The start of Back Pain
Post by Dan White, creator of Department Of Ability
Lots of things were made to go together. Fish and chips, Morecambe and Wise, Trump and Twitter and disability childcare and bad backs.
Over the last 11 years, Emily our fiery, smart, life loving, wheelchair using daughter has had the barefaced cheek to continue to grow taller and with it, heavier. Emily is no longer made to be swept up in my arms or even hoisted over my shoulder and, so we had a ceiling hoist installed in her bedroom which promised life changing joy and cost savings on Voltoral.
We have a hoist, why didn’t I use it?
The ceiling track hoist which hangs in Emily’s room much a metallic oversized bat, is supposed to be called into action every day, however when you fail to correctly put it back into the charging point, the damned thing goes flatter than a line of comedy dialogue on EastEnders. This of course means the banana board is called into service, acting like a giant curvy fish slice, scooping Emily out of her bed and allowing her to slide into her wheelchair. Sadly, Emily is unsure of her stability at times, feeling that the chasm between her bed and wheelchair bridged by this piece of plastic is deeper than the mire Boris Johnson delights in getting himself into. When Emily is refusing to transfer, then the loving arms and degenerative spines of mum and dad come to the rescue almost instantly.
The hoist is a marvellous, if somewhat perpetually slow piece of equipment and of course you could do with additional ones throughout the house, however we do not.
We’re Only Human
The human spine, I have noticed from our experience can shift, twist and click like a huge spinal shaped Rubik’s cube but without the fun and the ability to peel the colours off. Aimee, my dear wife recently suffered from a spell of back pain which she described as having all the pain and agony of sitting through a box set of Made in Chelsea with a soundtrack loop of Michael Bolton on repeat. So, she didn’t of course feel left out, yesterday we went out to my mothers for lunch which, much like 99% of houses, isn’t built or catered for a wheelchair user. As Emily had to get in, I had to lift her in, then lift wheelchair in, then life Emily back in, and then I joined the gang! A shot of pain and a pathetic man cry later, and I was hobbling around the house not so jubilant that I had joined the new sensational pop group, the virtually gone vertebrates. I learnt a valuable lesson here, and that was to ask for help and don’t refuse it when your wonderful child wants to leave their wheelchair.
Emily has scoliosis of the spine which means not only does her posture cause her pain, but it means she must wear a suit all day to help her maintain a straight shape… not much fun on top of everything else, but at least she can indulge in a giggle as mum and dad move around the house like a man and woman subject to a voodoo doll curse of a hot needle in the rachis. Emily is quite frankly awesome and quite sartorial for an 11-year-old, her scoliosis only gives her the occasional grumble which she rises above, and she can rightly complain how old, knackered and whiny her parents are gradually becoming.
Lessons to Learn
There are of course lessons here for me, and maybe the reader of this, if you are still awake of course and that is to remember to make sure the charging light is on, make sure your patient with child and banana board and if out and about, don’t be a hero and lift on your own… ask for help. Spines are precious things, and if we end up crocked through impatience with the criminally slow upraise machine or failing to be patient with a nervous child and a banana board then where does that leave the care of our child? We would be as much use as Jeremy Hunts NHS reforms, or a talent scout at a mortuary, we would be unable to provide the much-needed care our exceptional, beautiful children require of us.
Lesson over, sit up straight, moaning over, blog done, ouch.