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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Winter is Coming

Great news! Your gofundme donations have covered the cost of the last missing puzzle piece to get Karen to Florida!

Today I tested out our new Access Unlimited Multi-Lift, an ingenious, multi-purpose lift that can move the Quad Queen from a chair and into our vehicle. And back again.

Winter is coming... and so is ice, snow, and hockey.

I needed a willing subject as Karen can't get out of the house just yet - and that willing subject turned out to be our niece LaMondo.

Before I get into this too much, let me sketch out how this is going to work, and why she needed to be on hand.

Starting point - our house in Flusherville.

Ending point - our mobile home in the Greacey Palms Senior Putt Putt Trailer park.

Our raised ranch has stairs. You come in the front door and you can go up a half flight to the main living area, or down half a flight to the basement. A lift is backordered to enable Karen to transfer off the back deck, down the lift, and into the garage. The lift is supposed to come in November, way too late for us to wait.

The glorious sunny September weather has turned into October Ugly, with rain, cloud, darkness, and night temperatures just above freezing, lately.

So how do we get her out of the house safely? A $207 patient lift service with two attendants and a fancy pants stair climbing chair. We've used one once before for a critical MRI scan and it worked.

That will get Karen outside and down to the car.

The Multi-Lift has a mechanism with a hydraulic battery operated piston that can lift a person. This mechanism can be attached to various mounts. In our case, there's an attachment that fits on the car door hinges, and the lift attaches to it.

We have also purchased something called an Easy-Base for use in the house (or hotel!) that uses the same lifting mechanism.

Multi-Lift attached to the Easy-Base, and hoisting the Quad Queen sky high!

Today I had training on how to use the lift with the car and my niece as payload. It was the only unproven part of the mission and... it worked! Quite well!

Grainy conspiracy theory still of the Multi-Lift attached to car door hinges with LaMondo left dangling over her chair - temporarily.

So with all this, we can get Karen out the door and into the vehicle. And we'll drive to our first hotel in Scranton, PA (because of its bustling, creative arts scene, dining options, and night life).

We'll use the lift to get the QQ out of the car, and into a wheelchair, and up to the room.

That Easy-Base thing I mentioned above is coming with us. It breaks down into easily transportable pieces, and it will get Karen from the chair in her room to bed, sofa, or wherever else she might want to be.

Because there is so much I will need to take care of during the trip, plus the driving, we've opted to stop four times on the way, leaving 4-5 hours of driving per day. Hopefully Karen won't be too uncomfortable for that length of time.

I've a hired local Home Health Aides for evenings and mornings at three out of four stops - still working on the fourth one. They are damned expensive, but I can't see any other way.

I'm also working on hiring some help in Florida, and that's going to be expensive too, but on those days where I have no other support at all, I get pretty worn out taking care of all the things.

Meanwhile, at the Greacey Palms, there is a team of volunteers who build and remove wheelchair ramps. So, I contacted Gwen about a ramp. Gwen knows all about everything in the park and she's super helpful.

After about a week, I got a call. Bad news. The team did a survey and a ramp would not fit easily at our place. But!... Good news, for us anyway. A couple was leaving the park and had a lift they would no longer be needing. It was ours to use, if we wanted it.

It's hard to know how to feel about such a turn of events, because the wife is very ill with cancer and was moving back to their home to be with family. Their horrid circumstance would benefit us. I guess in life there are many sides to any event, different ways to view them.

I hope they take some comfort knowing that in their toughest days they are at least benefiting us in a meaningful way. That's sort of the best I can do to wrestle some sense into this.

This week, the ramp volunteer team installed the lift for us! It's up and running.

We leave for Florida soon. I'm excited for the trip, and happy we can be out of the miserable northern winter.

But honestly, I'm scared and so stressed. So many things have to go right for this mission to succeed. It doesn't seem like there are many fall-back positions or safety valves if things don't go according to play.

It does seem like one of the many moon missions I've been on as a make-believe astronaut. The Tercel is our capsule, and each stop is a planet.

I'm going to try to blog as we go - it helps to have an outlet to share the joys and successes. And when things go pear-shaped, it makes for dramatic reading, offering some form of redemption for whatever crap we're dealing with.

Lift-off is in less than a week.



    1. Best of luck with the trip! I know many of us will be keeping you in our hearts as your adventure continues. ❤️ Margi

    2. Fingers crossed that everything goes to plan. You seem to have planned this as best as one could. Looking forward to the updates!

    3. Looks like a hell of an endeavor but i have faith you can pull this off

    4. Let us know as soon as you hit the road so we sing the only song i know that references Scranton,PA, on repeat, to sing you safely along the drive. (Okay it is Harry Chapin's song Thirty thousand pounds of bananas )

    5. You don't know what you can do until you're faced with it. It's wonderful that her diagnosis is not going to keep you trapped at home. Did you check and see if your insurance could provide home care while away?
      When I worked in home health care here in Massachusetts, we would sometimes be contracted by Blue cross of Canada to provide services.

    6. It may not be bustling, but try Cooper's Seafood in Scranton. Don't miss the Anne Margret men's room and the international collection of toothpastes.

    7. I was hoping that another person would be traveling with you to assist, though it isn't reading that way. But I know you can do this and am so glad that you and QQ can get out of the cold! The weather here in Florida just switched gears...out of the steamy hell and into the comfort zone, so great timing.


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