My mum is a keen gardener and I have grown up being taught what and not to do when it comes to the plants.

So gardening is something that I really enjoy and it is nice to be able to talk to mum about the plants and ideas I have and swap tips and yes slowly I have started to be able to have some tips for her!

However two things stop me doing what I would like to do in the garden, the first is being a wheelchair user and being in constant pain and the second is the fact that we private rent and so it is always on my mind that at any time, we could have to move!

But I don’t let that stop me as this is after all our home (for now) and I am always willing to swap a short time in the garden doing some light work for a couple of days pay back with increased pain and fatigue.

Garen and dog

When we first moved in six years ago the 90′ x 40′ garden was mainly lawn except for a small border that was very neglected.

The border was made bigger and I attempted to help as I find it very frustrating just watching and that day was the last day I was ever able to use crutches.

I was then able to use crutches over a short distance but after sitting on the grass and hacking away with a spade to help, I then suffered a torn hamstring when I attempted to get back into my wheelchair and it took months to heal and the damage meant I could no longer walk.

I would say ‘lesson learnt’, my wife would say ‘you never learn’ and of course we know who is right!

a garden border that cost less than £30

We purchased fourteen bare root shrubs online and my mum bought us a Black Elder and a Dogwood and the rest has been from cuttings and propogation from my mums garden and the result is one we are happy with.

We also have shrubs dotted around the edge of the garden.

Wheelchair user sat on grass weeding a border

Whilst my wife enjoys gardening, she is scared of the bees and the various other mini beasts that live in the border and so the weeding is down to me. It doesn’t take much as we have used a lot of ground cover to keep the weeds at bay and I can lean in and weed the narrow parts.

However in the large part of the border, it is a case of me bumshuffling into the centre and weeding from there. As you can see in the photo above, there is a bare patch in and under the Lilac, Elder and Dogwood and a gap round the other side allows me access.

The way I handle these tasks is a little at a time and my wife keeps a strict control on the time I spend weeding.

This is because when you are in pain and you start to tackle a job, the extra pain will cause a release of adrenaline and this enables you to keep pushing on and it is only when you stop that you feel it and realise you have done too much.

Wheelchair user sat on grass weeding a border

I also always make sure I wear my boonie hat to protect me from the sun and I always have my Sho Fortis bottle at hand. The bottle keeps drinks cold and it is always important to stay hydrated in the warm weather.

I also have my mobile phone in a pouch that hangs from the seat of my chair and as I weed, I drag my chair along with me and so I can always call for help if I become very unwell or as is usually the case, I get stuck!

I also make sure to take a dose of Oramorph as this will help to keep my pain levels lower.

But of course even taking these steps, I am still in a lot of pain when doing some gardening. However I am willing to accept that as I enjoy it so much and it is a very good way of helping to keep myself from slipping into depression.

I am very proud of what we have achieved on a very tight budget and with my health and disability.

It does make me very sad that we will not get to stay here and will have to say goodbye to the garden and all the work. Our dream would be to somehow own this bungalow and get to stay here for the rest of our lives.

But that is life when you are disabled and unable to work and I very much doubt a fairy godmother will pop up and grant our deepest wish!

By Zechariah Richardson

Over 50, disabled, husband, father and gramps who reviews products and writes blog posts about his life, beekeeping, gardening and whatever pops into his brain!

3 thought on “Chronic pain, disability and gardening!”
  1. Hi Zec, You are onethe first of my amazing advocates of muggi, thank you! One of my customers sent me a picture of a new ‘use’ of a muggi which might make you smile? 😁 Can’t seem to attach a photo but its got seedling plants in them! 👍

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