What Do You Do When the Hoyer Lift Breaks? Get Creative. {Maniacal Monday #2}

photo of person using wheelchair
Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

So for this week I want to write something a little more lighthearted which means it’s time for another Maniacal Monday!

We’re going back in time, all the way back to junior high for this one. While most of my wild experiences took place in high school, I did have a few adventures during my time at the junior high. This one involves being stuck in the bathroom with a dead hoyer lift.

At my school, I was lucky enough to have a ceiling track system installed in my bathroom to make it easier for my helpers. This thing ran nice and was incredibly simple to use.

One day during my afternoon break, we started noticing that the lift seemed to be running slower than usual. My helpers and I weren’t ever told if it was battery powered or rechargeable so we were afraid that something might be wrong with it.

After I did my business, thankfully, they had me back on the cot so they could finish getting me dressed. As I was being raised into the air, it was going extremely slow, and we realize I’m not making it back to my wheelchair. When we put me back down on the bed, that’s when it stopped completely.

My poor helpers are frantically pressing the buttons on the remote to no avail and we’re like oh crap! Now what?

There was a lot of brainstorming and coming up with possible ideas on how they were going to get me back in my wheelchair in one piece. They couldn’t outright lift me, but they thought about having the assistant principal and one of campus security just outright pick me up.

Even though this principal was built like an actual wrestler, the thought absolutely terrified me because I’ve been dropped by other people and my anxiety wasn’t having it that day. I was adamant that an actual machine be the one to move me because there were too many worst-case scenarios running through my head.

And so, my helpers went to go get the old, rickety hoyer lift with chains and everything we had used last year to do the job. Now while we used it no problem the previous year, this was a different sling I was currently using, not one that’s meant for this type of hoyer.

My helpers are looking at this sad contraption like, you seriously trust this more than the incredibly strong man to safely transfer you?? And I was like yes, a machine hasn’t dropped me yet!

Again, real bad anxiety and major fear of falling.

The straps for this sling wouldn’t quite slip on securely into the hooks, so one of my helpers (I’m sorry!) went down the street to the hardware store to get some little safety ring clip things. Those were used to hold the straps in place, and we carefully lifted me up, then ever so slowly rolled me towards my chair. The whole journey was short but they’re all standing there listening to this thing creak and groan as it moved. We’re all trying not to panic while I’m just hanging there thinking well, I’m screwed, prepare to meet the tile floor. Aww hell, how do I explain this to my parents?!

Since the lift could only go so high, they had to partially lift my butt up and onto my seat because my wheelchair has to be tilted back when I transfer. Once I meet that seat, we’re all breathing a collective sigh of relief.

They turn the knob so the hoyer can lower me completely down. Did I mention that this wasn’t an electronic lift, so raising it means that someone had to pump the handle the old-fashioned way? Yeah, another reason they got an electronic lift, so my helpers didn’t have to get such a hard workout twice a day each time they had to take me to the bathroom. My helpers are amazing, they always have been, and I will forever appreciate all their help as they constantly put up with me.

After that, school is about to let out, I missed my last two classes, so I just got on the bus and went home. Coming back after the weekend, we were told that the ceiling lift needed to be charged every so often by parking it in the dock that’s off to the side. We had no idea it even had one! I think the mechanics also put the blinker or part that shows if it’s charging inside the ceiling, so we had no idea what all was up there.

Regardless, it was an eventful day to say the least. But thankfully, it never happened again so yay!

And that was my wild event at junior high. Has this ever happened to you or anyone you know? Let me know how you managed to fix it or find another solution. Seriously, these tips are always useful. I may not have had any more problems with that specific ceiling track system, but I’ve definitely experienced issues with other hoyer lifts that I’ll probably post eventually.

In the meantime, here’s to always having fully charged medical devices that never break down! ~So Says The Disabled Dryad~

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