Don’t listen to me, I’m just scared

This entry originally appeared on my disability blog, I hate stairs.

Whether it be at a hospital, a doctor’s office, or in the comfort of my own home, I often find myself relying on others to physically transfer, lift, or otherwise assist me in some way. And it usually works out fine. But when it doesn’t, the consequences are not good at all.

I had an attendant about ten years ago who insisted on rolling me so far over in my bed that most of my weight was on her and I was staring at a hard floor below. My objection to this practice was completely ignored. Nothing I said mattered. It was like screaming at a brick wall. Obviously, she was mistaking my comments as “Don’t listen to me, I’m just scared.” I don’t know. But I can understand her actions then more than I can others’ now. After all, I was kid then (I’ve since moved up to “college kid” status).

I run into this problem when I’m in the hospital. Nurses, aids, and other staff will huddle around me, preparing to transfer me to a bed, table, etc. I remember a time I needed to be transferred for a CT scan. I explained that I should park my chair at the head of the table. It would take two people, one on my left and right, to pick me up using the sling I was sitting on. One person would hold my legs. Then we would lift, move down slightly from the chair to the table, and then put me down. Like this:

The proposed transfer plan

The proposed transfer plan

Of course, this plan would not make it to implementation. Instead, groupthink happened. The Group decided I should park next to the table, as close as I could get. That would mean that one person would lean over the table to get one side, while the other person would need to lean over my chair as I transferred. Like this:

The Group Plan in Theory

The Group Plan in Theory

As you can see, it would take a good bit of strength to lift this nonsensical, 178-pound patient. I should also mention that my chair was a power chair, and the above plan would require me to pass over my control, which was on my right (left in the image). This plan didn’t even sound good in theory. And as my essentric stats instructor once said, “The gap between practice and theory is greater in practice than it is in theory.”

But not even the Group-supported plan above would make it to implementation. Instead something happenned. The plan evolved, making it a worse plan, and proving that the Theory of Evolution is bogus (cheap cut). Oh, and speaking of gaps, there’s one in between the chair and the table. I know this is true because in mid-transfer, the lean-over-and-lift factor kicked in and I found myself with one cheek on the table, and one on my chair. Not comfortable. So implementation looked something like this:

The Group Plan implemented

The Group Plan implemented

So the moral of the story is this.

LISTEN TO ME! I DON’T WANT TO DIE!