Visit to my parents in France – Stairs, stairs everywhere

Ah well ! Looking back at my blog post of 14 August 2015, it seems that I was a bit over-optimistic about the outcome of my visit to the neurologist. (I’m starting to notice a pattern here!) The neurologist examined and prodded my foot only to announce that the swelling was most likely a result of my relative immobility and the occasional stabbing pain that I was experiencing when moving my foot was ‘neuropathic pain’. Having made a strong argument against Gabapentin (it badly affected my mood when I tried it previously), he gave me a prescription for Pregabalin – another neuropathic painkiller. With only seven days to go before our visit to France, I started taking it immediately knowing that the dose had to be increased incrementally (1 week at a time) and I probably wouldn’t feel any benefit until the dose got a bit higher.

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Despite always being over-optimistic, I was well aware that managing stairs at home was already difficult and even though our bedroom at my parents’ house in France is on the ground floor, this is split-level and there are stairs up to the house even to reach the ground floor. Cue: frantic searching for mobility solutions that could assist me with getting up and down stairs. Having identified a ‘stairclimber’ (looked very impressive in the video on the website) and we’d found somewhere that you could hire them in England, but their insurance wouldn’t cover us taking it to France. So, it was now up to my parents to see if they could organise the hire of one in France for the duration of our stay. Needless to say, they came up trumps and when we arrived at their house after a drive through torrential rain, there at the bottom of their steps was one stairclimber all covered by now wet plastic sheeting. My dad had been busy and temporarily fitted some paving slabs into the gravel at the base of the steps up to the back door, which was a great help with my transferring from the car onto said stairclimber.

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As I’ve said, everything was wet when we arrived (steps included), but my dad was confident that he could manage the stairclimber with me in it, as he’d been trained/practised with my mum (tall like  me) acting as ‘guinea pig’. I was a little apprehensive, but my mum assured me that it was “quite fun really” and I have to agree after using it for over a week extensively indoors and outdoors too, once the weather had brightened up. It really was a very successful visit, despite my initial foreboding and the stairclimber was great! However, it cost significantly more to hire in France than the prices quoted in the UK, my foot has still not improved and I still have a wayward left eye … BUT … I now have a stairclimber of my own, which we will take to France with us on our next visit – coming up soon – and due to the success of his temporary paving solution my dad intends to install permanent paving around the base of their steps. In the meantime, I am busily trying to solve my outstanding medical problems: Foot, eyes etc. etc.

Now at this point, I was going to add a video of the stairclimber in action, which is really quite impressive! However at the moment the technology is defeating me, so I’m afraid that thrill will have to wait for a while.

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