Friday 4 May 2012

Biting the Bullet: Wheelchairs and Donkey Balls

(Meet 'Bernice')

Yep, you read that right. I sucked up my pride and finally got a wheelchair. Well, it was actually more a case that my family sucked up my pride and purchased one on my behalf. Even my mum rang me to let me know that they were for sale in a local catalogue. Woofrickenhoo. Seems they all got sick of my stubbornness over the issue and it was time to have a mobility intervention.

Apparently it's time. Apparently it makes sense. Apparently it's all very practical and grown up.

Apparently I must put on my big girl undies and be reasonable.

Well screw that.

So far my kids have enjoyed using it to do wheelies on the road out front.

Me? I've mostly managed to avoid looking at it as I head out the front door. And kicked the wheel and called it an arsehole. Because I'm mature like that. (sigh)

But the reality (is there a suckier word around?) is I do need it at the moment (yes I said 'moment', because in my delusional head this isn't a forever thing) if I have to walk more than about 50m.

Okay, so maybe the other day when I went with The L-Plater in search of size 14 footy boots, I may have said, out loud, that perhaps we should have put it in the car. Well wheezed it, in between panting and leaning on him for support as I stumbled from the car park to the shopping centre entrance. Maybe. But if anyone brings it up I'll deny it till I'm blue in the face.

For new readers here's a re-post of Studio 30 Plus piece from last year, which may give you an insight into my high level of maturity regarding this issue. Or this one where I sucked it up and finally purchased a cane.

Donkey Balls

I reached another exciting milestone in the world of crap health last week. My first time in a wheelchair. Or as I like to call it, the soul destroying spawn of Satan, that makes life suck sweaty, hairy, donkey balls. Do you think it'll catch on? Now I do admit that I may have a small flair for the dramatic, but I do think it describes it quite well.

I've been reliably informed by all and sundry, that I should be much more practical and mature about these things. You know, that whole “act like an adult” malarkey. But even at 38, I have never embraced the whole maturity thing. Frankly, it all seems rather cult-like, and I will not be drinking the Cool Aid any time soon.

To be completely truthful, my preference would be to pass out and land face first in the lap of an old musty granny in the food court. Better that, than sit in that chair of doom. But I acquiesced, with a good dose of pouting and foot stamping, and agreed to being wheeled around a shopping centre for three hours. And okay, it did make the whole process easier. And yes, I didn't have an unfortunate granny incident. Which was probably a good thing for both myself and all the unsuspecting grannies in the vicinity. But there were still the balls of donkeys being sucked, left, right, and centre.

This isn't the first event in the past five years worthy of tea bagging a member of the Equidae family. There have been many, many moments of fun since my body decided to embrace an obscure disorder and give my life an atomic wedgie.

Buying my first pair of granny compression hose was a blast. Though in truth, the best part may have been telling the pharmacist that they are what all the local hookers wear to turn on their elderly clients. I may also have added that combined with a dab of Bengay behind the ears and on the wrist, they are better than Viagra for those randy old silver foxes. Her shocked face did suggest my attempts at humour may have gone a little astray. On reflection, that may explain why I am met with a look of disapproval every time I go in to refill my prescriptions. Putting them on is about as easy as wrestling a giant squid, and requires a nanna nap for recovery. This is only slightly offset by the fact they work better than Spanx to lift my arse and smooth out my ever expanding saddle bags. Whilst I do feel an overwhelming need to seek out a blue rinse every time I put them on, I am willing, although reluctantly, to admit they do help, a bit.

Buying my first shower chair from the 'aged care' section of the store, was brilliant. In the way that falling into a pile of monkey vomit is brilliant. For months, I persevered. No shower was going to get the best of me. I was undeterred by the heat dropping my bp and ending up legs akimbo in the bottom of my manky shower. I was even undeterred by the possibility that my unconscious, moist, pasty, blancmanged, and naked body may be found by strangers should I faint. Rather, this further inspired me to shout my defiance to the universe like a mad woman, “Mwahahahahaha, I laugh in the face of naked danger”. Instead the large colony of mould and short and curlies cohabiting and seemingly reproducing in the bottom of my shower were the incentive for purchasing that practical piece of plastic. Even now, over a year later, I curse that chair, and insult its mother, every time I step in to wash away the funk of ill health.

Buying my first dosette box for my ever growing pharmaceutical collection, rates up there with falling on the rough end of the pineapple, whilst shouting “may I have some more”. When my grandmother-in-law bemoaned the fact that she needed to take a single tablet a day at 80, I may have envisioned beating her to a bloody pulp with my dosette box, which currently contains 133, 19 per day, individual tablets for my week. Again, whilst I would consider this investment very useful if I were a mature and rational individual, I instead see it more as a pain in the arse to fill each week. A dosette box is required as I have the memory like a goldfish and am easily distracted by bright shiny objects. Personally, I think that makes me unpredictable and fun, but I have been reliably informed by the responsible members of my household that it makes me prone to forgetting my tablets. Unfortunately, the ineffectual little box doesn't alert me when I have forgotten to take my tablets. It has become little more than a place for unloved tablets to reside and a prompt for my husband to berate me for my dumbarsedness. A disheartening reminder of my decrepitude and about as useful as a Speedo on a Lemur.

Buying my first walking stick was up there with a rectal probe. Despite requiring one for a few years now it is only recently I have admitted defeat. I now have a practical stick with a pattern more suitable for Holly Hobby, than a woman who still giggles every time a sports commentator mentions an AFL played by the name of “Goldsack”. I was swayed by the crafty saleswoman who pointed out that it was a great option for a 'young' woman like myself. Damn, my nearly 40-year-old arse is easy. I'm surprised she didn't say it made my bum look smaller. I continue to despise it, and tend to combine its use with muttering angrily under my breath and swearing, when it inevitably becomes tangled in my legs and handbag. Stumbling like a drunk, arms flailing, is still my preferred mode of walking. I would rather stagger into, and grab, the many Japanese tourists who frequent my local area. I'm sure I'd make for a great photo opportunity, and just think what I'd be doing for my local tourism board. I can see the billboards now, “See our beautiful flora and fauna. Sample our local wines and produce. Be groped by strange seemingly-drunk women”. Why would I be practical and mature when I can provide such a public service?

And so the list of donkey ball sucking events continues. Maturity and I will not meet up any time soon. The Cool Aid shall not be drunk. I will continue to rally against the practical automatons who tell me to sit down, put on a jumper, have a rest, or any of the other rational dogma they throw my way. Beware unsuspecting grannies, this 38-year-old stupidly stubborn woman may be face planting in your lap sometime soon.


Now if there's any artsy folk in the Melbourne area who'd like to pimp Bernice up a bit I'm willing to hand her over. The old girl needs some bling of some sort to make her usage more bearable. Just be gentle.


Somehow this seems so perfect.


  1. Haha Michelle. I only laugh because I'm at the same point right there alongside you. That and when you said it sucks donkey balls left, right and centre I immediately imagined a three testicled ass. Ah dear brain, how you amuse me with your inappropriate images!
    I have recently relented to the shower chair. It's kind of like a short bench and, so it doesn't feel too much like I'm twice my age, I sit astride it and pretend I'm riding a horse. I've not yet relented to a wheelchair but I feel as though it's not too far off. Shopping centres are my nemesis and one day I'm just going to have to stick my dignity where the sun don't shine and be pushed around in one. If we lived in the same city we could have met up for wheelchair races. Also if you want to learn how to attack people with your chair, watch a game of wheelchair rugby, otherwise known as murderball. It's completely brutal and would be good for getting any frustrations out of your system

    1. The fact that you went straight to a 3 testicled ass is why I like you :) My kids mentioned murderball. For some reason they think I'd be good at it, cheeky turds.

      I have to admit the chair has proved helpful but I still hate every minute in it. It is a pity that we're not closer, I could see us racing down the street :)

  2. Oh Michelle, THANK YOU for re-posting this one! I really needed to re-read this tonight. I empathize with your plight and agree that all these independence-robbing milestones suck donkey balls. With any luck though Bernice will be a temporary companion or just someone to rely on when you need her. You're feisty and if anyone can stand up to Bob it's you!

    1. Thanks Kristina. Bernice has been out a few times now. Still not used to her but I am using her to get out a bit. Still feels really weird though.

  3. hey michelle

    im sure there will be plenty of good stories from the wheelie-chair perspective. ive never done a handbrake turn in a car, oh no, far to sensible, yet in the wheelie, go as fast as your stomach will manage then pull on the left brake watch the spin you make!!! and when you park, and the little old eighty year man looks at you as he gets out the car with his stick. then you place your bum in the chair, well faces aghast, chair trumps stick no end!!

    seriously though, i borrowed my first chair, wasnt going to use it, no,no,no. like you it was left in the porch i would glare at the 'thing' on my way out. i would rather be ill and have to sit in the car and do nothing then use it. then six months later i was dx with pots and had to go to hospital appts. the relationship begin on the conditions that i when i improved i could give the thing back. three years later i have one of my own. not ideal. yet one day when the cure comes i wont need no more help.

    take care michelle x

    1. Thanks Em It makes me feel better about the whole thing knowing that you did the porch and glare thing too. I look around me some days and think "how the hell did this happen?". You'd think by now I'd be used to it, but nope still not. But you are right, the day we're cured we wont need them anymore. Maybe we can have an Oz/UK ritual burning of the wheelchair?

  4. Ah girl I understand! I took ,mine out in public first time last night to take my girls prom dress shopping. I agree big bad donkey balls! Hey though I got to take them. My kids fought over pushing me. I'm back to using my camo cane everyday. Sigh. Oh well makes people stare at me si I say outrageous stuff to them. "What did you fart?" or oh "you got a bat in the cave might wanna fix that" works every time! muhahaha! I'm gonna fix mine up! I will show ya a pic when I'm done.

    1. Looking forward to your pictures. I do take comfort in the fact that across the sea you're fighting the good fight with a good dose of donkey balls, farts and crazy :)

  5. Make it red glitter! Use boat paint! You can buy that yourself!

    1. I did think about that, but still haven't decided yet. Need to pull my finger out.

  6. Michelle as a 37 year old female I can relate to all your situations. Although I haven't conceded to the shower chair... I have advised my husband that should anything occur in the shower he is to dress me BEFORE calling 911. As an ex-emergency room nurse I do not need the worry of people I know seeing me in my birthday suit. I can off one huge advantage of the wheelchair... If you ever go to Disney the lines will be shorter and prime
    seating for all the parades. It was one good thing that I could give to my girls. Take care.

    1. HA! Yes the naked shower faint is a fear of mine. My kids and husband have been instructed to cover my lady bits should it occur. Mind you I don't have the added complication of knowing the ER staff at my local hospital, yikes. I ended up in the ER of the hospital I was working in when I collapsed at work, that was bad enough I knew people but at least was clothed!

  7. Hi! I introduced myself I think in a comment for your "beginning of Bob" post. I've added a link for this blog to my own blog; hope that is ok.

    I became my alter ego, Ms. Crankypants, in 2003 when I had to start wearing granny hose (that's what I called them, too). I will do practically anything to avoid having the equivalent of a boa constrictor touch my already sensitive swollen feet.

    I have a different set of ailments than you do, but after nearly missing a flight due to being unable to walk to the airport gate and a separate incident when my husband and a grocery store employee had to literally drag me from the middle of the store to the car, I caved in to acquiring a wheelchair in 2005. Profound exhaustion being one my biggest problems, I found using the chair allowed me to be out in public a little longer because I wasn't using all my energy walking. Plus my husband, who has to push the chair because I cannot operate it very long, entertains me by pushing it as fast as he can so that I can pretend I'm in some glamorous convertible :0)

    Unfortunately, my wheelchair was lost TWICE, once by an airline and once by a hospital, this despite the fact that my full name and address were written on the chair. The hospital never did find it (they got it mixed up with their own chairs), so they had to buy me a new, albeit cheaper one. I decided to take no chances with this one and put hot pink duct tape in stripes on the wheel rims. I figure if people are gonna stare at me anyway, I might as well give them something to smile about. I also hate the wheelchair less since I personalized it.

    I've got the pill boxes too. I don't know how many pills I take a day, I just know there are 13 prescriptions I take regularly. I have to use the extra large boxes to accommodate it all.

    The folks at the local pharmacy see me so often they know me by name, and some of the things I have to buy for certain conditions are downright undignified. Like baby wipes for extra sensitive skin. A new employee saw those and asked me how old my baby was. I don't have kids. They were for me. Sigh.

    Your video seems most appropriate to me as I was listening to that very song this morning. On the way to church. Ms. Crankypants likes her heavy metal :0)

    Does it help that your misery has company? Even if it doesn't, I enjoy your posts. Feel free to swing by my blog sometime:

    1. It does help. Misery loves company, as the saying goes. I think that's one of the good things about blogs and the like. You find that you are not alone and that there are people all over the world who understand and live the same life, just with a slightly different accent. I do like that you had a hot pink chair, I really need to pull my finger out and colour mine up.

      PS I like to think it is our kickarseness that really bonds us though ;)

  8. I love my wheelchair. It's far from perfect, was bought secondhand in 2008 (after years of desperately needing one), and is a tad big (if I needed to use a chair all the time, I would have to get a better fitting/more ergonomic one for sure), and am immensely grateful that it sometimes allows me to venture out (or even just navigate around the house) on days when I otherwise wouldn't be able to.

    Thank you very much for your wonderfully nice comment on my red and turquoise vintage outfit this week, dear gal, I really appreciate it.

    Sending hugs out to you from Canada,

    1. Hi Jessica

      I keep telling myself it will get me out more. I figure if I say it enough I'll eventually believe it myself. Still strange to ride in it. Though my husband loves driving me like a crazy man. There have been a few near death experiences which he finds highly amusing.

      Hope all is well up there in the distant North.
      Michelle :)

      PS Your outfit was really lovely and definitely suited you.

  9. been in the wheel chair thing came out of it.... always keep hope alive

    yep 8 years ago... that was my mode of transportation... I hated and loved it. I am head strong, at times, I took the chair shopping with my family,I tried to push it most of the time. it did a wonder for balance. no energy went out for that... I didn't give a rip how strange I looked... On long trips and some short distances I needed it depending on the day with dys.

    eight years later my symptoms comes and goes you know. blah blah etc the hardest to deal with is the depression that comes from dealing with limitations from dys and loosing yourself temporarily to this illness. all things with dys seem temporary they pass...

    keep your head your faith etc....


    1. I have the coordination skills of a rock so I don't try and push myself too much plus the exhaustion thing. Living on the side of a mountain makes it difficult to push myself anyway. Great to hear you got out of it. I hope that too. Gotta keep hoping, sometimes it's all you have. :)

  10. Its amazing how many people are in wheelchairs these days. They are incredibly important...not only for being mobile but also used as a piece of furniture.

    1. There are a lot aren't there? It's quite surprising, but since I first mentioned it I've had a heap of messages. I'm actually loving a lot of the decorations people have added to personalise them. Some really creative people in the world.


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.