It is coming up to a year since I had the accident and there are still some things which I find really difficult. Getting the ticket out of the multi- storey carpark is one , getting my hand high and at that angle is a challenge. That’s OK though because I don’t go to carparks that often. Reaching cups, plates and so on is still a bit hard but I mostly do that with my left arm now. The one daily task that is quite difficult still is getting dressed. Anything which has to go over my head, dresses, jumpers, vest tops, T-Shirts are all really, really tricky. Getting in and out of jackets and coats is also quite an effort and I have some jackets which I still can’t wear. Then there are shirts and dresses with little buttons at the back of my neck – virtually impossible but I swear and struggle and generally I get there.
It’s been really cold lately and as I have been up to the stables and out with the dog a lot I have been reliant on layers. A couple of thin tops and then a sweatshirt normally keeps me roasty toasty. But my word, it is a pain in the arse putting them on. Not only that, but because I don’t want to stay in horse stuff all day I change when I get home. Then I go swimming as well which is another change in and out of a swimming costume – with clothes on and off when I get there. Sometimes I can change in and out of clothes 6 or 7 times a day. When you think each time is an effort ( and it really is an effort) it can be quite dispiriting, frustrating and painful. Getting dressed should be easy! Toddlers can do it!
Then there is the getting stuck. This is quite claustrophobic and painful. Before I broke my shoulder I think the last time I got stuck in my clothes I was about six, now it happens relatively frequently. When I get stuck I find the best thing to do is go backwards, put the offending item back on and then try another system to take it off. That usually works.
This weekend, I went up to the yard completely layered up. When I came back and walked in the house I very quickly got too hot and wanted to take a relatively tight sweatshirt off. Unfortunately I got stuck but as I was in the kitchen decided that the quickest and least frustrating route would be to ask George to help me out.
‘Do you think you can help me out of this?’ I said. George came over to me, and laughed as I was headless.
‘No problem’, he said and started pulling, tugging and manoeuvring. Poor George, there was a time when getting me undressed was far more exciting. After a few minutes he realised that he wasn’t getting anywhere and called Max over to help.
Max was all gung ho about it and determined to show his Dad how easy it was to get a jumper off. So, he grabbed the bottom of the jumper and just yanked it over my head, pulling my arms up as he went as you would any kid who was tying to get a top off. Max is over 6 foot and I am 5 foot 5 inches so very easy for him to pull the top up quick and hard. Unfortunately, what he forgot is that my arm still doesn’t go above about 100 degrees – but it does go a lot further when it is yanked by an enthusiastic strong 16 year old determined to show his dad how easy the task is.
‘AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!’ I yelled, as the top flew over my head. ‘Flipping heck ( or words to that effect) that hurt!’ I cried!!
‘Max, you need to be careful – that’s why I was going slowly,’ said George.
‘I’m so sorry,’ said Max, ashen.
But guess what – I can move my arm a little bit more.