Saturday, June 23, 2012

How to Get Your Man on the Couch

Isn't it great when you have one of those light bulb moments?
Where a common sense solution pops in your head for no reason.  You've had the problem for years, maybe.  And the solution was sitting right beside you (or under you) that whole time.  But you just couldn't see it.

Then you do.
And life gets a little easier.

I had one of these moments in our living room, recently.

Problem: Watching TV together doesn't feel all that together, because I'm on the couch and Michael is in his wheelchair.  We want to snuggle, but it's a big production of transferring and lifting and pushing and pulling and nudging and a hurting lower back when it's time to get him back into his chair because it's like lifting 150 lbs of dead weight from a low angle (ouchers) and tossing it up and to the side.

Solution: Take the cushion from the arm chair and put it on his side of the couch.  Makes a higher seat for him on the couch.  Higher = easier to transfer him into AND more importantly, easier to transfer him OUT of.

Pure genius.  

And we enjoyed our snuggle time.
We did this one other time since taking these pictures, and that time, we had the wheelchair facing the other direction and I learned that it is very important to go with your strong side on this transfer.  My strong side is the right.  No two transfers are the same, remember that.  But, I have found that if I move him TOWARD my strong side for the more awkward transfer (in this case, the more awkward transfer is TO the couch) then there will be a lot fewer "pull my pocket here"/having him bend over and pull his jeans at the back to scoot him in, etc. And it's all of that stuff that is hard on your body, because those motions are so not natural.  

So, try it.
Double stack your couch cushions.
Transfer TO your strong side.
And enjoy some love seat snuggles together.


Jenn [ Crippled Girl ] said...

I love moments like this, when you find a new way to make life easier and get the additional benefit of snuggle time. :)

Have you guys thought about trying to get a prescription for a portable hoyer lift? My brother has one and that's how his girlfriend gets him on/off the living room furniture. Just something to consider! <3

Bethany Marchese said...

I love this! its soo smart ive been trying to figure out something for Billy & I for a while & you just helped me :) THANKS

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hey Jenn! Michael used to have a Hoyer lift but I HATED it, so we donated it. Maybe in the future when we build our dream house (one day) we can get one that isn't so huge and/or has a place to store it. I am not a fan of medical looking stuff being out. :)

Bethany: BE VERY CAREFUL you don't hurt yourself. If you aren't used to transfers, don't start with the couch. Start with the bed!

Jamie said...

Will and I have had this problem for years. I sat in my chair, while he got to stretch out and relax on the couch. Every now and then I would transfer, but it was too much effort.

So, after being blessed with a little extra money we went to the furniture store to try on some couches. I would transfer...of course getting on is easy...gravity is great! But if I needed Will's help at all getting off the couch it was a no. We quickly realized leather (or the cheap leather) was the best to transfer with. It doesn't look the best sometimes, but I no longer care about the look, just the accessibility.

We found a couch that I could get on AND off of easily and the best part about it was the ELECTRIC recliners on both ends! Now, I sit on the couch with Will ALL the time and I love it!! I can put my feet up and get out of my chair! It is a huge blessing and I would suggest looking into getting one. You would love it!!

Stephanie said...

As a para, I transfer myself, but realistically, have the same obstacle to overcome. My solution is bed risers .... those plastic blocks for dorm beds. We put them on the couch, and it brings it up to an almost level transfer. The only problem is when my tiny mother in law visits, and her feet swing in the air.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Bed risers = brilliant! I am probably the same height as your "tiny mother in law" though, haha! Being short comes in handy because I'm the perfect height for Michael in his wheelchair, but yes, when I sit down - my legs are always swinging! It's especially uncomfortable on airplanes! :) Just get her a little step to set her feet on, and she'll be good to go!