A month ago I came across the Trekinetic wheelchair at the Mobility Road Show in Telford, which I went to with Fat Sister and my dad.
The Trekinetic’s designed as an all-terrain chair and can go over ground that no conventional wheelchair could ever manage. This was instantly appealing because I work at an adventure playground, a nature garden and go-kart track, so the terrain’s diverse and in some places very rough. My regular wheelchair breaks frequently and I’m sure the rough ground is a significant factor in this.
The Trekinetic also seemed like a particularly good option for me because it has a single wheel at the rear, making it very hard to tip over backwards – which is important when I’m having a ‘ticcing fit’!
I’ve described before how big the impact my chair getting broken has been on my life, both at work and at home. The effect isn’t just on my mobility – it affects my overall wellbeing as well.
A couple of weeks ago I tested the Trekinetic at work for a few hours and I really enjoyed using it. It allowed me to get myself around much more easily and get to areas that were inaccessible to me in my standard chair. But although I really liked it, that short test left some unanswered questions, like how would feel to have a ‘ticcing fit’ in, or would it go on a bus? It’s an expensive piece of equipment and if I’m going to ask Access to Work to help fund it, I have to be sure it would really work for me.
After a bit of hunting around I found a wonderful supplier who was up for letting me borrow a Trekinetic for a few days so I could see how it would fit into my life more fully, before I make a final decision about it. The trial started on Monday and since then I’ve got myself about in it more than I’ve done in any previous wheelchair, taking routes that would’ve been unthinkable before.
The biggest effect I’ve noticed is on my confidence, and because I feel safe in the Trekinetic and trust its strength and stability, I feel able to be much more active and independent. I’ve now had a few fits in it and felt very safe each time, and much to my surprise it’ll go on a bus too.
There are some compromises. It’s slightly harder than a conventional chair for my support worker to steer and although it collapses down reasonably well it does take a bit longer to reassemble than my usual chair. And if I were to get one I might also need to think about a change of desk at work. This is because although I can get myself in and out much more easily in it, when I’m having a ‘fit’ the tight space makes it more difficult for my support worker to manoeuvre me out safely.
The Trekinetic also looks very cool and lots of people have commented on it including the children at work. Yesterday a boy ran over to me and asked excitedly if he could have a go – mistaking my wheelchair for one of the many exciting bikes and pedal karts we have at the playground.
Sadly, the Trekinetic goes back tomorrow, and I’ll certainly miss it. For the last few days I’ve woken up looking forward to getting in it. Unless something dramatic happens in our last few hours together, I’ll soon be writing to my Access to Work advisor describing the difference it’s made to my ability to do my job, and asking if they’ll help fund one for me.
I’ll let you know what happens.