Friday, March 18, 2005

BACK IN THE DRIVING SEAT

Our vacation was cut short by a few days by virtue of our own choice. It never ceases to amaze me how inadequate the facilities are for disabled people. The first room they showed us was supposedly disabled friendly. There was a roll-in shower, which is really nice. Although I don’t need to be rolled into the shower, I always shower with Daniel as it is much easier for me, and it is great to have the extra space for two. The room however, was clearly for one person, and if you weren’t sitting on the chair at the mirror, and you weren’t on the toilet, then you had to sit on the bed, as there was nowhere else to move. Daniel walked in and instantly and rightly said, there is no way we could spend a week in this size room.

Without any problem and in spite of the fact that the hotel was full, we were moved to a bigger room. No roll-in shower, but much more space. We had been in the new room about ten minutes when I could see that Daniel still wasn’t happy. “This is not what I arranged and this is not what I was expecting”, he said. I suggested to him that he go downstairs and explain this to the manager or someone at the desk, and to ask them if they could give us the suite we thought we had booked. Surely all the time he spends away from home accumulating his platinum member status should offer solutions at a time like this!

Again, within minutes we were moved to a really nice suite. Living room, really cool plasma flat screen humungous TV on the wall, another large TV in the bedroom and a large bathroom. The heavenly bed that this hotel chain prides itself on is just that, heavenly. However … the toilet was so darn low that I needed help both on and off it. When off it, I couldn’t even reach the handle to flush, it was THAT low. I had to climb over the side of the bath to shower. Believe me, this can be especially tricky when climbing out the bath, and the surface of the bath is somewhat soapy and slippery, and I am trying to secure myself on the sink unit and hold on to Daniel with my other hand and raise my leg over the side of the bath and not have the first foot out the bath slide out from under me on the tiled floor while I try make sure the foot still in the bath doesn’t send me into the splits position – and through it all Fireman Dan assuring me that he will not let me fall and me shrieking that if both my feet slide apart in opposite directions, the only thing gonna stop me is the side of the bath and the idea of my nether regions colliding with the bath is not an appealing one. While there is some kind of insane dark comedy in all this, it is quite simply, a pain in the ass.

Once safely out the shower, I can’t even collapse in a heap on the bed for some heavenly rest and relaxation, because it is too high for me to get onto it on my own. So back to having my legs lifted up for me, then I fall backwards as Daniel swings the second leg up. When I lie flat I can’t breathe because of my wonderfully weak diaphragm which basically says “oh you have got to be kidding, you know I can barely move when you lie flat”, so while gasping for air like a fish out of water, I then grab hold of any part of Daniel that I can latch on to so he can heave me back up into the upright sitting position. Once there it is not really comfortable as by now my butt has moved half way down the bed and I need to move backwards so that I can sit up and lean back against the pillows propped up against the headboard. No sooner do I get comfortable, feel like I am breathing ok, then I need to go pee. And so it starts all over again. Needless to say, by 10.30pm on the Tuesday night, I started feeling like I was a beached whale and Daniel was trying to roll me back into the sea.

I realized at this point, that as wonderful as it was to be where we were, my home environment is still the most user friendly for my body. I asked Daniel how he felt about going home the next day and he thought this was a great idea. So much to Ross’ delight, we were there when he got home from school on Wednesday.
As brief as it was, we enjoyed the break from our usual routine for a couple of days.
There is however much truth in the fact that there is no place like home.

 
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