A little over eight months pregnant and I’m off to the bathroom every five minutes. The wet room in the new house is not very accessible with standard doors through which a standard wheelchair barely fits and a large storage heater obstructing access. It doesn’t matter at the moment. My personal assistant/carer is on holiday and Chris has taken the cat to the pet hospital in Chippenham. I’m here alone and although I have always enjoyed spending time by myself, these days it does present certain challenges.
Like getting up from my chair. It’s a lovely chair that I appreciate more and more, particularly as its an expensive one supplied by my last occupational therapist in North Wiltshire and not something I suspect I will ever be able to replace on a council budget. The back rises and so does the seat which makes getting up much easier, but still not easy. I wobble when I get up, my blood pressure is still on the low side, which my midwife loves, but the instant head rush when I stand up that makes the room spin does not have me excited. Nausea next. I feel like I’m regressing back to the first trimester again. It’s not as bad as then, but it’s pretty constant and I’m throwing up again every day, more than once and it’s bothersome.
I’m finally standing and not falling over, a good start, and slowly wobble to the bathroom. I am using the wheelchair more often than not, but having dislocated both shoulder and wrist rather badly last night, my right arm is out of action today and self-propelling is not an option. Walking is a problem. My muscles and ligaments are more stretchy than they have ever been and putting weight through very unstable joints hurts are never a good idea. I can feel my ankles click, my knees shift and my hips and lower back feels mushy which is a painful and odd sensation. Nothing is where it should be. Bones are pinching nerves, sciatica has become a way of life and even with support, baby bump doesn’t make moving any easier. It’s seventeen steps from one seat to another and suddenly, seventeen steps seem like very far away. I dislike having to focus on every step I take, thinking through how much it hurts, relaxing into the pain, taking the next step quick enough to maintain my balance.
It takes a while, but it’s doable. I sit down on the toilet seat riser, wondering how getting up is going to work as the current arm rests dislocate wrists and shoulders and then notice that there’s no loo roll left on the holder. The spare rolls are in the window sill behind me. Wonderful. This presents a few problems. Reaching it. Getting the first glued part apart and tearing it whilst holding it in my hand. Getting up dislocates my left shoulder, I had to put too much weight through it to avoid using the right and my hips were threatening to pop out and if there’s a choice, it’s shoulder rather than hip. Sitting back down was interesting. My lower back shifted a little as I reached into the window sill, pinching a nerve and the sharp shooting nerve pain is much worse sitting down than standing or lying. I dislocated three fingers trying to unwrap it, a wrist, thumb and another finger holding it steady whilst tearing it and then, finally, it’s time to get up and waddle back. I stop at the sink for a quick hand rinse and am very thankful again for the alcohol rub perched next to my chair.
It’s twenty five minutes later when I am sitting back down in the chair and I’m crying. It hurts. Everything hurts. I lower the chair so that I can lie down on my left side, it takes more effort to arrange the pillows myself to be as supportive as possible. I wish I felt just a little better. I’m going back to sleep late morning / early afternoon most mornings and waking up tired. I rest, I nap, I relax, I spend my days hurting and trying to make it hurt less or just distracting myself from it. I manage. And for now, that’s good enough.
Title quote from Phil in Groundhog Day.