So anyway, here we are: 2016. As has been the case for over a decade now, last month saw me celebrate my special birthday. That is, the day I decided I was tired of having to continuously climb up and down stairs, park miles away from the shops and stand with the unwashed masses at gigs, no thank you sir! As my wheelchair rugby teammate's tattoo proudly states:
|Ancient Wheelchair Proverb say...|
The principal thing that stands out as far as last year's endeavours go, is a prime example of attempting something whilst looking utterly ridiculous. Combine that with the fact I was completely naked whilst doing it and you have all the ingredients for a You've Been Framed post-watershed special. "But what exactly is this demi-godlike, mind over matter exploit that you performed??", I hear you ask with baited breath. Well brace yourself ladies and gentlemen, because last year I slayed my mythical dragon, I exorcised my demon, I climbed my Mount Everest...I got myself out of the bath!!
Now I'll admit, on paper this doesn't sound like the most earth-shattering of breakthroughs and, in terms of stature, levitates me only marginally above your average house spider. However, I assure you, this was very much a game changer for me, especially when it comes to being on holiday or away on rugby weekends!
Due partly to my injury level and partly to my stumpy, T-Rex arms, I am unable to lift myself from the floor, into my chair. Don't get me wrong, I can lower myself onto the floor, but this is more of a controlled fall than anything. This essentially meant that, when staying in a hotel, I couldn't use a shower cubicle (or a bath either I assumed) and so would either have to wash myself as best I could at a sink (aka, the hobo bath) or ring up hotels individually and go through the painstaking process of explaining what exactly a wet room was and whether any of their rooms were equipped with them. (If I've learnt anything over the past 11 years it's that when booking hotels, the term 'accessible room' can have a wiiiiiiide variety of meanings, ie. doors an inch wider, with spyholes a foot lower and a grab rail located at any random spot in the bathroom!) However, being able to get out of a bath eliminates almost all of those issues, making it infinitely easier when planning a trip away, because whereas very few hotels offer wet rooms, all of them offer baths!
It turns out that the secret of getting out of a bath when you can't move your legs and only have very partial tricep strength, is that you don't so much lift yourself out as pull yourself out. This begins by me draping a towel over the edge of the tub and lifting my legs over and out (as seen in Fig.1), so that my body is now squashed between the width of the tub.
|Fig.1: Why you should never go to B&Q drunk!|
|"I can has help?"|
As far as 2016 is concerned, the stand-out events pencilled on the calendar so far are buying a house, going through the rigmarole of getting it adapted, and of course visiting Rio and New York in September. Littered in between these will doubtless be plenty more blog-worthy occurences, comical mishaps and things for me to grumble about!
Now if you'll excuse me, I hear the postman at the door, doubtless out of breath and struggling to carry the numerous sacks full of Valentine's Day cards and gifts sent to me by secret admirers. Yep, same story every year...