On June 23rd 2016, I took possession (!) of my with me for life pacemaker. Not exactly how I expected to start my retirement but it’s kept me going so far! Post operative care included 6 weeks cardiac rehab courtesy of NSW Health.
The physios there were wonderful. At that stage my now replaced knees were completely cactus and after getting back on deck post pace maker, the plan was to make the knees the next priority.
At one session, a physio took me aside and said ” Louise, do you think a walker might be something that could help your mobility” and I was in like Flynn! Being horizontally gifted – or morbidly obese to use the correct medical definition – the usual, run of the mill walker was not for me. The lovely physio did some research and found a make and model of walker that would assist my mobility and provide space for me ample, continental shelf of a backside to park itself for a rest when necessary! I rang the supplier. They had one in stock and Joe and I went to collect it the next day!
Gigantic! Huge! Enormous! Big enough to have its own postcode! A seat for at least three of the grandchildren at Carols by Candlelight, I named it Invictus! It was HEAVY! So heavy I could not manage my stuffed, painful knees and lift the thing up to get it in the car! My little Trax had to suffer the indignity of having it back seat collapsed so that Invictus could slide into the car via the hatchback door! Around the house it was no different. It didn’t fit between the doors. Manoeuvring it into and out of the front door was nigh on impossible.
WOn it’s first official outing, just days after I got out of hospital, my son took me into my favourite spot in town, the Ocean Baths. The Dog came along for the ride. Traumatised by the state of the car – folded down seats, his seat belt attached but not in the usual place, the glittering sheen of the shiny new maroon paint Ibvictus -he panted anxiously until we arrived at the baths and he could get out!
I managed to negotiate the ramp – the furthest I had walked in months – applied Invictus’ brakes and sat at the water’s edge. Joe and the dog headed off for their walk. It was a lovely winter day, crisp and clear. I took my seat with Invictus and looked at the water, watched the seagulls, tasted the salt spray and wept with relief and joy to be there but also with regret for the choices I had made to deal with some pretty horrific challenges in my life over the last few years, which saw me resort to alcohol as a coping strategy and which sent my heart off the air!
I took Invictus with me when I want in for ” prehab” in preparation for the new knees. I was glad to have it of course and it did fit through the doors, although the bathroom was tricky and ” Woaw! That’s a hell of a big unit you’ve got there, love” in the corridor as I did my six minute walk as part of my physio program did make me blush! It was at this time that I met Beryle my 97 year old room mate about whom I have written in previous blogs. She had the most brilliant, zappy little three wheel walker that got her around like a rocket and I knew Invictus had to go!
“Blue Beryle” my three wheel walker with saddle bag and removeable tray, that folds up flat, is lightweight and fits easily anywhere in my car, was purchased the day I got out of hospital and has served my faithfully ever since although having mastered the Canadian walking sticks and being of the cusp of using two walking sticks as the next step in my return to normal mobility, her days are numbered!
Invictus has gone to a loving home! A magnificent woman is now its owner. It will make such a difference to her ” the grandchildren ask me to go and watch them at sport. I’ll be able to go now.” We talked today about our fear of falling over. You can’t kneel with new knees! I asked a physio what to do if, by some odd set of strange circumstances, I should find myself lying in the gutter. Her response? ‘ only thing to do is to get yourself into recovery position and just lie there and wait for the paramedics! ” something which I hope I never experience!
Invictus’ departure heralds another progressive step in my journey back to comparatively normal mobility! I am glad it has found a good home among good people who will benefit from t!