A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Rachael’s Rehabilitation. After weeks of bed confinement as her spine healed, Rachael will now have a degree of independence. She now be able to move around using the wheel chair. She also discovers some her first challenges.
I debated about added “Paraplegia” or “Wheelchair” to the tags. But I chickened out of respect I suppose. I am able bodied person who is continually amazed at how people with physical challenges do not let those disabilities keep them from skiing or scuba diving or touring Europe. I have not experienced or seen someone go through the difficult experiences of rehabilitation. These are only my imaginings. Anyone who tells me “You know nothing”, I will whole heartedly agree and then proceed to say “tell me what it was like.”
For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the home page is a good place to start.
Look for more tomorrow.
Meeting her chair
Today was the day. After weeks of being confined to this infernal bed, Rachael would be able to move around. At least as much as a wheel chair allowed her to move around. She had worked with Charles on the design of the chair. Current designs seemed to emphasize ones disability with high sides and backs and were little more than chairs with wheels. She and Charles lowered the back and nearly removed side rails. What were left of the side rails were easily removed . The wheels were angled slightly making it easier for her to propel the chair. The front wheels were very small and rotated 360 degrees allowing the chair to rotate on its axis. Simone, John and Eleanor had built the chair in the machine shop. Simone providing the materials while John and Eleanor providing the expertise in the machining and assembly. Charles had made further suggestions to enhance it and Rachael wondered what manner of features this rolling chair would have.
Millicent pushed the chair into the medical bay. She was accompanied by John, Simone and Eleanor. The chair looked compact and low to the ground.
Charles asked, “Are you ready?”
Rachael replied testily to the ceiling, “I’ve been bloody well ready for two weeks.”
Millicent smirked as she replied, “Perhaps, but your body wasn’t. You’ve only been able to sit up firmly these last few days.”
Rachael snapped, “Only because you had me strapped down.”
Simone piped up, “Well, we couldn’t have had the chair ready for you a week ago. It’s time for you to try it out now.”
Charles said smoothly, “Quite right. Maybe some assistance the first time in and you can work on getting in and out of it in the workout room.”
Rachael sat up and stretched her arm and looked around. “Can’t I even try to in it on my own?”
Charles sounded firmer, “The bed is high. The floors are hard. You can barely sit and you don’t know what it feels like.” Everyone waited for a response, but Rachael looked around scowling saying nothing.
Charles continued, “Shall I take your silence as acquiescence?”
Rachael shouted, “Yes, dammit. I can’t do it on my own. Feel better?” There was an awkward silence in the room. Rachael composed herself and said as calmly as she could with her voice shaking said, “My apologies. John and Millicent, could you please help me into the chair?”
Millicent and John quietly nodded. They got on either side of her and maneuvered her into the chair. As they sat her down, Millicent whispered, “I did say you were going to have to be brave.”
Rachael hissed back, “I’ve never needed help.”
Millicent whispered back, “That is why you’re going to need to be brave enough to ask…and not be a frigging idiot.”
Rachael snorted but laughed. John put the low arm rest in on his side. Millicent handed Rachael the second arm rest and it slid in smoothly into place.
Millicent said, “Move around the room to get a feel for it.”
Rachael used the circular inner wheels to push herself forward and back. She found she could easily turn right or left, holding or braking one side or the other. Once she backed over toes and she apologized a bit.
Eleanor commented, “We’ve added a suspension system to reduce bounce when you are outside the warehouse.”
Simone added, “If you feel the back of the chair, you’ll have some items that will help in a scrap.” Rachael stopped and felt the back and pulled out a long thin and very well balanced stiletto. Simone added, “There are 5 more of those hidden in chair. I don’t expect you’ll need that many.”
Rachael smiled thinly, “I used to only carry three and those were always enough. Suppose a couple extra will be helpful now.” She slipped it back in place and asked, “Do I get a proper meal and drink now?”
Millicent answered, “Training first. You need to learn how to get in and out of that on you own. If you do well, I’ll buy the drinks. Now to the residential zone and workout area.”