WARNING TO CAREGIVERS

Hi, We had an unfortunate thing happen to my PSP wife and I recently. Thought I'd share it so that others can prevent such a thing in their lives.

We were in VA for a wedding. The morning of the wedding we were to meet my wife's son and family at the hotel pool. As I wheeled my wife's chair through a doorway she suddenly pitched forward, out of the chair, face first on the concrete. What happened? As I passed through the doorway I was watching to make sure her arms cleared the door jam, along with the wheels on the chair. There was a VERY poorly marked step down just about four feet outside the doorway. The distance between the foot pieces where she had her feet placed to the back of the large chairs on the wheelchair filled the distance from doorway to the step down. Another reason didn't see it coming. I shall never forget the sickening sound of her head klunking to the concrete as she went face first out of the chair. Perhaps someone with good reaction time could have put their arms/hands out to break the fall but PSP patients reaction time isn't the best. Her glasses hit the concrete damaging one lens with a huge 1" by 1" scrape. Emergency staff arrived, asked her if she had blacked out to which she said no. They asked her the routine questions "What date is it?", "Who is president?" and other questions to assure her mental state. They said that except for the knot on her head and the other scrapes she seemed fine but they would transport her to hospital if I wished. She and I opted to NOT go to hospital and would watch for headache, nausia etc. and if anything like that occurred we would contact emergency support. Two days later when we arrived home she had two VERY black eyes that went from blue, then purple, then yellow before finally going away. Why am I posting this?

Steps like the one causing our accident are everywhere and sometimes cannot be seen by the person pushing the wheelchair. Now we have a belt to keep her securely in her chair at all times. Probably should have known that before and saved a scare and injury. The step at the hotel was painted a very pale, almost cream, color and not well marked. Next morning they had installed a black and yellow hash-marked strip on the step. We are working out details with the hotel at the moment.

Jimbo

6 Replies

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  • Hi again

    I think you mentioned in a previous post that this visit to VA was traumatic. Thanks for this advice about steps.

    I have 2 wheelchairs - one for indoor and one for outdoor use. I always back out of doorways, and this seems to be better for me for handling purposes. Glad to know your wife was not too seriously hurt. I bet her black eyes were a talking point!

    Cheers

  • hi sorry that your visit was traumatic so say the least

    and despite not !being in a wheelchair ye t know what you mean a bout seeing steps b4 u fall down them!

    It is difficult for my carer(s) as i do everything too quickly for anyone to keep up with me -even with the PSP things have speeded up for me and I need to slow down (partly my pre PSP personality and partly the PSP itself)

    sorry I cannot be of more help

    hope your wife's two black eyes are getting ok - I have had one for nearly 2 weeks now after falling (Twice on the same evening and my specs taking the brunt of it)

    lol jill

    :)

  • Hi Jim,

    Thanks for sharing this with us! I am glad Sharyn's injuries weren't more serious. Wheelchair users in England are usually advised to use a strap at all times but especially if going outdoors. We can all be wise after the event though and I'm so sorry you had to learn the hard way! :-(

    Hope the black eyes are fading!

    Love to both of you x

  • Dear Jimbo,

    Thank you for your advice. it is a timely reminder given the wheelchair for John is coming to play more frequently.

    Your accident reminds me of how vocal my sister was towards me one day. Her body gave way at an early age but voice remained very loud, clear and strong!. One day I found out in very clear terms - when her arms were weak how I was to ALWAYS ensure she was to always be strapped in (Susan had a lap sash) and for every single access ramp from footpath to road I was to turn the wheelchair around very slowly and roll the chair down walking backwards. One bump met one bruise for her. Working in 'reverse' so to speak went against 'my grain of thought' until Susan showed me how easy it was for her chair to flip with a swift kick & then wanted me to sit in it & give her a demo (Nice sis!). And for further effect, later that day she showed some photos of how many vivid bruises she had sustained whilst learning to manourve her machine!

    Regards,

    Alana - Western Australia

    N.B. Even with past experience, I am still on L plates when it comes to wheelchairs.

  • Thanks for the advice.

    Jimbo

  • my hubby passed out in wheelchair last July slumping forward, I was unable to keep him from tumbling to the ground, HORRABLE happening, he always wears helmet so thankful it was on him, He hates being belted in but now is ALWAYS,AND FIXED SO HE CANT SLIDE IT AROUND TO UNDO HIMSELF.

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