Wednesday, 15 March 2017
It’s a Knockout!
You many or may not have memories of watching a TV programme with your parents called ‘It’s a knockout’. The show was hosted in a different UK location each week and featured local ‘ordinary people’ from two nearby locations, competing against each other in teams. The games were outsize versions of a junior school sports day: people were tied together, awkward objects were carried, races were made more difficult by the addition of foam, water or slippery surfaces ( no health and safety in those days)….and to add to the ridiculousness, most people were dressed in enormous foam suits that sagged high over their bodies, and had giant feet to trip them up for the hilarity of all.
During the last few weeks, I have been in a constant race of knockout , as I try to navigate a small flat dressed in baggy leggings and fluffy slippers, whilst slowly steering a bulky walker into door frames, spilling tea on the carpet and watching as my stick clatters to the floor nearly tripping me over. The International IAKO, was called Je sans Frontiers , or Games without Frontiers. The war that I am in is one where the borders are constantly changing, and the rules obscure... until you break them. I am not finding that much hilarity actually.
The times I am not in active combat with carpet rails, door frames and my own bruised body, I remain in a kind of shock at how quickly I have become immobilized. Up until three months ago, I used a stick in my rare forays outside the house, but inside the going was incredibly slow but steady.
Then just before Christmas my body stopped co-operating with its owner. I found myself sinking to the lino or propping myself up on the door frame on a trip to the loo. Pee breaks became something to think about a lot, but only do a little, as raising my frame onto my fragile legs was such a task.
As this sorry state of affairs dragged on I watched myself trying to juggle a stick, a cup of tea, and a bottle of water, then pausing to rest on the stick, and dropping all of them. I have forgotten my stick many times, and ended up stranded in the front room ( no we don’t live in Downton- its a 2 bed flat on a housing estate). I had begun to load myself with bags slung across my body to minimize the number of trips to and from the bed. I felt like a drugs mule.
One day I snapped- I don’t recall the specific straw, but I do remember how the camel’s back felt….yeah- not fun!! The following Monday I called the Occupational Therapist- and voilà- I now have the Swiss-army knife of mobility help; loan of wheelchair as needed, Walker ( with seat and bag ), kitchen trolley for transporting stuff...and my old faithfuls, my stick and mobility scooter. And yes….I am still mainly stuck in bed!
So this is life for the time being: I shamble around pausing many times- an absurdist figure that just isn’t funny. When I tell her, a friend offers me the kind loan of a china potty. On second thoughts I prefer to think of myself as a toddler- going from the depths of despair with every fall, but getting up with a big smile to try again.