Lifting higher toward greater mobility

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Patient Story | 0 comments

Most moments in life pass without a second thought: emptying the dishwasher, waiting at a red light, channel surfing for a new TV show to stream.

Some moments change everything.

For Mark Harringa, his fateful day started like every other at his logging jobsite. Then, while working his shovel logger, the machine unexpectedly flipped down the slope of a hill multiple times while he was strapped to his seat inside the cabin. The pain was excruciating. Unbearable. Unimaginable.

Mark suffered a concussion, a shoulder dislocation and broken socket and, most devastating of all, the flipping action drove Mark into the shovel logger’s seat so hard that the impact compressed his spine, crushing his L1 vertebrae.

After a two-month stay in hospital, his spine now fused with eight bolts and two rods to hold it together, Mark returned home but he has never returned to his old normal. During his first year he was mostly confined to bed, the only place Mark could manage the severe back pain that had come to dominate his every moment.

Time heals. Gradually, Mark began feeling comfortable enough in limited doses to expand his horizons. The first step was to get him out of bed and connect with his family again at home over dinner or a TV show.

Kootenay Columbia Home Medical was introduced to Mark by WorkSafeBC and we equipped him with a manual wheelchair to help him navigate around his home. To help relieve the pressure on his lower back while in the wheelchair, we also provided Mark with a back brace and a specialty wheelchair cushion to ease pain in the spine.

One of the biggest moments in Mark’s post-accident life happened when he brought home his Cloud with Twilight lift chair by Golden Technologies. The Cloud power lift recliner offers ergonomic seating, endless positioning options and an adjustable headrest and lumbar support.

The most revolutionary feature of Mark’s Cloud lift chair, however, is its Twilight technology which provides a tilting motion that cradles Mark’s body, allowing him to experience extreme zero gravity, rejuvenate his back and enjoy comfortable, customized TV-watching positions. The chair has enabled Mark to relax and join his family over a movie at home or spend quality time catching up and sharing stories with visiting family and friends.

Procuring the Cloud with Twilight lift chair for Mark involved a first for Kootenay Columbia Home Medical. While we primarily sell Pride Mobility lift chairs, we realized the Golden Technologies innovation better addressed Mark’s unique needs as it was the first and only lift/recliner on the market at that time to include a power tilt feature.

“It’s been amazing to work with everyone at Kootenay Columbia Home Medical,” says Mark. “They’re really good at digging for information and don’t just settle for the first answer they come across. The Kootenay Columbia team came and saw me in hospital initially and we’ve been tied together ever since. I owe a lot of gratitude to David and Jocelyn, and Amy is fantastic; she’s a bulldog and if there is ever an issue, she’ll drop everything to help and never backs down until she’s fixed the problem.”

It’s been a long, arduous road of recovery for Mark but thanks to his perseverance, he’s getting there. Long gone are the days when he was confined to his bed as the only way to manage his pain; he’s now able to get out of the house, run errands and connect again with his neighbours and community – miraculously, with very little assistance or use of mobility aids.

“Apart from seeing Mark walk with a cane, to most his mobility limitation is an invisible disability,” reflects David Stokes, owner of Kootenay Columbia Home Medical. “On his better days, Mark might not even look as though he has a disability at all when driving his truck or entering a local shop. Much of society doesn’t acknowledge the scope of visible disabilities, let alone the invisible ones like Mark’s.”

Mark agrees, though he’s divided on how people perceive him in public. Standing well over six feet and with a robust build, he’s traditionally been perceived as a “manly man” by his own admission, which has made his disability harder to accept.

“I’m not used to people helping and opening doors for me and things like that,” Mark concedes. “I was the one who used to hold open doors for people. It’s been a difficult adjustment. But what I’ve learned, and what I can share with others who may be going through something similar, is that it’s okay to ask for help. There are people out there who want to help you. Let them.”

Are you looking for a customized approach to home medical equipment in the East and West Kootenays? Or do you have a patient story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you – contact us now.

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