What are the steps to go for a ride in the car? It could be a quick trip to pick up a few things at Walmart. Or, go out for dinner. Or, do a Target run.
It’s easy, right?
Grab the keys, walk to the car, head on down the road. I love to drive and that is one simple and once frequent adventure that ALS has caused to fade into history.
ALS robs victims of muscle control, yes, but that means it also robs people of the ability to move around in a normal manner.
“Let’s go for a ride.”
Easier said than done.
First, my wife has to help me put on pants and shoes. Yes, she even ties my shoes. My hands don’t work well enough now to do what pre-schoolers do. Then, she has to move the wheelchair to the front door. Then, get the ventilator and mask while I transfer from the roller walker to the wheelchair. I have to hold the ventilator on my lap while she pushes the wheelchair to the stairs.
Where we live has two connected buildings. One side has an elevator on each floor. The other side has stairs to the elevator. Thankfully, we have a chair lift but that means more transfers.
Second, my wife has to park the wheelchair and get the chairlift ready for transport. Then, she holds the ventilator while I move to the chairlift. She hands me the ventilator and I ride the chairlift to the floor with the elevator.
What happened to the wheelchair?
My wife carries the wheelchair up the stairs. Then, the transfer process is reversed; she holds the ventilator again and I move to the wheelchair. The ventilator goes to my lap and my wife pushes the wheelchair to the elevator.
Third, from the elevator I get pushed out the front door of the building to a nearby parking area and wait while my wife brings the car around. Again, another transfer from wheelchair to car and my wife holds and then hands me the ventilator which sits on my lap. She puts the wheelchair in the backseat.
We go for a ride.
What happens when we get back home?
The above steps are reversed, of course, and about 10 to 15 minutes later I can relax in my sofa chair.
“Let’s go for a ride” just isn’t what it used to be.