Monday, 27 March 2017

Grandad is getting some wheels

My dad took a major fall recently and it’s sent the family into a bit of disarray. He was once an architect in Sydney (back when the job required a fair amount of movement and activity) but he's now retired and spends most of his day watching horseracing.

 My brother and I have been insisting for years that dad consider moving – not necessarily out of his home, but at least to the ground floor of his two-storey. We know he won’t leave the family home, he’ll die before he ever lets us suggest a retirement home. But at least just living entirely on the ground floor? Well we didn’t think that was such a big ask!

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks reshuffling his house, moving his bed into my brother’s childhood bedroom and setting up a ramp at the front steps, because he’ll be confined to a wheelchair for a few months while he recovers from hip surgery the doctors did tell us recovery could be longer, but dad doesn’t need to know that yet.

Being such an active man in his younger days, it’s been emotionally tolling on him to give up his mobility, but he’s slowly coming around to the idea, especially now he’s got a snazzy motorised wheelchair that means he can whizz around without too much effort. We picked it up from Comfort Discovered, who spent time with dad asking lots of questions to make sure he rolled out with the perfect set of wheels to suit not only his injury, but also his lifestyle.

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He’s got a little bag on the back to carry a book wherever he goes, he’s still able to roll up the hill to the beach using the motor function and he tells us it’s actually pretty comfortable although he can’t wait to recover so he can move back upstairs. Yeah, in his dreams!

Even when he is mobile again, we’re cautious about letting him move back upstairs. He keeps talking about the stair lifts he saw in the Comfort Discovered showroom, but we aren’t so sure that’s necessary yet. We also had his bathroom fitted out with appropriate aids (a shower chair and some rails to help him manoeuvre in and out of his wheelchair) and his bed got a bit of a makeover with a wedge to help keep the pressure off his hips while he sleeps. He resisted using these at first, and watching him have to admit that yes, he did need the extra assistance in the bathroom was amusing.

J said he can see where I get my stubborn streak from! My brother and I are taking turns going over to help dad prepare dinner, and the kids are loving spending extra time with their grandad – but that’s probably because he has a pretty impressive lolly jar and kept all of my childhood Lego. Families, right?

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