Ray and I went for our bus trip today with the WAGS (stroke support) group. It is the first time in fifteen months Ray and I have been on a bus trip and in a way this was a test run to see if going on a bus/coach for a day trip or for a few days break is possible. Well, from today's experience it is not an option any more. But then I should have known that as soon as we did the pick-ups and I realised I was the only caregiver pushing a wheelchair.
The trip went to a historic house the other side of Sydney. We had morning tea in the park where the Rivercats pull in for Sydney Olympic Park where the 2000 Olympic Games were held. It was a flat area suitable for all the disabled people but only two toilets so we more able bodied let those with an urgency problem go first. I made it back just in time to grab a cup of coffee. The people varied from a couple of ladies who hardly show they have had a stroke, by various degrees to Ray in his wheelchair, some came with a caregiver, daughter or friend and a few came alone, mostly they walked with a cane.
The historic house proved very difficult although as a concession to the disabled it had a ramp. The guide said to the bulk of the group: "You follow me." to me she said:"You go through there, down there, across there and up there and you will find a ramp at the back of the house." I did, after crossing half a cow pasture, a pebbled garden area, a rose garden and a long sloping lawn. Because of the recent rain it was all soft and muddy and required a great deal of effort to get through. A couple from the group held back to help me up the ramp but that was all.
We toured the house which was empty apart from a couple of furnished rooms. The guide then said:"Come on, follow me." to the group and to me she said:"Go back the way you came." Easier said than done when you are trying to push a wheelchair up a sodden cow pasture in drizzling rain. I finished up having to back up most of it. Just as I got near the top the bus driver saw me and came to help.
Of the rest of the trip we were able to do lunch, we did see the sheep shearing, but I declined to attempt another cross country drag to another paddock to see the sheep dog round up the sheep. Enough is enough. I could of course have left Ray up the top and gone down myself but that kind of defeats the purpose of getting him out for the day. The truth is that we can no longer do what we did even twelve months ago. Since Ray's fall, with his current weakness and lack of strength in his legs we have an added degree of difficulty. We not only can't keep up with the able bodied, we can't keep up with the moderately disabled either. My back is so sore from dragging him backwards that I will have to take pain relief tablets to go to sleep tonight.
All this is a bitter disappointment. I did think that by now Ray's injuries would be healed and we would be back to where we were, but that isn't so. I don't know why it shouldn't be so. He had a fall, he fractured his pelvis and hip joint, he did not have another stroke. The doctor says he is doing very well, the physio says the same. But he is still obviously nowhere near where he was mentally and physically to where this all happened in January. I need to find out why.