|Our raised beds which let me grow vegetables|
I've added these pictures to show what our disabled friendly raised beds look like together with the long concrete path that runs the length of the garden. Without these I wouldn't be able to do anything, it gets me outside for some welcome relief from the living room as well as some fresh air.
Gardening may be rewarding but it's also incredibly frustrating. Of course I'm confined to my wheelchair with my legs up. This immediately causes problems because I can only position myself sideways against the sleepers. Any digging I do is with a trowel like tool with a long handle attached. My upper body has to do all the work, and I have to lean across the sleepers to do any weeding, planting or pruning.
I never seem to quite manage to get myself in the right position, the wheelchair often refuses to move because the front wheels are so close to the sleepers and get stuck. I also have a problem with the lever that allows me to raise or lower the leg rests. In my efforts to get as close as possible to the bed, this catches on the sleeper and so the leg rest drops. This is really painful and extremely annoying. I find it difficult to raise it again myself so Eric has to come to my rescue. Indeed without lots of support from Eric I wouldn't manage to do anything in the garden, despite it being adapted.
I have lost count of the number of times that I've got myself settled only to find that the tool I want to use is out of reach, or at the other end of the bed. I either have to manoeuvre to get it and then re-position myself again or ask Eric to get it for me. It can be absolutely soul destroying and their are many times when I get so fed up with it that I wonder why I bother at all. I feel so guilty because poor Eric has to keep bringing me things, filling the watering can, emptying my weeding bucket etc. It is impossible for me to get in and out of the garden unaided, indeed I need significant help just to get into the wheelchair! There is so little that I can get myself or put away, the onus is very much on Eric to tidy up after I've done. Yet again it burdens him with doing even more for me. He never complains bless him, and as always he does all he can to help me.
The above sounds quite negative. It isn't meant to be, I am just trying to explain what doing some gardening involves for me. It is so difficult to express in words how hard it is for me to do gardening. As with everything else it's a military operation and it always makes my legs far worse and me utterly exhausted.
I get punished as usual but am happy to accept this because of the pleasure gardening gives me. It is nice to be able to do something normal albeit in a rather abnormal way.