Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good Start

Today was the first day with my new PA and I don't think it could have gone better.

She came round this morning, bang on time, which is always a good start. We spent a while going through the formal paperwork (and hooray for P at the Rowan for making sure I knew exactly what needed doing to each piece), and I also gave her the instructions for what to do in case of those little emergencies, so frequent in my life, that aren't 999 emergencies but involve me being too incapacitated to explain what's going on as the situation unfolds. I'd used an online translation tool to print up those instructions in both English and in her own first language, and she seemed a bit surprised by that, but in a good way. I was a bit concerned about whether it was the right approach - on the one hand, I wanted to be 100% sure she would know what to do in such a situation rather than have to translate as well as cope, on the other hand, I didn't want to seem patronising as her English is pretty good - but it seems to have gone okay.

After that, it was just a question of showing her how to take apart and reassemble the wheelchair and we were off and away into town. Nice and relaxed, we went into a few shops in the generally quite accessible central part of the town. She listened well to advice about how to best tackle certain obstacles (such as the trick of going backwards to get through a door with a lip), and in shops she was really good about browsing nearby without hovering over my shoulder or making me feel rushed.

The weather was gorgeous so we sat outside at the Olive Garden Café and I had some juice and a snack and enjoyed watching the world go by for a bit. Then we went to the park for a wander-around. Turns out this is something we have in common - we both love the sunshine.

I guess it sounds like a strange thing to get excited about. "It was my day off. The weather was nice. I went into town, looked in some shops, bought a couple of things, had something to eat, and then went to the park."

But the really exciting parts, you see, are things like:

  • I'm having a bit of trouble with my condition at the moment and usually that would prevent me from attempting to go out unless absolutely necessary, but today it didn't have to.

  • Usually at the park I'm feeling grateful and indebted to whoever is pushing me and feel bashful about giving directions (especially when I want to go uphill), but today I didn't have to, I could go wherever I wanted and that was very empowering. Of course I've done that on the scooter, but,

  • When I started to feel very unwell and crumpled up, I didn't have to try and find my way back to anywhere, or fend off any concerned passersby, or use up reserve spoons I don't have trying to cope, as someone was there to keep me safe and help me medicate and generally take charge of the situation.

  • Once I'd got home and rested, I woke up feeling my version of "normal", rather than having arms and legs screaming from the effort and wondering why I did this to myself just for an amble about. I should still feel alright tomorrow - I haven't overexerted myself for the sake of a watch battery and a cheese and ham panini.

Next week I think I might see about going swimming. I fear that part of me is going to run into trouble thinking of Things To Do, now that I have someone available to help me do them. Suggestions would be very, very welcome.


Anonymous said...

*considers putting an extra column on the whiteboard*
I'm happy it went well, and I think you were in better shape than I was by the time I got home tonight :)


Mandy said...

Sounds nice.

You could always try all the girly shops that perhaps would have bored Steve to death.

Mary said...

Believe me Mandy, our first port of call was Monsoon. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I guess it sounds like a strange thing to get excited about. "It was my day off. The weather was nice. I went into town, looked in some shops, bought a couple of things, had something to eat, and then went to the park."

That is not strange at all! That's exactly the kind of thing I get jumping-up-and-down excited about.

Katie said...

Excellent news, long may it continue. Looks like the interview process went well - in that you picked a good'un - so hurrah for that and hurrah for you.

Stuff to do... how's your locale for arty type galleries? There's a few little ones near me that have quirky little exhibitions and also serve coffee and cake and sarnies, so you can have a mooch and go, "ooh pretty!" and then have an unpressured sit down, and wend your way when you're ready, plus they tend to be quite uncrowded on weekdays where they would be inaccessibly crowded at weekends.

Sort of depends if there's anything local to you. I suspect Brighton is overrun, but there's likely to be something similar.


Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

Yipeee for a good first day. You could try going a little further afield for pretty parks and walks but I don't know where around here you know/don't know - I will put my thinking cap on

Anonymous said...

How about "chick flicks" that Steve wouldn't be seen dead at? If you have an Odeon complex near you, pop in and ask for one of their special needs forms - for a fiver a year, you are entitled to take a carer in free of charge, so a trip to the movies for my son and I costs about £6 - pretty good value for money these days.
And of course the wheelchair bag is a handy place for snacks and drinks, so you don't have to spend huge amounts at the concession stands.

Mary said...

OooOOOOOH, I think Terri wins.

DD said...

Glad it all worked out so well.

Supermouse said...

It's been a while, but it's good to come back and see how well you're doing.

We've moved to Horwich, which is full of shops and has a resource centre, library and the doc's close by. I'm *still* overwhelmed at being able to wander to the shops for little things, rather than needing a lift or a taxi, and it's been two months. I have yet to run out of things to do. I don't think you'll have a problem.

Congratulations on your new PA.

Anonymous said...

It was very broad minded of you to assume that she can't understand english.

Mary said...


One of her reasons for wanting the job was in order to improve and expand her English as her current vocabulary is rather patchy, as she explained at the interview. Providing a handful of emergency instructions in a choice of both English and her own first language was merely a courtesy consideration and has nothing to do with being broad or narrow minded.