Daily Prompt: Strategy of a Wheelchair Driver

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.

Baselstrasse

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.

Strategy of a Wheelchair Driver

6 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Strategy of a Wheelchair Driver

    • I just might do it. I am not 100% dependent on a wheelchair yet. Perhaps one day, but we golden oldies all have our crosses to bear. I really feel good now, I can go places and do things and above all there is no stress. And I can combine it with my photography.

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  1. My Sian, not sure how to describe our relationship, has been a wheelchair user all her life and it took me a while to learn how to act with a chair user. A number of rookie mistakes were made in terms of how to stand when talking to her and wait for requests for assistance if struggling with tasks… Such as if struggling with cutting a steak, wait for her to ask for assistance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is naturally a problem from a different perspective. I made my own decision with my wheelchair as I saw no other possibility. If I had waited for the doc to say it would be a good idea, I would still be waiting for his approval and I am in the lucky position to be able to afford it myself. I am just a beginner, but compared with a life of hobbling around, looking like someone from the ministry of funny walks, it is ideal. I can walk with my stick, but with time I get very tired. I try to do as much as possible myself, although my Mr. Swiss is always ready to help. After almost 50 years of married life together it is not such a problem. There is a lot to learn, but I am on my way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard from other wheelchair users that “little things” that make not much of a difference to “regular non-wheeled people” can make a huge difference to wheeled persons. i know that effectively, my house is useless for wheels and it worries me. I had better keep on keeping on because in this places, there’s no choice! Everything is either too tight and complicated for wheeling around, or the stairs are starkly in the way.

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    • This is so true. When I am out in the car with Mr. Swiss, I now tend to study kerbs on the roadside, thinking if I take a wheelie will I be able to cross those roads with no difficulty. I even take photos of them from the car so that I can study them afterwards. We live in an apartment which is ok for me as everything is in holding and walking distance. My wheelchair is not for indoors, it would be too big. I can now park it OK at home, but that took time until I got the trick. Living on the ground floor is an advantage, although we have a lift big enough to take my wheelchair. Luckily we live in an area which is not difficult to conquer with a wheelchair, but inside it would not come into the question. I have my stick, and perhaps one day I will have a zimmerframe, although I hate them. I have had this MS thing since about j30-40 years but it was only diagnosed two years ago. I had been walking with my left foot at a strange angle for many years, but you get used to these things.

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