The Goldfish loves the new car. I love his car, too, though I find the accelerator is just at the right height to give me a dreadful pain in my ankle after a few miles. I’ll get used to it just like I will get used to actually getting the Goldfish into it – and out again.
If he’s sitting in his armchair he has to transfer to his wheelchair, using the stand aid. This is quite a performance on its own but we’ve all become well-practised and the Goldfish grips the handles as though
he’s about to take off on a motorbike! With some manoeuvring and pushing and pulling the stand aid I position the stand aid so I can lower the Goldfish into his wheelchair. Unbuckle all the stand aid straps and put his seatbelt on.
I proceed cautiously, backwards, down the ramp, along the gravel path to the back of the car. Get the ramp down and push the wheelchair in. Sometimes it works and the chair slides up the ramp quite easily, sometimes it doesn’t and we stick half way with me braced against the weight of the wheelchair. It’s difficult to get a good run at it over gravel and I seriously contemplate having the drive tarmacked.
I then spend the next ten minutes fastening everything which needs to be fastened to ensure both the wheelchair and the Goldfish are completely secure. Go back to the house to collect handbag, the Goldfish’s bag and lock the door. Return to the Doblo – to find the Goldfish has managed to unbuckle his seatbelt. Fasten him in again, slide the ramp back in and shut the door.
Get in behind the wheel, keeping an eye on the Goldfish in case he starts to unbuckle everything again. Once we set off he usually watches the passing countryside, commenting occasionally on the volume of traffic. Conversation, no longer easy at any time, is even more difficult when we’re in the car and he’s talking to the back of my head.
At our destination I park outside the Day Centre, run round to open the back, take down the ramp, unbuckle all the straps and guide the wheelchair backwards down the ramp. Now, I am faced with a steep bit of pavement and another slope up to the door of the day centre. I am exhausted. The Goldfish is greeted warmly; people rush off to bring coffee for him, a plate of biscuits. He smiles serenely at everyone and falls asleep. I leave, thanking my lucky stars the DH is collecting the Goldfish – getting him out of the Day Centre is even more difficult than getting him in.
Despite the difficulties of getting the Goldfish in and out of the car it is wonderful to be able to take him out. Being cooped up in the house would be so bad for us all. What I don’t understand is why, with all the pushing of wheelchairs and stand aids my upper arms still have ‘bingo wings’ rather than being toned and trim.