My Dad’s a Goldfish – have Doblo will go places

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


The stand aid is an amazing contraption andwithout it we’d have struggled to move the Goldfish when he could no longer walk.

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.


The Doblo meant freedom for us all. I wish the drive at his house  was as smooth as this.


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.


21 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – have Doblo will go places

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Mary Smith is a talented author and journalist but she is also like many of us have been a carer for an elderly parent. Her father has Alzheimer’s Disease and as this post illustrates there are many things that a carer needs to master, one being the invaluable but sometimes uncooperative wheelchair.. my mother had one that seemed to have a will of its own, especially when navigating paving stones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for dropping in Sally, and for reblogging. I really appreciate it. Yes, wheelchairs – like shopping trolleys – have a mind of their own. And they don’t do well on gravel!


  2. As usual you capture the situation with affection and humor but also realism. Love the wheelchair as a character. My mother’s definitely had personality, yellow tennis ball feet and all…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Sometimes, I was nearer to tears than laughter when stuck half way up a ramp, feeling like I couldn’t possibly push to the top! Dad took it all in his stride with his usual calm and dignity. And we did laugh sometimes together over the disobedient wheelchair.
      You’ve intrigued me with the yellow tennis ball feet on your mother’s wheelchair!


  3. Great news that you have found a way of moving your dad around. I’m sure the toning and trimming of your arms are just around the corner. I have the same problem with my waist: I’m eating less and exercising more but those grab handles are still there!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re father is blessed to have you Mary. I know from my husband’s recent stint in and out of hospital that I could probably use a course on proper wheelchair handling myself. You seem like a champ! And sheesh, I work out with weights 3 times a week to try and keep some semblance of myself, yet the batwings prevail, lolol.
    PS: glad I finally found your blog page through Sally reblogging this. When I searched you I got your website and didn’t notice any link to this blog. I’m now happily following. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, Debby – and thanks for signing up to follow. Sally is great for reblogging, isn’t she!
      Yeah, wheelchairs are tricky. I used to see people pushing them and never gave a thought to how hard it was – especially up and down kerbs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is true Mary. That’s why we can never know what things are like until we’ve worn the shoes. 🙂
        PS I just saw a tragic spelling error in my first comment. Yikes! ‘you’re’ instead of your father. My goodness, fat fingers, my bad! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • I love that you think I’m so slight! Dad was no lightweight and wheelchairs are heavy and awkward – and I’m spatially challenged and don’t know left from right, all of which made life interesting at times! Thanks so much for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh that sounds quite a workout, Mary. Your dad is lucky to have such a caring family. There was a short piece in the news today, raised by Age Concern, highlighting the rising number of people in their 80s who are struggling as carers. I’m not the least bit surprised they’re struggling! Caring is one the hardest jobs anyone must do – although I appreciate it’s done for love. Glad you still find opportunities to share a laugh with your dad. I just hope we get a decent summer so you can show off your newly toned upper bod!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rae. Believe me, the upper bod could not be described as toned!
      I read an article in paper about the carers in their 80s. I think over the next decade we’re going to be facing huge problems in caring for people with dementia – or even frail elderly. Care agencies aren’t going to be able to cope and families can’t do it all by themselves.


  6. I think you’re marvellous Mary! Where some people see problems – you see solutions.
    What a god send the wheelchair was.
    The wheelchair question was a bit of a haze in regards to Dad. Possibly, it was the bafflement of the Lewy body dementia, but he alternated between going on a 40min walk with me (albeit very slowly) to inching around the bungalow reaching out for the walls. Our brains ached with the confusion of how Dad was not able to put on a shoe with a velco strap, but could dismantle electrical appliances with meticulous care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I’m marvellous, Julie, but thank you!
      It really is strange how some things seem unsurmountable to the person with dementia – like the velcro strap shoe (dad had those, too) – yet they can do other things which would be too complicated for us. The brain really is a mystery, still.


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