Friday, November 12, 2010

Arm Support

My arms and hands don't function too well anymore and my Gal Friday (and every other day of the week) finally became sick of seeing me struggle with eating, brushing my teeth, etc.  When I try feeding my face, there is more flak in the air than a WWII bombing run over Berlin.  Cleaning up after my futile efforts consumed more time than meal preparation.  Consequently she did her favorite thing-searched the Internet for a proper solution.  After looking at all kinds of contraptions, we settled on an arm support mechanism to be installed on my power chair.

After 4 months of filling out medical forms and enduring shipments with missing parts, the completed arm support kit arrived via a smiling technician from a local rehab equipment company.  He wasn't smiling when he left.  I discovered this was his first attempt at installing this particular contrivance.  The bewildered guy read the instructions and immediately recognized they didn't apply to my particular power chair.  Trying to figure out a way to adapt this equipment, he fell back on good ole Yankee ingenuity and attached the mounting bracket to the back of my chair. (Note: The back of a chair is no longer called the back of a chair;  it is now referred to as the reverse side of a back support system.  Why do we rename things to the point of not being sure of what the hell we're describing?  I'm no longer disabled; I'm physically challenged.  My problem is I'm mentally challenged too.)

Okay, so this guy adds the 2 flexible steel arms and the metal arm support sleeve and we're ready for lift off.  This gadget looks like either a welded modern art sculpture or a discarded piece from some old International Harvester farm equipment.  Still undaunted, I'm bubbly with enthusiasm.  I shall now eat like a human being...not like an animal lapping away at morsels of yesterday's fare. I insert my arm and give it a go and voila, guess what?  This thing is super...if I want to feed my ear or pluck my eyebrow.  Not to worry though cause the next day I'm taking it to occupational therapy and I have complete confidence my OT girl will resolve everything.

Twice a week Gal Friday drags me to a dark, foreboding place which is the hospital's therapy clinic.  I refer to it as the Palace of Pain (POP).  I undergo two sessions each time.  I've beaten the system though - I take OT first where my therapist I call the Mistress of Darkness (MOD) does her best to inflict as much pain as my body will bear and  then I ride over to physical therapy (PT) where they massage me enough to bring my aching muscles back to their normal range.  So I figure it's a wash.  But still I have nightmares of MOD.  I see her dressed in black leather boots, pants, bra and mask brandishing a whip...wait a second...that's somebody else's dream, not my nightmare.  Whatever the medium, I know she loves to administer pain.

Did you ever feel sorry for your worst enemy?  There comes a time when something so bad besets your foe, your anger and fear directed toward your opponent melts to caring sympathy.  Seeing MOD doing her utmost to derive a logical grasp of my brand new arm support system was something to witness.  She battled with this thing for an hour trying to make it serve its function, but to no avail.  I have to admit; it brought tears to my eyes...tears of laughter.  Finally it was payback time.  Life is good.

Oh, oh, Gal Friday just read this and insisted I tell the truth about MOD.  I try to never let the truth interfere with a good story, but if you read my post about Gal Friday, you know what she does to me when I screw up.  So here's the truth - MOD is terrific.  I've had many OTs through the years and they don't compare to this one.  MOD is a caring therapist who knows her stuff.  She truly listens to her clients and sets reasonable goals from what they tell her.  She follows through until those goals are attained and in many cases exceeded. Unbelievably, she is able to do this while making you laugh.  Now folks, making someone laugh while forcing them to tolerate pain is amazing.  I always feel better leaving her office than when I first entered.  Quite some trick, I'd say.


  1. POP, eh? That's half of Jamie's new name for Grandpa - Pop Pop ! Where she got that from I have NO idea, but she comes up with some good stuff. Her and her bro and Mom (of course) were over for din-din yesterday. And, yeah - the new technology (gnu ?) does require some adjusting for the naming conventions that often make no cents (sic) atall. After reading your latest it made me think 'bout the recent chocolate pie-in-the-face event in Hershey! Sounded like phun (pun intended) but a terrible waist of chocolate.

  2. Good job, Ed! Very true for the most part. You have to admit, though, that trying to work the new arm support would have gone faster if you didn't hold back giving me the remaining parts needed. I think that's a little sadistic on your part.... I knew I saw a little smirk on the corner of your mouth as I talked to myself.

    I do hope that you were sitting upright and unsupported in your wheelchair for more than 5 minutes while you were writing this blog. I better not see you leaning to the side :)

    I'll get you yet, my pretty! hahahah....