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Friday, 10 June 2016

Took mum to the park in a wheelchair

Up at the nursing home today I first saw mum in her room watching TV. The first thing she said to me was, "I've been in the wars," showing me her bandaged finger and the bandages on her right leg. The finger bandage is for a haematoma that has formed on the last segment of her index finger. The leg bandages are for the always-to-be-feared cellulitis, the chronic infection that keeps landing mum in hospital. I agreed that it all looked very dramatic. In my heart I was thinking furiously, assessing the likelihood of another hospital admission, wondering when the next call from nursing home staff in the early morning would come.

In the end because it was a nice enough day today, with plenty of sun, I decided that the best thing would be to get mum outside. I asked her if she wanted to go to the park. "Not really," she answered. "Is it your leg?" I asked. "I don't know, I suppose so." "Maybe we can take a wheelchair instead of walking," I suggested.

So I went out into the hallway to the nurse's station by the elevators and asked someone there if I could borrow a wheelchair. He brought around a black one but it had no footrests, so I asked if there was one with footrests. He went away and in a few minutes emerged from the hallways with this lovely blue wheelchair, which seemed just right. It had footrests and everything.

I got mum into her jacket and gave her a hat from her drawer to put on. Then as we were going out the door mum said she wanted her sunglasses. I got them from the drawer in the chest of drawers next to her bed, and gave them to her. We went down the hallway, me pushing mum who sat there in the chair. Mum felt bulky and heavy in the wheelchair and I wondered if I would be ok with it.

When we got out the front door into the open air, mum made a sound that indicated that she was a bit cold. There would be sun in the park, I thought, so I kept going. We passed the lady at the end who always has cockatoos on her railings. Today was no different and I passed by the cockatoo at a distance of about a foot; the beast had absolutely no fear of me at all. We got to the gate and I opened it with some difficulty and then we headed up the footpath. I noticed that there were no handbreaks in the model of wheelchair I was using. At the kerb we rushed down the short slope to the gutter, then I pushed up into it and we were then in the roadway.

I took the wheelchair to the second bench and parked it on the grass next to the bench, on which I sat down. I had noticed that pushing a wheelchair on grass can be a bit of a struggle, but I decided to worry about the return journey when it had to be made. We sat there making silly smalltalk, singing silly songs we invented about the sun, and commenting on the temperature. After about ten minutes of sitting there mum said she was getting cold, so we headed back the way we had come.

Back up in mum's room she headed straight for the bed and lay down, obviously tired out by the fresh air and the exertion. I took an extra wheeled walker - a blue one; mum's is red - that was in mum's room to the front desk on the first floor, and then walked back with the staffer I met, who took away the wheelchair. I said goodbye to mum and headed home down the motorway.

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