For those of you too young to know about Archie Bunker’s Chair, it was a major part of the 1970’s sitcom “All in the Family”. The television show ran from January 1971 to April 1979 and was the #1 TV show in America for five years running. All in the Family was a TV sitcom that depicted many controversial issues of the times. Archie Bunker, played by Carroll O’Conner, was a lovable bigoted working class family man. His chair was his throne and he forbid anyone else to sit in it. The chair was old, tattered, and any time he caught someone sitting in it he would go bananas. Archie’s iconic chair is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Somewhere over the past six years since my leg injury I have created my own Archie Bunker Chair. It is not a chair and I most certainly don’t behave in the manor Archie did when someone sits in it. My Archie Bunker Chair is actually a spot on the couch with an ottoman. It is tucked in the corner of the family room and has become my safe spot in the world. It is a place where I read, write, surf the internet, manage my social media, and watch TV. It is also a place where I can prop my throbbing painful leg up, pack pillows around it and contort my body in ways that help relieve pain. Most of all it is my little safe corner of the world where I get solitude, I can be alone with my pain and have the things I am working on easily accessable.
It has become an Archie Bunker Chair because everyone that spends any time in my house has come to understand that it’s my spot. My kids appreciate the serenity of my spot and love to utilize it when I am not home. While I have no problem telling them to scat, I would never be so bold as to tell anyone else to move. My wife, however, has no problem telling people not to sit there. Interestingly, I have observed non-family members, who frequently visit, quickly relocating or telling their kids to relocate upon my entering the family room. I guess Archie Bunker could learn a lesson from me. While his freaking out every time he found someone in his chair caused them to challenge him, my polite, quiet demeanor gets me my spot every time. Well, maybe not; it’s more likely the throbbing deformed leg and crutches that get me my spot.
How did my Archie Bunker Chair come about? The second surgery I had took place on December 12th. When putting up our Christmas tree that year we took into account that I was most likely going to spend a good chunk of the Christmas season passed out on the couch. So, we arranged the couches so the Christmas tree would not block the view of the TV from either of the two couches. Upon entering the house post-surgery I took up residence on the couch that was pushed up against the half wall separating the family room from the kitchen. By accident I soon realized that it was the perfect spot for me to retain my independence. You see, on the other side of that half wall was the kitchen sink. The half wall was also topped with a ledge. I soon discovered that I could go in the kitchen get a drink, snack, lunch or cup of coffee, then set it on the ledge of the half wall. I would then make my way around the wall with my crutches, settle on the couch, then reach up and grab the item from the ledge. We left the couch in place even after taking down the Christmas tree so that I could retain this independence until I was done with the crutches.
In pre-surgery preparations for the next surgeries we moved the couch to the spot under the sink for my recoveries. The table next the spot on the couch would be stocked as my office along with a wide variety of comfort needs. Having my Archie Bunker Chair set up and stocked ensured my independence and allowed my wife to return to her life without worrying about how I would manage. I had even set up an “as seen on TV” remote light switch to make it easier for me to turn the lamp on and off. A milestone of my recovery was when the couch would be moved away from the wall and placed in its proper place. I would then return to working at my desk in the office and life would return to normal. Well, never really normal as the leg pain never ended – I just thought that stashing the crutches in the closet and rearranging the furniture would make the pain go away. After the fifth surgery the crutches never went away and the couch remained on the half wall. My office remains set up on the side table. I have replaced the remote light switch with a wired switch installed in the table. While the light switch might seem like overkill, it is a simple thing that makes a huge difference in my life. At this point I no longer have any interest in returning to my desk in the office. I push myself through every day, not allowing the massive pain I am in to stop me. I need my safe spot on the couch to return home to, get my leg up, find some comfort and get a break.
In Four short days I will return to the operating room to have my left leg amputated just below the knee. Once again I have fully stocked my Archie Bunker Chair with all the things I can think of that will provide me with comfort and some independence at arm’s reach.
I highly recommend setting up an Archie Bunker Chair for anyone suffering with a leg/foot/ankle injury or recovering from leg/foot/ankle surgery.
How to create your Archie Bunker Chair
* Comfortable chair or couch with an ottoman, a recliner would be perfect as well
* Side table
* Several pillows to elevate and rest your leg on
* Pillows to tuck behind back or head
* Laptop or Tablet with internet service
* Books or Kindle
* Viewable TV
* TV remote
* Pens, pencils and pad of paper
* Crossword puzzle books, games or other things you like to do
* Power strip installed for charging your devises
* As seen on TV light switch
* Comfort needs – lotions, wet wipes, medications, tissues, etc
* Sleeve of crackers to help with nausea
* Basically, anything you might want to have without getting up to get it
* If you are too young to get the “Archie Bunker Chair” connection then find an episode of the 1970’s sitcom All In The Family. While I don’t condone Archie’s ideas or behavior, you will have a good laugh. Video clip-Archie Loses His Favorite Chair
I am a huge believer in taking advantage of a few nights in the hospital after major leg surgery. During the first days any movement is painful and difficult. It is a few nights where all you have to do is rest and be cared for guilt-free. With that said I will look forward to slipping into my safe Archie Bunker Chair upon returning home. And yes, my wife will take excellent care of me!
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I will be derailed in my Archie Bunker Chair for a few weeks, but I promise I will be up figuring out my life as a one-legged man soon, as the post-surgical pain and wound healing permits!