Those transfers

Seasons“We want to train you in transfers. ”

That came from Mom’s physical therapist. Transfers?

Oh, yeah. If Mom was going to live at my house for a while, somebody would have to move her from bed to wheelchair to toilet. Her stroke had stolen her ability to stand alone.

In eldercare terminology, moving was called transferring.

“Her transfers have been kind of wonky,” the therapist said. “We’re still working with her. Can you come tomorrow and we’ll train you?”

Sure. I could do all things in the name of love. I could do this.

Planning was key to a transfer. I had to learn to think through the direction of the transfer. Where to park the wheelchair. Where to put my feet. How to protect my own back as I lifted Mom.

A gait belt helped. It was an adjustable fabric belt that provided me with a handle to grip.

But sometimes I had to grab the back of Mom’s pants to aid the lift. Sometimes a bottom boost helped.

Not things I wanted to do to my precious mother.

“Don’t worry,” she said. She patted my arm. “We can do this together.”

We did. The first transfer, completed before the experienced eye of a therapist, was awkward and embarrassing. wheelchair2

Often my sister joined us. We had a wordless system. One pulled the wheel chair out of the way, tore it down, stowed it in the trunk while the other transferred Mom and buckled her in the car.

The funniest transfer happened when I missed the seat and Mom settled onto the threshold of the car door. We faced each other, cheek to cheek, and both got the giggles which hindered the transfer a bit.

But Mom was right. Together we could do it. For that season of her recovery, we did it.


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