When I first started thinking about getting a wheelchair it felt like a daunting and upsetting prospect, but the big decision to go for one turned out to be the easy bit. Finding a chair that could cope with both the force of my movements and my determination to be as independent as possible has been tricky. But this morning as I collected my fourth wheelchair I felt much closer to completing my quest.
I got my first chair almost a year ago and it quickly became clear that it gave me much greater independence and put me at much less risk of injuring myself. Mark 1 served me loyally, but despite several adjustments and replacement parts it soon succumbed to my vigorous lifestyle.
Mark 2 arrived only a few months ago and I loved it! It was light, manoeuvrable and fast. It was also prone to tipping over and the force of my tics soon bent the frame. Mark 3 was an emergency replacement. It was the most stable wheelchair you could possibly get, but so heavy I couldn’t move myself about in it at all.
My wheelchair therapist and technician have devoted a great deal of time and skill to creating a chair that balances my safety with my independence. The amazing Mark 4 seems to combine all the good bits from all my previous chairs. It has a reinforced back with two tubes, one inside the other, which makes it feel strong. It has an extended backrest that provides extra support without cutting me off from the person pushing, but most importantly, I can move it myself. I’m optimistic this will prove to be a good match – I’ll keep you posted.
The service provided by the wheelchair team is amazing. While I was being carefully and skilfully fitted with my new chair, five other people were receiving similar attention.
You wouldn’t have guessed how difficult a decision it was for me to get my first wheelchair if you’d seen me full of excitement, waiting for my new wheels to emerge from the workshop this morning.