It’s nearly midnight and I can’t sleep. A weird mixture of pain, excitement and apprehension has left me feeling the sort of nervous excitement you get before the first day at a new school. But it’s not that sort of life change that’s keeping me awake – it’s because in the morning I’m going for a wheelchair assessment.
I’ve been a wheelchair user for over five years. Tics in my legs had been making my walking very wobbly and chaotic for a long time, and eventually in late 2011 I finally accepted I needed to make a change. So I went for my first appointment with NHS Wheelchair Services. What I’d thought would be a sad process turned out to be wonderful – supportive, liberating and transformative.
I’m now a self-confessed wheelchair geek, probably because the right chair makes such a huge difference to my quality of life. The NHS chair I’d started out with was too heavy for me to push myself, which made me very reliant on other people. My current chair – which I bought myself – is brilliant in lots of ways. It’s lightweight, and when I first started using it in 2014 it improved my life overnight. Being able to move independently made me much happier and healthier.
It’s served me well but over the last few months I’ve been struggling with it. I’ve recently lost weight, so it doesn’t fit me very well any more and that makes it uncomfortable and much harder to use. I’m also experiencing chronic pain in my back and hips, and my physiotherapist thinks my chair should be providing better support.
Tomorrow I’m going back to Wheelchair Services and I’m hoping they can help me find a new chair that fits me better, provides the support I need but still enables me to be independent.
I’ve got everything crossed and will update you soon.