A Matter of Millimeters

I am extremely thenthitive. Perhaps not so much emotionally, but physically? Fuggedaboutit. Decades of RA, especially the wreckage after my 2004 flare, combined with fibromyalgia has made me as sensitive as the girl in Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea. My body works all right within my current parameters, but if you mess with my environment, even just a little, things get unhappy. This is why. I can be sent into a panic by a broken microwave, why I hold on to a pillow even though it is falling apart and my floor is littered with down every morning. And it is why I have not yet instigated getting a new power wheelchair, even though Regan is showing signs of needing replacement sometime soon. Because the last time I switched from an old chair to a new one, it took six months (and a lot of pain) of slowly transitioning between the two.

Despite my attempts to control my environment so there are no physical changes, life has a tendency to happen, and so does change. More specifically, things happen with equipment. Some of that equipment is my wheelchair. More specifically, for today's purposes, to my left foot rest.

My left foot rest takes a pounding. It supports the weight of my left foot, braced against that foot rest due to my fused left knee. It also often supports my right leg, as I sit most comfortably with my legs crossed, or both feet braced against the left foot rest. This is also the foot rest that takes my weight when I left my derrière to pull up my pants. Not too long ago, I realized that I actually do a fair bit of weight bearing for someone who sits all the time. Said weight-bearing happens primarily on that foot rest.

And then there is the contributing factor of the 14 pound lap cat.

For the past couple of years, it's gone wobbly every six months or so. There's a brace at the top of the foot rest holding it against the frame of the chair and what with the aforementioned weight-bearing, it wears down over time. A previous firm grip gets looser, just by a millimeter or so near the top. However, once you get to the bottom where my foot presses against the foot plate, that's translated into maybe a centimeter. Which makes me feel like I'm sliding out of the chair. It also moves my left leg down a bit, which pulls my lower back a bit out of whack.

And then the pain starts. Being pulled out of alignment initially affects only my lower back. Then the muscle pain start moving up and down, spreading into the rest of my back and my shoulders, as well as my legs and feet. That week between the wobbly taking effect and me being able to get it fixed, readjusted me quite significantly.

Aforementioned 14 pound lap cat wasn't pleased, either. The slightly lower footrest meant she couldn't sit on my lap without starting to slide.

A week and a half ago, I went to see David the Wonder Repair Guy at Motion Specialties and after adding a diagnosis of needing a new left motor, he replaced the brace. It's a quick job, the part cost $25 and after paying the bill, I was ready to go home.

Throughout the 30 min. drive home, I could feel my lower back moving back into its proper place. A continuous subtle shift in my spine, cascading into a domino effect of a shift in the muscles of my back, shoulders, neck and legs. And then the pain started. Because shifting back into the proper place hurts as much as shifting out of it. It usually takes me a couple of days to adjust.

Or that's what it should have done. Except it didn't. Instead, something else started getting wobbly. Instead of the wobbly moving the foot rest down, it moved it from side to side. Every day, it got a little worse in every day, pulling me out of alignment, except now it was the right side of my body. I ended up going in for an emergency repair, but not before posting this tweet

Because, really? This particular astrological pile of shenanigans can just got hang, as far as I'm concerned. It's not for nothing I've got an actual label for my posts entitled Mercury Retrograde.

Turned out it was good thing I got to the shop — a bolt had worked itself loose and the foot rest would've gone flying. With me quickly to follow.

Crisis averted, all I have to do is get my body to calm down after all these changes. It's taking a while. Part of the reason may be that Lucy has regained access to my lap and has been a barnacle for days. I suspect it may delay getting ahead of the pain by several days.

Monday morning P.S.: I wrote this post this weekend. Last night, the verdammte thing went wobbly again. Not as in above is loose kind of wobbly, but the other kind. Going back tomorrow. When's Mercury Retrograde over again?



Wren said…
Sounds to me like that footrest ought to be welded in place permanently! So sorry you're being battered by Mercury, Lene. I hope this last fix is the last one needed and that your body will readjust quickly and without too much more misery.

Gentle hugs to you!
Anonymous said…
Mercury goes direct this Saturday, July 20 at 2:22 pm. Hang in there!

(Should I mention that it goes retrograde again in October, or should we just pretend we don't know about that at all?)
Even though Mercury's 3X yearly retrogrades are only 20 days or so each, I find that they always seem a lot longer when we're in them.

Annette said…
Sounds like Don and his banjo. He used to say if he could ever get it tuned he'd have it welded.
Sorry these inches and centimeters are getting you down.
Anonymous said…
You need to get a place on your chair just for your 14 lb lapcat! :) I have an 18 pounder and it's not fun when he jumps on!