I'm a quad but I've always used a manual wheelchair.
At times it was tough keeping up with friends who were paraplegics or had no upper body paralysis, but that's okay. Sometimes I fell half a block behind or friends slowed up a bit to wait. There were incidents - like the time my friend Janet and I hit the hills at the San Diego Zoo. On the way down one steep hill, my lack of grip landed me into the bushes so she wordlessly fished me out. Going up the hills made me want to take the little shuttle bus. But I hung in there.
No matter how hard I've worked to keep up ,para-wannabe that I am ( I tape weights on, I diet, I handcycle with quad attachments, I play tennis with duct tape) I'm a quad.
Last week I was asked a series of questions, much like the ones in this article.
Things like: have you noticed you're putting off errands? has your social life diminished? have you been more tired? do you have increased pain? decreased mobility? less activity? Yes. Yes. Yes. I find myself turning down things to do because I'm so tired but it never occurred to me that it was because of - well - pushing- even though my arms are well - paralyzed.
And even now I think I should have frigging lied when they asked me those questions. But I didn't. I told the truth and I was told: get a power wheelchair. Just use it part of the time. After all , you're not more paralyzed. Nothing to panic about. So why did I want to roll screaming into the street?
It's not that easy a change to make, not only based on how I feel about it, but as a practical matter. Power wheelchairs are pricey, custom made and take time and money to get. And they won't fit into regular cars.
So today I bought a used Jazzy -that looks something like this- and I'll see how it goes. At least using a joystick will be fun.
[If you use a power wheelchair that you LIKE, leave me a comment. And if you LIKE using a power wheelchair, please let me know.]
By the way, here's a fellow who figured out a way to stay in his manual chair and use jet pulse to propel it:
uhhhh I think I'll pass...