Feb 24, 2012

Dotty Loves Her Wheelchair and Chauffeur

Wheelchair chauffeur. Has a nice ring to it. Perhaps I will consider becoming a wheelchair concierge down the road.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I never thought I would be writing this story. If anything, I would have thought the title would have been, Dotty hates her wheelchair.

After all, Dotty told me hundreds of times "she would kill herself" before she would ever get into a wheelchair.

Even last year, Dotty was refusing to get into the wheelchair to go the pool. It only started happening thanks to some tender loving care and wise words from Jeannemarie. Just so you know, Jeannemarie is the daughter of Jim and Ruth, the couple who took care of Dotty while I was away.

Jeannemarie, more or less, convinced Dotty that it would be a good thing to be chauffeured around by her son Bobby, in a wheelchair.

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The days when Dotty will be able to walk are rapidly coming to an end. Not that I am giving up or anything, I still have a few ideas that I might try. But truth be known, I understand Dotty can no longer walk any real distance because her brain just can't get the word to her legs. Acceptance.

Dotty of course thinks she can still walk. In fact, she is convinced she goes out every day and does shopping etc. She use to be intractable on this issue, and as a result refused to get into a wheelchair. I am not getting in any GD wheelchair, Dotty would say rather adamantly.

Things have changed. I started by using the wheelchair to get Dotty to the car. She no longer resists. We also use the wheelchair to get Dotty down to visit Jim and Ruth.

It is getting more and more difficult for me to get Dotty into some good healthy sunlight. So for the longest time I had decided to put Dotty in the wheelchair and walk her around the area in which we live. I finally took action on Sunday.

We started out walking and when we passed the pool area I noticed that there were some people there that we knew. So I decided to drive Dotty up and into the pool in the wheelchair. Absolutely no resistance. People were absolutely ecstatic to see her. Me too actually. A few people were somewhat surprised to see that Dotty was still alive. In the old days, Dotty use to go to the pool almost every clear, warm day.

So far, we have taken a wheelchair ride three out of the last four days.

It is getting better. Dotty is now telling me how great it is to have a chauffeur and to be driven around. We refer to the wheelchair variously as the chariot, Chevy, and Cadillac.

I am now envisioning myself in my next life as a wheelchair driver. I'll just go from person to person and give them a ride in the bright light. Outside, or in the mall if necessary.

For a long time I have been wondering how I am going to keep Dotty active, even after she can't walk. We'll need new tires on the wheelchair soon. We went almost a mile yesterday, and I intend to increase the distance slowly.

So it looks like I have socialization covered (stop off at the pool) and bright light covered. I am now considering exercise options for Dotty. It is starting to get warm, so I'll find out soon if I can get her to walk in the pool. She has not been on a treadmill in quite some time, but I might even consider trying it.

Either way, we will continue to live our lives, and all I need to do is consider the alternatives and make it happen.

Wheelchair chauffeur. Has a nice ring to it. Perhaps I will consider becoming a wheelchair concierge down the road. You know, like a concierge doctor. Need a ride?

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,361 articles with more than 397,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room