Tuesday, June 19, 2007

EmPOWERing myself

After I discovered that I'd developed problems pushing my manual chair I began searching for various solutions to get mobilized.

All I had when I found this out was a manual wheelchair, so my first move was to hit eBay and get a Jazzy power chair. So far that's worked out. For about 1/7 of the original price, I found a working chair that will just need batteries and a few adjustments on the front since it was owned by an elderly woman who apparently did not hop curbs (not that I would do such a thing!) and some seating fixups which I can do workarounds with from things I already own.

It was great to get the indoor power chair going and get out of immediate pain but then I realized after trying to lift my manual chair into my car that the level of pain ensuing and the setbacks weren't a good thing. Ut-o. As one of my friends who is an OT said to me "Well you can leave your wheelchair in the driveway and go through drive throughs!" Which is true. That works for some errands and I can take drives. But Ronald McDonald makes a poor date if you get my drift.
[visual description: In the photo at right, Ronald McDonald, in his red and yellow clown outfit, waves at the world.]

It's kind of an odd way to live never getting out of your car too. It reminds me of the legend of the Flying Dutchman, the ship that just wanders out at sea. I may not have this tale down right since my Uncle Bill who was in the Navy many years told it to me and he developed the sailor's habit of telling tall tales. As Uncle Bill told the story the Flying Dutchman just kept circling around for eternity, appearing at night against the horizon of the blackened sea.

I know, not a happy image. I was feeling a tad frustrated. I looked around at vans with lifts and ramps and accessible cars but they're not in the budget. I can't lift a transportable power wheelchair into my car (because of the shoulders thing although I'm not sure anyone can - and I couldn't find any Olympic weightlifters for hire). So I thought let me find out the newest and latest in scooters. I see people scooting around town.

I found out quickly (which didn't surprise me) that I can't use 99 per cent of scooters due to balance and dexterity issues including the ones you can easily lift into a car - but there is a new one out that can be outfitted for someone with my level of disability. With any luck this will work for me for around the neighborhood and can be transported if a friend or aide comes along in a car. This "scooter" has a power chair base with a very small (for a scooter) turning radius of 29 inches and an extremely high stability rating. It also has controls available for people with dexterity issues. So it might work out for me.

So long Ronald!


Wheelchair Dancer said...

ohhh the Jazzy!


Ruth said...

Yeah I remember your Jazzy stories! I had a few mishaps with mine until I learned that a joystick is a thing to be respected - or at least not inadvertently "nudged" at inopportune moments LOL

Karen Marie said...

In my recent scooter experience, I can assure you that there's no way you're going to be hopping curbs with a scooter. If you have a good solidly-built one, you'll be able to manage the bad (2 inches or so) sidewalk crack or small shallow potholes.....

Also, be aware of your weight. When the utility company tears up the sidewalk and sticks a hunk of plywood across the hole for temporary, and able-bodied walkers make it bounce, don't try to take the scooter over it, it will crack and you will fall in........

Ruth said...

Thanks for the scooter tips, Karen Marie. I've been respectful of street repairs/construction since a little ditch incident some years ago. Ut -o.

My curb hopping actually is aimed more at the Jazzy chair :)