Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Going down?

 Everything Maggie needs she needs for her day is loaded on the back of her wheelchair. Loading it is an art form unto itself. In order to push the chair comfortably, or even to fit in the elevator, things have to be placed in the proper order. Today I was not attentive enough and we had trouble getting the elevator door closed. I need to go to grocery bagging school to improve my technique.

The back of Maggie’s wheelchair is a crowded place. Two bags are always on there. One has the emergency resuscitation bag, which has to be kept close at hand. (There is another hanging off her bed). Fortunately, we have never had to use that, but it will always be there because as soon as I remove it, she will get into trouble. The second small bag contains a spare trach and all the necessary supplies should we need an emergency trach change. That one we have used several times. You just never know when she will pull out her trach or break the ties, so we are at the ready on that one.

The next three things are big. There is the communication device, which is a bit larger and heavier than a laptop. That goes in the briefcase like bag. Every morning we have to fill the portable oxygen tank and that goes on next. The strap on that tank is a little too short and it sometimes sticks out at a strange angle. If it’s don’t right, the O2 tank will fit in the space just above the briefcase bag which has a longer strap and hangs down lower. Finally, the suction machine goes on last because we need that every two minutes. It is easily accessible because it is open to the person pushing the chair and doing the suctioning. Fortunately, there are anti tip wheels because without them, the weight of her supplies would pull the chair over backwards.

The force was not with me this morning and I was struggling to get the elevator door closed with all the equipment sticking out at various angles. You can swee in the picture (from a differen day) how tight the space is in the elevator. I get in first and pulled Maggie in behind me. By standing on my tiptoes and twisting my body just so, the door clicked shut. I held the down button for the 90-second ride down feeling as if I was in a game of twister.

As we were slowly descending, I looked up the open shaft to the rapidly darkening sky and said, 'you know what is going to happen, don’t you Maggie. There will be a downpour and this elevator will stop and I will be stuck in this position forever." She thought that was hilarious. I did not.

I did not have my phone with me and Steve was upstairs in the front of the house. He would never hear us yelling. In all likelihood, the neighbors would hear, but they would not be able to see us in the shaft and presume everything was all right.

For once, the worst did NOT happen. We made it to the bottom. The downpour started the second Maggie loaded onto the bus. I was soaked in about 30 seconds. She was looking out the window of the bus laughing at my dripping jacket and hair. I’m glad she had SOME entertainment before her school day.

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