Archie Gill knew he had to do something.
The 78-year-old retiree in Rougemont, N.C. had dislocated his left shoulder, and the arthritis in his right shoulder made it difficult to get out of bed.
“It always hurt so bad just to get out of bed,” he said. “You try to do it like a normal person, but I just couldn’t. I had to come up with a new way.”
His left arm was immobilized in a splint, and his right arm had limited movement, but he was determined to move on his own. His first solution was to sleep by keeping his left shoulder off the bed, but that didn’t allow him a comfortable rest.
Tired of tossing and turning as well as the pain of getting up, the retired engineer discovered a new approach.
“I thought it over, and I just had to come up with something a little easier,” he said. “That’s when I remembered I had some ropes.”
Those ropes became the catalyst to alleviating his trouble. Archie took the ropes and tied them to the headboard and the footboard at the left side of the bed. The half-inch rope provided enough support so that Archie could use his right shoulder to help pull himself up.
“Once I figured out the concept, it really didn’t take that long to put it together,” Archie said. “I had it all set up within an hour.”
Archie began using his new pulley system in February, just two days after his injury. Joleen Dunson, operations manager at Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services in Durham, N.C., visited Archie the following day to start his occupational therapy and was amazed by his creative approach to his predicament.
“It was very clever,” she said. “It was great to see a patient take such an initiative.”
Dunson visited Archie for a month to help him regain more movement in his right arm. He’s had a second operation on that shoulder and says he will continue using his pulley system while it regains strength.
“We always try to encourage our patients to adapt to their environment,” Dunson said. “I was thrilled that Archie has been able to do that. Many patients are open to teaching and suggestions, but he was smart enough to figure it out on his own.”