The last three days were filled with lots of heavy lifting, heavy learning, and heavy sleeping. Each day I was so tired I went to sleep at 8pm and slept right through to 7am.
The process of being a carer is physically exhausting, and we also had to learn all the technical things about his physio exercises, his occupational therapy exercises, the process of turning him, sitting him up, putting his clothes on and taking them off, doing the cleaning and bathing (still in bed and not yet on a commode) has left me realising that no matter how much I was determined to be the carer, saving money, feeling like it was something I had to do, and would be expected to do, etc, I completely know and understand that we have to have a carer.
We have selected our first trainer, and we have both attended the training for the past 3 days so we know exactly what to do from top to toe, (including the theory of how to pick him up off the floor should we ever drop him).
Colin seems very happy with Jabu, and I am sure he will become an indispensable part of our daily routine. He is young and strong, and a very cheerful man, and I think he is a perfect fit for Colin.
We were able to successfully practice and master transfers into and from his wheelchair (to and from the bed, a commode, and the car). The only reason we are able to do it with only 2 people is because Jabu is very strong. He has also practiced the technique more than me, but I am aware that I don’t really help that much, and this is why we will need him.
The good news is that despite the first day being a bit of a slow start, everyone is officially happy that Colin can come home for his first day away on Saturday as long as Jabu is with us. He will meet us at the rehab centre and from there we will put him into the car, and bring him home. This is the first time Jabu will see our house, and although the structural changes are not yet even started, we will be able to sort of plan how we will do things.
The next challenge we had was how to transport his motorised chair. The chair itself weighs just under 81kgs, and the cost of a car with a large rear would have to be something like a van, and at this stage, it is not really even possible for us to get a new car. With a bit of research and googling, I came across a local company founded by a man with a higher injury than Colin. Radical Mobility has a product called a Transporter
(which is a rack on the back of the car like a bike rack) allowing us to use my Dad’s car with a tow bar. We had the tow bar installed this week while I was away training, and I also ordered the Transporter which will be delivered tomorrow. So far, we have all we need to allow us to have a successful home visit, and I am just over the moon. Colin is also keen to come home.
Radical Mobility Products
He went to have his suprapubic catheter put in this afternoon, and I didn’t go with him. It was a difficult decision no to go with him while he was checked in, and stay while it happened, and see him when he woke up, etc, but I just needed to come home and do even more admin and send off and receive many more emails. One of the things I need to sort out immediately is that the medical aid needs a formal diagnosis from the neurosurgeon that Colin is indeed a quadriplegic. I don’t really get that one – even a 4 year old child could take a look at him and see he can’t do stuff, but I guess it is a formal bureaucratic necessity.
I will sleep very tonight now that I am home again, but I will miss being with Colin all day. He needs more therapy and more time at the rehab, but I can’t wait until he can come home and be with us again. I miss him so much.