After an overnight stop with my mother followed by a day in London – meetings and lunch – this is a good moment to take stock.
The first thing I have to say is that the miracle concerning my artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) continues. In other words, I can urinate naturally without squeezing me control pump and still no significant leakage. As much as anything else for this reason I am still coping and able to go to London by myself and manage to do so today without falling over!
I usually start the day doing 20 minutes of gentle exercises which I have done for over 30 years.
I find I can no longer plug in my razor or my electric toothbrush as the socket is above my head. I’m still managing to shave OK with my electric shaver but only by lying down on the bed – the shaver itself is quite heavy. Somehow I don’t think it will be too long before someone else has to shave me and operate my electric toothbrush.
After breakfast in bed I then take a shower which I can manage myself â€“ just – but I do need a hand with the drying. I can manage my legs and lower parts but my wife has to help me with the rest of it. As I can still raise my arms above my head I can manage to get my vest and shirt over my head, although I must admit it is becoming a little bit of an effort and it only possible by me throwing up my arms high into the air. From that point on, my lovely helps me finish dressing, particularly with my socks and trousers. If I’m wearing a tie, say, to go to London, these I have pre-tied and they just slip over my head. There is no way now that I could possibly tie one myself. We finish up with my lovely brushing my hair which again, although I can get my hands up to my head I cannot comfortably work around even with the long handled comb that I bought.
For meals I now have a selection of spoons and forks with a large rubber handles which I made myself from hollow piping – so much cheaper than buying the ready-made ones. â€˜My lovelyâ€™ has bought me some two handled, lightweight plastic tumblers – mugs that I can also use with a straw as I am finding it difficult to lift a heavy cup up to my mouth. I travel about with my own special cutlery and two handled lightweight cup, even in the smart restaurants. I eat most things with a spoon and can manage quite well, provided someone cuts up the food for me. What I really need, and I will make one if I cannot buy one, is a shover. In other words instead of using my finger to push things onto the spoon I can do it more elegantly with a special piece of cutlery. I am sure I’ve seen such a thing in a infants feeding kits somewhere.
The other thing, that has made eating a little easier, is a wrist splint that was provided by the hospital, which I put on before eating. It just gives that little extra support. The MND unit have also provided a very expensive and complicated looking armrest which is clamped to the side of my armchair sidetable. It certainly does help by taking the weight of the arm but for the moment I seem to manage OK with just the wrist splint.
Once I am up and dressed I can pretty well cope by myself, spending the day in the office, with the occasional hand to plug things in, lift heavy files out of the filing cabinet or to trim paper etc. I’m spending most of my time, at present, trying to finish my autobiographical notes whilst I still have some use on my hands. Frankly, although I rely heavily on voice activation, I do not fancy this amount of work when I’m trying to operate a mouse with my foot.
When I get into bed, at night, I’m able to sit up and read comfortably as my lovely has generously bought me a sort of rubber armchair which sits on the bed. Having said that it is becoming more difficult for me to position myself in this â€˜armchairâ€™ not being able to use my arms to push my body back. I can manage it by wriggling inch by inch but it does take me a few minutes.
Heavy books I find almost impossible to handle so we place them on a sloping bed tray and hold the pages in position with an elastic band. The e-book should be here shortly so that might make reading a little easier.