The telephone conversation with the doctor about sleeping (or lack of it) on Day 3 wasn’t very helpful… best advice he had was to play with the timing of the drugs I have (paracetamol, codeine sulphate, Naproxen – a rather vicious NSAID). If I can, the plan is to ensure I have paracetamol and codeine just before settling down to sleep. This is fine except you’re supposed to not have the codeine on an empty stomach so that has to be factored in. I’m not a fan of eating just before bedtime but needs must. A bit of cheese, a cup of tea, a choc-ice. Or a banana or yoghurt maybe. Really not things to be putting in your tummy at this time of night.
Anyway, by Friday, day 5, I knew I needed a better solution for sleeping. What I needed was a reclining chair. I recalled from seeing them in furniture shops that they are really expensive – hundreds of pounds – so that wasn’t going to happen. I wondered if anyone had one I could borrow. I spoke to someone on Friday morning who said, ‘Have you tried the local Red Cross?’ I confess, I’d never thought of that – but hell, why not? I called them but they closed for the afternoon and I knew I couldn’t wait until Monday so I asked on Facebook in my local town’s group. Several people suggested local charity shops, so I thought I’d give it a try. To my very great surprise, the local Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Shop knew exactly what I was talking about and said there was an electric ‘rise and recline’ chair in stock in their Frimley store. I was uncertain – £185 still seemed like a lot of money. But maybe – what price a decent night’s sleep after all? I left it to discuss with Geoff.
Next morning, Geoff went to parkrun as usual. On return, he said our friends had a reclining chair their brother in law had slept in successfully with a broken collarbone and would I like to borrow it? That was very kind! I said ‘Yes please!’ They came round late afternoon – but it was too low for me, more of a garden recliner and tipped too far back. ‘I’ll keep looking,’ I said. ‘What you need,’ said friend Mark, ‘is one of those electric ‘Rise and Recline’ type chairs like old people have. ‘Funny you should say that!’ I replied, explaining to both Mark and Geoff about the one at the Phyllis Tuckwell shop. So the guys agreed to head over there quickly before it shut and see if it was suitable.
And here it is! My monster chair!
It’s fab. It has a motor allowing smooth motion in recline and to tip the seat up, helping me to standing position more easily. The footrest also rises automatically so I can sit with my feet raised to try to get my lower leg swelling down (it’s working!).
My sleep on Saturday and Sunday nights was miles better – two big chunks of sleep, and woke feeling rested and relatively pain free. Amazing!
Since then it’s been mixed. Still, way better than sleeping on the sofa, I have a squishy cushion behind me on the left to support my bad arm and stop it flopping too far back. I am experimenting with how far back I can tip to still be comfortable, and how far raised my feet need to be. Also with pillow position to ensure my head doesn’t flop forward or to the side and get too stiff. I have a very light chenille throw over me as I sleep. It’s really very, very comfortable and practical. Getting up to go to the loo or get more paracetamol in the night is made easy with the ‘rise’ function.
I am very much reminded of this:
I am still waking in the night in discomfort – I’m not a natural back-sleeper and I get stiff hips when sitting for a long while – but at least I can then sit up or get up easily to stretch, reposition my arm, rub my stiff bum, give my legs a shake out etc
So if you are in my position, and can beg, borrow or buy one of these chairs. I really recommend it!