Best Notify My Next of Kin…This Wheel Shall Explode….Absolutley Fabulous

The frustration level of caregiving is equal to the dropping temperatures here on the East Coast, which is at a 100 year low.  Pretty sure that’s true.

Finally after spending 6 months in rehab, my brother-in-law was finally home, healthy and enjoying his meals in the dining room with his best pals. Then the flu hit his facility. On Christmas.  But five days in the hospital with the flu, double pneumonia and a urinary tract infection did not keep  him down. Home on New Year’s Eve, he was ready to get back to his normal life.

When he, his neighbors and his caregivers all noticed that he was precariously listing to the right, they called me.

Now this wheelchair has been a problem for several months. A new set of footrests were installed and ever since then, the wheels get stripped. After the second time this happened, I told the repair people to really look at the problem.  The footrests were major culprits and needed a good talking to.

Here we were again only 60 days after new wheels were put on the chair. My brother-in-law looked like he was practicing for a circus act, as he sped down the hallway with his hair blowing in the breeze at a 45 degree angle.

When his caregivers called me, on Sunday, I was firmly ensconced in a charming little Italian restaurant 150 miles away in NYC. Of course, it’s adorable that they think I can actually fix the wheelchair.  I would have to have extra wheels, a special screwdriver, and actual mechanical knowledge. No wonder I have a God complex.

Monday, bright and early I call for repair assistance. I beg. I plead. I offer candy, money and my first born, whatever it takes to get this chair fixed ASAP, since he just got back to a semblance of a real life. What usually requires two weeks, will take two days. Okay, we can live with that.

Two days later, I arrive at my brother-in-law’s apartment for the 10:30 AM appointment. I’m psyched. Chair will be fixed. Man can get in chair and have meals with friends, all will be well in the universe.

10:30 comes and goes.

11:00 comes and goes.

“Hello, wheelchair repair guy, where are you?”

“He’s just a bit late,” they tell me.

11:30 his caregivers arrive to get him dressed to gently place him in his newly fixed chair. Except that it’s not.

12:00 comes and goes.

I have to call again. Why would they call me? I’ve only called them 10 times in the last 48 hours. It’s not like they have my phone number or know that I am waiting for them.

“Hello, wheelchair repair guy, where are you?”

“He got caught up at his last job, he will be there as his last appointment of the day. Sorry, i hope that’s okay.”

Sure. I only have to now order his meals to be delivered to his room, if it’s not too late. I need to reschedule all the caregivers because their duties will now change, since he is in bed and can’t get in his chair. I will have to go to the dining room and tell his dining buddies that they don’t have to set up his place, his tea, and his special condiments like they do every day because they are kind and amazing. But sure, no problem, you just show up when it works for you.

What I say is, “okay, just get it fixed, today.”

Miracle of miracles, I come back early in the evening to find BOTH wheels repaired, the foot rests changed and the chair ready to go. Too late to get my brother-in-law in his chair. But he says, “hallelujah” when I tell him he will be out and about starting with breakfast tomorrow.

On my way to a business appointment the next morning, I’m feeling quite smug as I know my brother-in-law is already at breakfast and I got the chair fixed in 2 days!

My phone rings. I answer with a happy lilt in my voice.


“Hi Cathy? This is the caregivers. Larry doesn’t feel well. He refuses to get in his chair. He has a temp and should probably go to the ER.”

Never did get in that beautifully repaired chair for a week.

You just have to Laugh………….


Share this Post:

15 thoughts on “Best Notify My Next of Kin…This Wheel Shall Explode….Absolutley Fabulous”

  1. It definitely seems like you have to laugh because the alternative is crying or tearing your hair out and that is NO fun!

  2. Aargh, wheelchairs and their repair-persons. They were the bane of my existence when I was working with a quadriplegic lady whose electric chair kept having minor issues…like randomly starting to do donuts in the middle of the road for no apparent reason. And getting it fixed? Ha. At one point she waited a full year, during which time she had to use a standard non-electric chair, which meant she had zero mobility. I understand chair engineering is specialized and tricky, but sheesh. I totally feel your frustration.

    1. Oh Karen, that is just horrendous! But I have to admit, I hope she had fun with those donuts! This is why I like the lawyer part of me…I don’t cotton to no BS if I have to pull the lawyer card.

  3. I definitely laugh with you. I work part time as a caregiver (mostly Hospice clients) and am also the grandmother of a special needs child, who is in a wheelchair.
    I have waited, and waited and waited. Laughing is better than crying.

  4. As a caregiver, I know that laugh all too well. And when we look back someday, it’ll be much better to remember that laugh than to remember frustration.

  5. Caregiving is both the most and least rewarding job ever…. So good to see that you know that the good will come and the your attitude will help you through. Laughter and breathing is all you have some days, isn’t it?

  6. No point in crying…..I would have flooded my backyard by now! So I laugh and I hope the world laughs with me. Thanks for commenting…and yeah, what a great dream….customer service!

Comments are closed.