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This Week's Scuttlebutt

A Bracing Adventure!
August, 2006

First, a bit of background…

I was fitted for a brace for my left leg in April of '06. The brace was such a tremendous help in walking that the neurologist and I decided I should get a “matching” brace for my right leg. The first fitting for the new brace was at the end of July, but unfortunately, it was necessary for Walter, the orthotist, to take my left brace with him when he left. He needed the left brace so that he could make matching adjustments to the right brace. This meant I was without the left brace for two weeks.

Then, on August 3rd, the refrigerator died. I wasn't surprised, as the motor had been making strange noises for some time. Thank heavens for the ABT store. I searched their online site and found a similar refrigerator, then called and spoke to a very helpful sales representative. Within a short time I had bought myself a new refrigerator. Good thing I've had practice buying refrigerators before—as a long time renter, this is the fifth refrigerator I've had to buy, but this was the first one I bought while shopping online!

Delivery of the new refrigerator was scheduled for that Thurs., which worked out okay because I was scheduled to have my brace fitting on Fri. I called my brother and neighbors and asked if they could take my food, and they were troopers. My brother took some frozen food, one neighbor took refrigerator items, and a different neighbor loaded up three shopping bags and took the rest of my freezer items.

No sooner did I have the food shipped out, but the store called to postpone delivery of the new refrigerator to Friday, between 1 and 3. I knew I wouldn't be home before 3 so I called my brother. He wasn't happy about it, but he did say he would come over to open the door for the delivery.

On Friday, the medvan was scheduled to pick me up at 10:15 in the morning. I was ready early, so sat down to rest for a half hour. And promptly fell asleep. When I woke up at 10:30 the medvan was already parked in front of the house! Yikes! I knew the driver wouldn't wait much longer—they have a 10 min. wait time and I was already 5 min. over the limit.

Still a bit groggy from my unplanned nap, I hurried to the front door. I thought that if I waved to the driver he would know I was coming. But hurrying was my downfall. Literally. Without any braces, still not wide awake, and trying to hurry…I fell smack dab in front of the door. I was fortunate that I didn't break any bones, but when I fall, I cannot get up by myself; I have to call for help. My walker had gone down with me, and my cordless phone had bounced out of my walker basket and landed right by my hand. I called PACE (the medvan service), told them I had fallen and that as soon as the paramedics stood me up I would be out to the medvan. Could the driver please wait? The operator talked to her supervisor and the decision was made that they would instruct the driver to wait. Thank heavens. This sure proved I needed the braces!

Next, I use my Life Alert pendant to call for the paramedics. The paramedics arrived within minutes. I joked with them that we had to stop meeting like this, as this was the second time in as many weeks that I had called for them to pick me up. (The previous fall was a typical multiple sclerosis collapse whereas this was an actual fall.) First the paramedics moved the walker, and then rolled me over so they could move the boxes that I had fallen on. Finally, with one paramedic on each side of me, and one holding my feet, they stood me up.

After they left I got myself to the wheelchair in the garage, down the ramp, and out to the medvan. We were on our way, and only a half hour behind schedule.

While en route I called the orthotics office to let them know I was running late, but was on my way and would be there in a few minutes. Or so I thought. The driver got lost! I phoned the office a second time, handed the phone to the driver so he could get directions, and we started up again. This time we made it.

It sure felt good having my brace on my left leg again. But the new right brace needed some adjusting and I was in and out of the wheelchair half dozen times. Each time I had to walk about ten feet forward, then turn and retrace my steps. It was exhausting, but I was walking, and the new brace felt right, too.

My return medvan pick-up was scheduled for 1:30, so I went outside the office in my wheelchair to wait. When the medvan hadn't arrived by 2, I called to see how late they were running. “You were nice and waited for me this morning, and now I've waited a half hour for you, so I'd say we were even. Do you know when the driver will arrive?” After some checking, the operator came back on and told me the driver had gotten lost—no surprise!—but would arrive within the next 20 min. I was sure glad my brother had agreed to wait at the house for the new refrigerator because knew I wouldn't make it home until at least 3:30.

As soon as I walked into the house I saw the new fridge on the far side of the kitchen. Huh? My brother explained, “Seems that the old fridge was still working.” My first thought was that I now had two refrigerators! But no, the old fridge had been taken away. (And it really had been on its last leg; it was 20 years old, making noise, and the manufacturer was out of business.) So why was the new refrigerator on the wrong side of the kitchen? It seems that there was also a bad outlet on the wall behind the old refrigerator.

So now I had to wait another week for an electrician to come. My neighbor Herb brought back my refrigerator food—butter, milk, etc.—but all the rest of my food was still in limbo.

It was deucedly difficult for me to maneuver around the kitchen with the furniture moved all around, but I kept telling myself “It's only for a few days.” What the heck, it was a great excuse to order pizza delivery; at least I could refrigerate the leftovers. And most importantly, I did have both braces

Copyright © 2006 Anne Wallingford All Rights Reserved

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Thursday, July 12, 2007