The old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is certainly true.
There have been amusing moments in my dealing with ALS, when laughter has erupted over the predicaments in which I have found myself.
We live in a rural area where electrical failures are frequent. It seems there is a tendancy for any tree limb within a hundred miles of our power lines to fall on them with impunity!
One night I could not sleep so I made my way with my walker to our recliner chair. My wife, Ruth, said, “I’ll take my cell phone to bed and put it under my pillow. Just call me if you need anything. I’ll feel the vibration if you call.” Now that’s an important part of the story, because she is totally deaf without her hearing devices. After about 30 minutes of TV I decided to lay out flat on the recliner and try to sleep. Within minutes all the lights went out, the TV screen went black, and I was laying prone on my back in a recliner controlled by an electric remote! I didn’t have the strength to sit up or to reach the manual lever to lift me into an upright position. I knew that a false move could land me on the floor. After 4-5 attempts to awaken Ruth with a phone call, I decided to try and slide down out of the chair. Then I could crawl to the closed bedroom door. And it worked! However, just then Ruth got up to get a drink, simultaneously electric power was restored, and when she opened the door, Ruth asked incredulously , “What are you doing on the floor?!”
On another occasion I was exiting the bathroom with my walker. I had placed a trash can on the seat of the walker in order to empty it. I tripped on my way out and fell on my knees. When I did so my face landed in the trash can! I yelled for Ruth to come. “Lift my head out of the trash can,” I yelled. Being hearing deficient she thought she heard, “Pull the walker away.” She pulled—and I pulled in the opposite direction to keep from falling face down on the floor. The harder she pulled, the further down into the trash can my face went. Fortunately, our daughter who had come to visit for several days. ran to see what the commotion was. She was able to lift me to a standing position, and we all had a laughable moment! I still can’t fathom how “Lift my head out of the trash can” can sound like ““Pull the walker away,” but, I’ve never had a hearing deficit.
When I first got the electric wheelchair I would steer it to my walker and allow it to stand me up vertically enough to grab the handles of the walker, and then use the walker to sit down in the infamous recliner. It was again late at night, Ruth had gone to bed, and we had the same ill-fated agreement to call her iPhone if I needed her assistance. However, being a newbie with the electric chair, I didn’t realize how sensitive the steering joystick was. As I exited the wheelchair my arm inadvertently hit the joystick—the chair jumped forward, knocked me down, trapped one my feet under the chair, and the iPhone in my hand hit the tile floor and slid out of sight. Fortunately, I had the medical alert necklace around my neck and I was able to make a distress call. The volume of the medical response operator’s voice woke Ruth up.
There was a quilt on the recliner. I told Ruth to help me lay on the quilt and then drag me into the bedroom (why I thought that was necessary, I don’t know!). Once into the bedroom Ruth couldn’t get me up onto my knees. But just then someone began knocking on our bedroom window. It was a sheriff’s deputy who was responding to the medical alert. Both he and Ruth together lifted me up onto the bed. Within several minutes the EMS arrived. (The quick responses are amazing since our house is nine miles from the closest town.)
The EMS persons had pulled their vehicle right next to a metal sign in our driveway containing a replica rifle with the message, “WE DON’T CALL 911.”