of self-pity – always positive, always up-lifting. The Doblo is a brilliant idea – everyone needs a change of scene. I look forward to reading of your next adventures. 🙂

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  3. I know it must be very difficult to decide what items to buy or not to buy — particularly when they’re so expensive. The Doblo sounds to have been a great purchase, though. I know from my parents’ situation (my father is seriously disabled) that getting out makes such a tremendous difference to the quality of life.

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    • We were lucky dad was always a saver – not sure how he’d have felt about spending his money on a vehicle. I like to think he would have approved, especially as it made a huge difference to his life. And it certainly made me realise how very difficult life must be for people who don’t have a nest egg to fall back on. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  4. A shared thing. My Mum’s diagnosed with vascular dementia. She’s still mobile and walks the dog several times each day, but the memory is deteriorating. Thankfully, she’s never driven, so we don’t have that to worry about…

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    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Steve. Sorry to hear your mum has vascular dementia but glad she is still mobile. When we had to stop dad from driving it was terrible as he felt he was losing his independence – but he was no longer safe to be driving. His physical loss of mobility was partly because of arthritis in his hip. Had it not been for the dementia he would have had a hip replacement but it was too late.

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