I now have a wheelchair. I can walk. At home it is an obstacle course of making sure there is a table, a cupboard, a chair, a desk, even a bed, that you can hold onto as you walk to make sure you do not fall. MS does not tell you what to do when you are walking. Suddenly your leg leaves you body and you are on the floor with no possiblitity to stand, unless you can drag youself up by hanging onto a piece of furniture at the right height that happens to be near. Otherwise you depend on a Mr. Swiss or a No. 1 son who might or might not be at home.
After two falls at home, one in the garden, the time came to rethink my way of life. Of course I can walk with my stick and in the supermarket I can hold onto the trolley. I realised that things were not getting better, despite the injection some sort of magic forumla every second day that slows the development of my MS and so I had to make a decision. Either I sit at home with the only chance of going places and seeing things in the car or I do something to gain my independence again.
I decided on a wheelchair, an electric wheelchair. If I was rich and wealthy there would be no decision to make. You just do it. I had to think it over, I decided yes, I can do it, and do it because I want to. I did not visit my doctor or specialist to ask their opinion. There comes a time when you know what you need and want. And so I am now the possessor of an eletric wheelchair.
Of course I had a few “driving lessons” but practice makes perfect and I have never regretted this decision. The first excursion was small wheelie for me but a big wheelie for my future. I now see the world from a different perspective. I am perhaps lucky because I can walk, although my energy no longer lasts for more than 10 minutes alone. It used to be half an hour, but in the chair, I have recovered my independence again. I must admit I even enjoy my newly found freedom.
There are a few things that I have noticed. Crossing roads, any road, has to be studied.
I took this photo this afternoon. I had left my home and wheeled up to the main road which I had to cross, as my target was a wheelie to visit the ducks and chickens and afterwards a home run/wheelie via the castle. Our village has a road road running through it (also a river but that is in the other diretion). This road was refurbished two years ago with new tarmac and new crossings and about 6 new railway crossings. Did they think of the wheelchair drivers, not really.
Most of our kerbs are sloped at crossings which is an advantage, but some are better than others. For a new crossing this is not quite non plus ultra. First of all bump, bump over the rail tracks, if the barrier is up. Now sharp right along the narrow pavement and a 90° turn in the chair. Luckily my super chair has a very good turning circle and excellent steering. I now sit at the kerb and wait. If nothing is coming I begin to cross. Another big bump and I am on the road surface. If a car approaches it stops automatically. Now the next part is the island in the middle. Full power and an upward bump, but stop the chair on the island otherwise you will go sailing down the next bump to cross the second side of the road. The traffic will stop for you and you carry on to the next bump upwards and yes, you have reached the other side. My chair is even fitted with a horn, although I doubt if a car driver would notice when I would use it.
A real slope without a kerb would be a good thing, but our experts find that a slight slope does the job just as well. I think I might even write a book about life from a wheelchair.