wheelin’

maybe it’s just me. maybe it’s the extra 30 pounds i’m lugging around. maybe my chair is about halfway between crap and the best, but man, wheelchairing is hard work. i’ve been using the chair in the house lately, mostly just to see what kind of difference it made in how i felt tired-wise at the end of the day. (not much difference). and i took it to the library yesterday, and found that as accessable as the spankin’ new facility is (tho the handicapped stall in the men’s room was stuffed full of t.p. and i didn’t dare use it – disgusting), i had to stand to reach top or bottom shelves, or to get a good look-see at the cd collection. what do people who can’t stand do in those situations? and how do you carry anything? anyway.

my son drove me there, and left me off at what i thought was the main entrance. i had called to make sure the entrance was accessible, and was told it was. so he dropped me off, and i managed to get through the non-automatic doors to find a short staircase, and not the elevator i was told would be there. so i wheeled out, and around the corner and labored down to the real main entrance, where there was an automatic door, stairs and a ramp, but no elevator. a very nice man pushed me up the ramp, and from there, i could elevate to all the other floors. and aside from the bathroom and reaching top and bottom shelves (and the fact that the catalog computer was at standing height), the place was very friendly.

but still. wheelchairing is a lot of work. i don’t think i’m that out of shape. maybe bigger wheels or tires make it easier  to roll over carpet? and fatter push-rims with some texture or grips on them would be nice. but if i go back, i’m going to take my crutches. as tiring as those are, and include the risk of falling, i think they will be easier overall than the chair. there’s a really good chair or scooter on my list for if i get to a place where i’m in it all day. for now, my “karma” chair does 90% of what i need, and the walker and crutches can fill in the gaps.

but man, wheelchairing is not as carefree as it looks.

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2 thoughts on “wheelin’

  1. It all depends on the wheelchair and adjusting to it. I love my manual wheelchair now but it did take me about two months to get used to it and yes there are always times I run into things I can’t do and I just ask for help. I try to ask staff members but if not I ask a random stranger, I haven’t yet found someone who isn’t willing to hand me something off a high shelf. Again, the type of wheelchair really makes a difference. I have a TiLite AeroZ UltraLight and I wouldn’t us anything but an Ultralight. Get a DME specialist in wheelchairs thar you can trust (ideally someone who lives in one themselves even) and work with them to make the right adjustments. The camber, dump, etc settings all influence the ease of movement.

  2. When our Aunt Kit was confined to a wheelchair we had something like this in the kitchen [so she could get a glass, etc.], the living room [so she could pull down books and records], and in her bedroom.

    http://www.amazon.com/Folding-Helping-Long-Reach-Pick-Up-Gripper/dp/B000VS8CTM

    She also had mesh bags on both handles of her chair so she could carry books and cassettes from room to room.

    Back then, there were no ramps, no grab bars in public restrooms, it was really difficult. Yet somehow my Mom and Kit went all over the place. It took tremendous effort on both of their parts. I am not sure I understand just how determined they both were at the time.

    Be well… your cousin.

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