Being tall and having long legs is all fun & games, until you get into a small car.
Pádraig had to learn the hard way following his accident that there are more serious issues than getting into a small car when you are very tall.
It is next to impossible to get a wheelchair for really tall people. Wheelchair engineers try their best with workarounds. Although, workarounds is not what you need for a chair you spent a lot of time in. For example, inserting an extra seating block to indirectly give more height for the footrests is ok for that purpose, but it also brings up the tipping point of the chair. The stability of the chair is not something you really want to play around with.
Orthopaedic issues also become more common and complicated if your long legs and arms provide more leverage for unwanted forces. We were reminded of the very serious problem Pádraig had in late 2019, when he could barely sleep because some involuntary movements of his left leg managed to push his femur out of his hip. When we brought him to our hospital’s A&E Department in January of 2020, they gave him an x-ray and referred him to an orthopaedic consultant. Many months later, Pádraig got an appointment for December of 2021 – an appointment that was just re-scheduled to April of next year, 2022. Had he not gone to Germany last summer to get this issue seen to, he would still be in agony – until April 2022 at least.
If you don’t understand how this is possible and allowed to happen: more than two years to get an appointment to see an orthopaedic consultant (or someone on his team) when you are in such acute pain that you cannot sleep, I am with you all the way.
This is beyond comprehension. There is no way that they even have the faintest about what they are doing, or rather not doing, to those who urgently and immediately need their help.
In good news.
Yesterday, Pádraig said, and not for the first time in the recent past, that he does not have any persistent pain and that he is in good spirits.
What is relatively new is that when we asked him what is the one thing that he misses most now is: not being able to stand by himself. Communication is also important, but he has made progress on that front. It’s standing tall that he misses most. Because, as he said : “When I stand, I feel alive.”
It could, of course, also be that he finds it hard to sit in a wheelchair that was obviously built for a smaller person than himself. We didn’t ask him.
Here is another quote about standing tall:
Stand for what is right. Even if it means standing alone. – Suzy Kassem
Eventually, one day, every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.
A very happy, peaceful and hopeful second Sunday of Advent.