SITTING NOT STRUTTING

Yesterday, my son called to tell me he’d made a really good deal — if I could manage the cash — for a stair chair lift.

Although I can —  and do — get up and down the stairs, it’s slow and getting slower and more than a little nerve-wracking. I’m not only slow to do it, I live in constant fear of falling. Surprisingly, that’s not a new thing because I have fallen downstairs quite a few times over the years, including when I was a lot younger. There’s something about looking down that makes me just a little bit loopy.

One step at a time and carrying packages, stairs are pretty much impossible. This deal was as good as it was ever going to get — and it looks as if these were never previously installed. I took the deal. Owen says he knows how to install them having recently done a set for a friend. I said it was a “go” — as long as this is something that will happen and not become another thing waiting in the basement for an installation “event” to occur.

The stairs are the opposite of “strutting.” I call it “sitting.” I’m very good at sitting and linguistically, it is similar to strutting, but with the “r” and “u” replaced by an “i.” Maybe, if you say it very quickly, it might sound almost the same.

It is just one unit — for the upper staircase. These will take someone from the front entryway to our living level. I will happily forget about strutting. This is a world-altering event for me and might mean we can continue to live in this house.

Not only is it a way to get upstairs not on our feet, it means it ‘s possible to get someone in a wheelchair into the house. Before that, we’ve had to tell anyone in a wheelchair our house is non-navigable. No entryway without at least 6 steps. The chair can also carry packages, so you can walk up while the chair hauls the boxes, crates, bags, and suitcases.

This is a big win here, though it reduces our limited remaining “savings” to a new low. Regardless, I was would have had to deal with this. Those 6 steps seemed like nothing 18 years ago. They feel a lot steeper these days.

It’s the official end of strutting. Sitting is good. I can sit. I’m a strong sitter. It’s also the final “giving in” to reality thing, the recognition that no amount of good will, determination, or optimism will change the number of stairs. I cannot begin to tell you how much this isn’t what I envisioned for my life as a senior. I was planning to be a dashing senior. Like in the movies. Gray and wise, but still ready to do it all … maybe slower … but otherwise, no problem.

I had no idea how much life would change in the decade following my 60th birthday. We sometimes think one decade is like another, but it turns out … not necessarily. This particular decade has been humbling. And yet — I’m still here and so many others are not. So before I get all maudlin about this, I may need help with stairs, but I’m alive. As far as I can tell, likely to stay that way for a while.

This is huge. Bigger than Trump’s stupid wall and the Mexicans don’t have to contribute a single penny to the project. We’re just winning all over the place!

35 thoughts on “SITTING NOT STRUTTING

  1. And what the stairs can carry up, they can carry down. I don’t mind lugging things UP our stairs, but they’re narrow and steep (91/2″ risers) and tilt slightly downward (and don’t we all these days), so Im wildly careful with the vacuum (step, rest, move, step rest, move) and boxes.

    I just had this vision of one or more of your dogs sitting in the chair, riding up and down up and down…

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    • I figure if it doesn’t carry me, it can at least carry the bags and boxes. As for the dogs, I think they have secret opposable thumbs!

      Our stairs are also too steep, lean downward (as do I) … and are narrow. With the chair, the stairs will be even worse. I’m also happier going up because I rarely fall upward, but down really scares me.

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  2. I so feel with you and it will be a great help. There comes a time in life when you realise the realities of getting old. I am lucky to have no stairs in my appartment. We have stairs to the cellar where the laundry room is, but we also have a lift so there is no problem. I even felt guilty about getting my wheelchair, as I can walk, although with difficulty. We have realised that I am becoming a prisoner in my own home. I go to the supermarket in the car. I can drive if necessary but am not a happy bunny, especially when Mr. Swiss is sitting next to me. I can walk at the supermarket clinging onto the trolley, but I can no longer take walks in my village to the castle up on the hill or the river down the hill. Even the village is becoming precarious. and so I have treated myself to a wheelchair to be able to move independently. There is now the added danger of falling. There are many aids for golden oldies like us, and we are golden, we are unique, we are a special model and we are becoming techhies: not only a computer, but wheels and movable seats – oh life is great if you can afford it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m eligible for an electric wheelchair — a good one — through Medicare. I haven’t bothered because I can walk IN the house. To get from here to town is four miles. A chair would require we get one of those power things to carry the chair. And even when I got there, I’m not sure how much use it would be in a town with few sidewalks. Most of the places we got are unpaved or the pavement is really bad. I don’t walk very far when we are out.

      It’s hard for me to navigate more than a very short stretch of open ground. We go places where we can park nearby and there’s a good path — if not paved, at least flat.

      If I thought a chair would help, I’d get one, but right now, living where we do, I don’t think it would be much help. I am more or less a prisoner around the house and have been for a couple of years. I’m lucky that we live in a nice, open place and there are a lot of small parks that we can drive right up to. If we were in the city, I’m not sure what I’d do.

      I have good days and worse day. Today was a pretty good one. Who knows about tomorrow?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if I am eligible in the eyes of the Swiss insurance and I am past caring. I just want to get out in my area. I cannot rely on the car as Mr. Swiss has his own problems and I glad that he deals with a lot of stuff for me. The lady in the aid centre said there is no chance of financial support, but our GP said it should be possible and I should speak to my neurologist, which I have done. He said to ask my sickness insurance and if I needed further help he would be there for me. So my plan is I have ordered it and will pay for it. Afterwards I will contact the insurance. They might think that a manual wheelchair would do the trick, but I want to move on my own. going to town in my area would be no problem with the wheelchair. We have good streets, but that is not really my aim. I want to move around to the river, the castle and in the village, although with the wheelchair I can go a little further.

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  3. It’s good to see a ride is on the way. Even before my back surgery, I had friends encouraging me to get to a ground floor apartment or a building with an elevator. I am on the first floor, but there are 8 steps up to it. It is not easy to consider moving from a place I have been for 38 years. Further, there is cost to that and I likely would pay a lot more rent for another place. It is strange how the “golden Years” are actually a large dilemma for those who are not in the billionaire class.

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    • When we moved here, it was from a 3-story townhouse, so the 12 stairs from basement to upper floor looked like a piece of cake. Surprise! I know all about the money problems. Maybe you can convince your landlord to put in a ramp. I think he is obligated to do it — legally, I mean — although whether or not a ramp would help you much is a different issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you, Marilyn. A stair lift sounds wonderful. God only knows why I bought another 2-story house, knowing I’ll have to go up and down those narrow steps all the time. Fortunately, we do have one bedroom on the first floor, so eventually the upstairs may become unused – unless, of course, I find a way to pay for a stair lift of my own.

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    • Our bottom floor has become an unused area. Actually, we really only use three rooms most of the time. My office is a guest room with closets and Garry’s office is JUST closets. We use the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, both bathrooms … and occasionally, the dining room. The rest of the house gathers dust. This lift will make it possible to continue living here. Otherwise, I don’t know if we could. Of course, we have no money to move … so eventually, it would just be living trapped in the house.

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  5. We have an upside down house, where the bedrooms are on the ground floor and the kitchen, living room, and dining room are on the floor above the bedrooms. So we have to navigate stairs daily. So far, so good. But we may have to move into a single story place at some point when “strutting” up and down those stairs becomes a burden. Or get one of those lifts like you got.

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  6. If you remember, stairs were never a big deal in the past, we negotiated them with little fear and, maybe, stumbled once in a while, or actually fell down a short stack or two. The one factor that we don’t count on, the essential difference is that at this point in our lives we’ve lost a considerable amount of muscle strength and with it goes the ability to correct for the little constant balance issues we took for granted most of our lives. PLUS now we feel that a fall can easily “break” us whereas it was usually only a matter of a couple bruises. So, even the thought of just falling from our, mostly, upright positions on flat level surfaces is enough reason for apprehension. My solution was to buy a one-story dwelling.., and I don’t go climbing up a ladder to the roof anymore either.., I have a guy.

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    • Garry’s balance issues are because of his ears, but mine, like yours, are a general change in body strength. I fell in the living room the other day. I think I tripped over a dog, or maybe the dog tripped over me, but I went down. It was just the living room and it was the rug and I didn’t break anything, but it’s amazing how much damage you can do without appearing to do any real damage. So the lift will make staying here a lot more reasonable. Without it, I’m not sure we’d be able to stay. Of course, I’m also not sure where else we might go.

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  7. Good move!!!! Stairs as we get older can be a challenge.
    Because of multiple falls on my knees, I go down stair backwards with help of railings on both sides of the stair wells.. and use both rails to haul myself upstairs when I do. In our little 50’s house the stairwells are stacked. There was a single rail on each when we moved in, and we had Don’s brother come in and add one on the other side of each.. It is a story and half house with full basement.

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    • This is a split ranch, so we have a similar style. The stairways aren’t wide — and we had NO railing. We added one, never managed to get the second one up. The 12 stairs — 6 from basement to entry with another 6 from entry to main floor — didn’t look like much when we move in, 18 years ago … but they are a lot more than they appeared at this point! We moved out of a 3-story condo and here which was a brilliant improvement … but we truly underestimated how time would change us.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay!!!! I’m ironically grateful that at the time I moved here, I wasn’t walking very well and my realtor was hysterical about that. The house — luckily — has a nice concrete ramp from the driveway to the kitchen. Otherwise, there are three steps in front. I didn’t like her being rabidly excited about that because of what it means, but having had to build a special house for my dad and being very familiar with disability access stuff, I was quietly happy about it. I wish I had a walk in shower, but that’s $$$$$ away. You’ll feel a lot safer and life will be easier with the lift chair!

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    • We don’t have a walk-in shower and we could use a whole new bathroom. But lacking money, I’m incredibly grateful to be adding something that might make living here less dangerous. We could have gotten a single level house when we moved here but it didn’t seem likely we’d ever need it. Stupid. We were moving from a 3 story condo and one of the big reasons I wanted out of there — it was a great condo — was that stacked three floor stairway. 12 steps between each level with a turnaround ever 6 steps. Even back then, it was an issue getting from the ground floor to the top floor bedroom — and once we were up there, we rarely went all the way downstairs again. The 12 steps in this house seemed like nothing.

      Nothing sure has become something. We really couldn’t imagine a time when that would seem like a lot of stairs. We lacked imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your stairs look steep Marilyn so I’m really glad you are getting this stair lift. If it means you can stay in your home longer it’s a big win. Needing to move and not being able to afford to or not being able to find anything suitable is very stressful. My sister and I are browsing homes on the internet at present as our plan is to move in together and I have to say that although we want a roomy house I am thinking about stairs too. I can do them now although I don’t like steep ones with no railings but what about in ten years?I don’t want to buy a house I will be a prisoner in in ten years time. Chase Owen to put that lift in for you ASAP.

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    • We should have looked forward too. I was 52 and Garry was 57 when we moved here and we were pretty lively. My back was a problem, yes, but I dealt with it — had been dealing with it my whole life. I couldn’t imagine what would happen to me three major surgeries later, with new heart valves to boot. I knew that our 3-story townhouse was impractical and the way the stairs were designed, even putting in chair lifts would have been absurd … but this was only 6 steps between landings which seemed like nothing.

      It’s not nothing now. Garry’s knees are not that good now, my hips are a big problem and I’ve lost a great deal of muscle mass after heart surgery. And we lose a lot of muscle mass anyway with time. Knees go. Backs go. You don’t even have to be old. IF you can get a place with no stairs or very few — well, that’s a really good choice.

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  10. Anytime someone mentions a chair lift for a staircase, all I can think of is that classic scene from the movie Gremlins. If you aren’t familiar with it, DON’T look it up!

    Among the many things I do not miss about the house I grew up in is the two stories. There are no stairs in this house, nor to I have any to mess with at work. I used to be able to take two stairs at a time regularly when I was a whippersnapper… but now I’m so out of practice I have troubles just trying to use stairs normally when I come across some. Enjoy your new ride!

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    • Garry is looking forward to NOT carrying the groceries up the stairs and while I will walk if I can, it is very nice to have a choice! I so wish we’d gotten a house without stairs. This will help. I saw Gremlins, but it was so long ago, I don’t remember it. I think I won’t go back and watch it again 🙂

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