Wheelchair Diaries #3



The ‘papagayo’.


First Light

It starts with removing the mosquito net and having coffee in bed.  Then nature calls and the need to move weight.  The lift is placed over the center of the rolling toilet seat parked next to the bed and all brakes are set.  Hettie moves the ‘papagayo’ grip to a hook on the lift.  With my right hand I pull my weight up and over while Hettie lifts up my left shoulder and pushes.  Boom. I land centered on the toilet seat. We’re on a roll.

This begins our morning ritual.  To the toilet, shave (I do this myself) and shower where I lean my head backwards and Hettie shampoos my hair-what a wonderful feeling.  Then she washes the rest of my body.  It all takes about a half hour.

I get rolled back to the living room where we transfer from rolling toilet seat to wheelchair.  This is a bit dodgy, but we work out the logistics and get my sorry ass from seat with hole to seat with no hole.  Then Hettie rolls me to water’s edge.  I sit poolside and view the sea.  Off to my right is the scene of the crime where I fell 10 days ago.  It’s so good to be back home.  I hope to relish being sequestered here for the next five weeks, but there are and will be more challenges.  At night I can sleep on my back and both sides.  But it’s a night time shuffle– rolling to one position, falling asleep, waking up and rolling to another.  I’m restless because I need to keep both feet and left arm elevated so that the blood doesn’t flow down to the extremities.  That puts me in a most unusual position.  I am relearning how to fall asleep and it has not been easy.

I have heard that a few people have laughed upon hearing about my accident.  I don’t understand this.  There is nothing funny about this.  Perhaps their laughter is based on the absurdity of breaking three out four limbs. It could be the old “slipping on the banana peel” syndrome.  But for me it is only about weeks of extreme pain and discomfort.  I just don’t get the joke.

IMG_0871 (1)

A hematoma below the break of my left arm.

Sometimes I ponder how this event should have happened if it had to happen.  How about falling from the mast of a sailboat?  That’s what my friend Yellowman did a few years ago.  He severely fractured his back, but is mobile enough today to return to sunfish sailing.  He’s an inspiration for my comeback now.  Or how about a massive spill at the top of a wave at the Banzai Pipeline, a wicked reef break at Oahu’s north shore?220px-Empty_wave_at_Banzai_Pipeline  If you are going to get injured, that’s far better than a pedestrian fall off of a ladder.  Ah, but us mortals can’t write the unexpected events that happen along the way.  As Firesign Theater once eloquently proclaimed, “We are all bozos on this bus.”

Next up…..              On the road again.


4 thoughts on “Wheelchair Diaries #3

  1. Pat, my friends are all reading Wheel Chair Diaries……wishing you a speedy recovery and since they are all teachers, marvel at your writing skills. Karen is the nurse and thinks you have a wonderful attitude,positive outlook for the journey you are on. No one laughed at this horrific accident….and being your sister , l would have to punch them in the nose if they did. Ronnie thinks you should write a novel from paradise while you are laid up. We are all cheering you on my brother…..and we all think Hettie is an angel! Love Jonni

  2. Wow Patrick, this is simply horrible to read about. What a painful injury. We just had a good friend in Denver fall on the ice in Aspen causing a spiral fracture in his leg bone just above the ankle . A metal plate and screws in it. He is now on his feet 3 months later and doing physical therapy, but still moving with a limp. i told him he needed a more creative story about a huge head over fall on one of Aspen’s double diamonds. We need to be more careful in our later years as these old bodies just don’t heal like they used to.

    Wishing you all the best for a full recovery……..Peace & Love, Rick.

  3. I’m taking more care since hearing from you! Get well soon. I miss you! Lee

    Sent from my iPhone (203-832-8867)


  4. After several days on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, away from emails, I’m catching up. Horrified to learn of your fall & injuries, but grateful for Hettie’s nursing skills & TLC. Sending love & energy for restored health, mi amigo😙

    Leave Annapolis tomorrow for 2 days in D.C. Will check in with you upon return home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s