Happy New Year!
Welcome to our third newsletter. Thank you so much for your support and responses. Emily and I were blown away!
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I woke up on New Year’s Eve from the first dream I’d had in which I was disabled. Up until then, I’ve always had dreams where I was walking, running, or, my favorite, doing a lovely yoga flow. In the last five years of using a cane, crutches, or scooter I haven’t once had a dream where I’ve been using them. I love waking up from a dream where I’ve been moving. It gives me escape and ultimately hope.
In the dream, I was demonstrating to someone how I lift my legs into bed. I was in a school gymnasium which was covered by large blue mats. I was lying on my side, curled up with a belt tied tightly just above my knees holding my thighs together. I put one hand beside me and held onto the belt with the other. Then I took a deep breath and threw myself to the other side, heaving my legs as far over as I could. It was a tricky process that I had swiftly accomplished in my dream. I smiled. If I’d have been sitting on the side of a bed my legs would have been lifted up and I’d be lying on my back.
Thanks to hours of physical and occupational therapy in the rehab unit, and then with six more weeks of home care, I’ve pretty much figured out the essentials needed to be home alone. I can wheel myself around the house; transfer on and off the loo; and I can use the microwave. The biggest thing I’ve struggled with is getting my legs onto my bed. This is a big one as I have major fatigue from MS, and some days I’m so tired I have to lie down or I feel like I might pass out. Another symptom that I face daily is neuropathy and pooling in my feet and lower legs. Pooling happens when you don’t move your legs and the blood flows downwards causing them to swell. It’s really uncomfortable. The best solution for this is to lie down. However, six times out of 10, it has taken me two or more tries to get my legs up and onto my bed by which time I’m exhausted and hating life.
This morning my feet were hurting a lot so I decided to have a lie-down. I wheeled into the bedroom and went through my new process of getting onto bed.
I wheeled my chair so it was parallel to the side of the bed and applied the brakes. I lifted one foot at a time off each pedal and moved them to the side. I tucked my sliding board under my thigh by lifting the leg closest to the bed on top of it with my arms and made a bridge with the board between my chair and the bed. I carefully slid myself from my chair onto the bed using my arms as propellers. Once steady on the bed, I released the breaks from my chair and pushed it out of the way so that when I swung my legs they wouldn’t hit it. I took my gait belt and strapped it tightly around my legs just above my knees as my physical therapist had taught me.
The dream rushed back to me. I could do this. First time. No tears. I put one hand next to me on the bed rail I’ve had fitted so I can grab it to turn over in bed, and the other on the strap. I bent over, curled into a ball, and took a deep breath. I inched my torso down another centimeter and bam, I did it! In one, messy and ungraceful movement I pulled my legs up and onto my bed and laid down on my back. My legs were only just on the bed, but they were on.
And that right there is proof that dreams can come true. It was a little one, for sure, but it still happened. I had a lovely rest, albeit at an angle, diagonally across the bed, but I was glad to end 2021 and move into 2022 with one little success.