Jaqui's Daily Blog

Gulliver, His Travels and My Training Session

Gulliver, a large herring gull with a disdainful expression on his face, turns up regularly on the windowsill outside Mr B’s hospital window. I call him Gulliver (the gull, not Mr B, don’t be silly, I hope you are not going to keep this up all through today’s Blog) because (I) he is, obviously, a gull; and (ii) he likes to travel all along the windowsill, checking us out with his beady, supercilious eye.


I was quite glad when the occupational therapists suggested we should pull the window blinds down while I was having my training on the ambiturn. I didn’t fancy having Gulliver squawking contemptuously at my feeble efforts. 


I had told My Foursome (I try to keep them in touch with daily events as they arise) that the equipment we were being loaned was called an Ambulift. My Boy immediately googled this and messaged me to say that I had surely misunderstood as an Ambulift was something employed to transfer wheelchair bound passengers onto aircraft. It seemed unlikely, he said, kindly, that this was the same piece of equipment I was talking about. Faris the Rascal would probably comment that his Nanni is always Less Than Accurate on Important Details.


Grand-daughter Eleanor, who volunteers in a care home, is the only member of the family who is completely knowledgeable about ambiturns, though when she messages me to tell me how useful they are, predictive text turns ambiturns into ambitions. We both agree that we like the thought that the elderly residents in the care home, many approaching the end of their days, still have ambitions. Indeed they have, avows Eleanor, stoutly, I should meet Mavis! I don’t know Mavis but from what my granddaughter says, she may well be a Kindred Spirit.


I have already had a practice with the ambiturn, using one of the Occupational Therapists as my passenger which made us both giggle. However she is tiny and Mr B is, well, not. Nevertheless it was important to exude total confidence in my abilities as Mr B will not be allowed home unless everyone is sure he will be safe with me. And Mr B, of course, is quite desperate to be back home. The question is, will he feel safe with me in charge of the ambiturn? Regular readers may remember the story of our first trip out using the power pack on his wheelchair, when Mr B was convinced I was going to kill him by steering him and his wheelchair into the road. I don’t have a good record for such things in Mr B’s eyes.


Basically this is how the ambiturn works (I know you like it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational, every once in a while): the lead carer (that’ll be me, then) pushes the ambiturn under the chair or bed in which the person to be transferred is sitting until he or she can place his / her feet on the base. There are two large footprints marked on the base, just in case anyone forgets which part of the anatomy is to be placed thereon. He /she then rests his shins against the shin pads, the carer puts on the brakes (not to be forgotten) and the person being transferred hoists him or herself upright, clutching onto the frame of the ambiturn to help. The carer now releases the brakes (helpfully marked red and green so even I should be able to remember the difference between on and off) and turns the ambiturn slowly and carefully on its six wheels (no, I haven’t counted them, I have taken the OT’s word on this. I mean, why would she lie?) until the person being transferred can feel the chair or bed onto which he / she is being transferred behind him or her. At which point the carer applies the brakes once again and the person lowers him or herself onto the aforesaid chair / bed / whatever. It’s as easy peasy as that.


Mr B, after several days in bed, is a little wobbly on his legs and requires a helping hand from the OT - so until he gets less wobbly I will need someone to help us. The lovely Donna, one of Mr B’s carers, is coming into the hospital on Monday to learn the ropes. 


I am taken through a risk assessment sheet, with lots of common sense reminders about checking the equipment before every use and only employing it for turning (as described above) not for going on Jolly Jaunts between living room and kitchen, for example. Where two people are operating the ambiturn, it is essential to decide which one will be the lead person. That’s a bit like piloting a boat, I tell Mr B, who looks alarmed at the thought that I might be considering a sea-faring career.


So today I am waiting in at home for the ambiturn to be delivered. This means I can’t be at Mr B’s hospital bedside until I have taken delivery of this most important piece of equipment which will be essential to bringing him home. He will be missing me today, reading the sports reports out loud to him and bringing him News From the Great Outside.


Still, at least he will have Gulliver for company…


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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