My new wheelchair has arrived

I kind of already mentioned what today’s post would be about on View From a Walking Frame’s Facebook page and on my Twitter, but I am now pleased to tell you all that my new wheelchair has arrived.

It looks pretty much like my old one, which was silver and black, but I don’t mind that because I always liked the way that one looked anyway. Not that it really matters if I like the colour at the end of the day as long as the chair can do its job, but it’s always a nice little bonus.

I haven’t really had much of a chance to have a go a pushing myself around it in yet because it’s quite rainy and wet here, but I’ve had a quick try and wheeling myself around the kitchen and it seems like it’s going to be fairly easy for me to handle.

Just in case you’re wondering, I haven’t picked out a name for my new wheelchair yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you all know. Feel free to leave your suggestions.

In other news, I’ve also got my night splints back with my walking grip now re-glued back on too which I’m also really pleased about because I enjoy wearing those.

That’s it for today, just short and sweet. Have a good day guys,

Nic

Saying goodbye to my current wheelchair

Although I don’t remember exactly when I got my current wheelchair (which sometimes call Louise) I think it was some time while I was in Sixth Form, so between the ages of 16-18.

Although I try hard to use my walking frame Martha as much as possible, my wheelchair has still had rather a lot of use over the years. I use it if I know I’m going to be walking longer distances or out of the house for a long time. It’s also really handy when ill, tired or having one of those things that I personally like to call ‘a bad CP day’.

Lately, I started noticing that it was in need of a service for lots of different reasons. It had been a while since the last one, so I got in touch with Wheelchair Services and asked them to take a look.

They came out and did what they could on the day (tightening things up and so on) and then told me that they’d organise for me to get a new chair, which it has to be said, I’m strangely feeling quite excited about.

Usually when it comes to having to get a new walking frame I always feel quite sad about it. I never really want to stop using the one I have, and there’s usually lots of memories attached to it. The thing is that there are lots of memories attached to my current wheelchair too. I took it to university with me as well as my walking frame, I took it on my recent trip to London and I used it in a play that I did with my university drama society. Yet, I think that part of me is looking forward to the prospect of getting a new chair. I want to see what it will look like and I want to see how easily I will find it to push myself around in. I want to see how small it will fold up.

Looking forward to getting a new wheelchair is a new feeling to me, and one that’s taken me by surprise if I’m honest with you. I won’t be sad to see my old one go, I’m just curious to find out what my next one will be like. That’s okay, right?

I still plan on using my walking frame as much as possible though. I love walking around and knowing that I do it as much as I can, but maybe a change of wheelchair won’t be such a bad thing?

 

Learning to take it easy

Believe it or not, learning to spend a few days using my wheelchair instead of my walking frame isn’t something I’m very good at.

I can hear when my body is telling me to do this; I know the signs and the feelings, I know what happens when I push myself too hard, and yet, I always try and ignore it.

I wasn’t actually planning on leaving the house yesterday. Sunday’s can be quite quiet where I live and my hips and knees weren’t feeling up to much. Then my mum and her partner told me they were going to the supermarket.

They’ll be chocolate there, I thought to myself. I’d really love something sweet right now.

I know that I could’ve just asked them to pick some up for me, but the thought of going and hunting out the best bargain for myself was just too strong.

“Can I come? I asked

“Course you can. Martha or wheelchair?”

Usually I’d say that I wanted to take my walking frame Martha before they’d even finished the question, (they always offer the choice, even though they know that I like to walk as much as possible), but that time I did something I hardly ever do. I hesitated.

The word “wheelchair” was on the tip of my tongue, that should have been a big hint to myself, but I bit it back “Martha.” I said.

“Are you sure?” They then asked why I wanted to walk and risk making my pain worse. I knew they had a point, I’d already been walking on it for the last few days, and maybe it was time for a break. I made it halfway up the stairs to get my bag before I changed my mind.

In the end, I’m glad I did because we ended up going around more than one store and they were quite busy. I got walked into at least once by someone who wasn’t looking where they were going, so it was probably for the best all round.

I found that I got to sleep much faster last night too and I feel much better today.

I guess I should let this be a lesson to myself, huh?

The time my wheel fell off

This morning I was sitting there wondering what I was going to post about today when I got an unexpected text from my boyfriend Rob saying “Hey, you should write a blog about that time I was pushing down that hill in your wheelchair and the wheel came off.”

True story.

Yes, I thought to myself. I should, given that I wasn’t hurt so I can actually have a good giggle about it all now. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, I’ll begin.

 

I’d had the wheelchair in question about a year when it happened. When I’d gone to the appointment to pick it up, I’d been told that, unlike my old one, this posh new one had removable footplates and wheels.  Being able to take the footplates off came in handy for getting it in the car, but I didn’t want to mess around with the wheels if I could help it. I thought that might be tempting fate, so for that year, they stayed firmly in place.

Or so I thought.

Rob is a couple of years older than me so he went to university the year before me, so for the first four years of our relationship we did the long-distance thing. During his first year I was still at home finishing up my A Levels and in the school holidays, my dad agreed to drive me to see him for the weekend and that pick me up again. My dad is pretty awesome like that .

I took my wheelchair  with me because I’d never been to the city that he was living in so I didn’t know how big it was, and this all happened about five years ago when I couldn’t walk as well as I can do now. My hard work over the last few years since my surgery really is paying off, but I digress.

We’d gone out into town. We were going down a fairly small hill when I thought this seems steeper than it did yesterday and I feel a bit wobbly. I wanted to make a joke about his driving skills, but we’d only been together a few months at this point so I thought it might not go down too well.

Then I heard the clunk.

“What was that?” we both asked as I started to tip to one side and thewe noticed my wheel starting to roll away.

Oh. Guess that’s what that noise was then.

Thankfully the runaway wheel came to a stop on its own so we didn’t have to worry about losing it. I didn’t fancy having to explain that one to wheelchair services (or my mum and dad) when I got home. However, I was now teetering on one side with Rob, using all the strength to make sure that I didn’t land flat on the pavement.

We were just wondering how we were going to get ourselves out of this one when a passing couple stopped to see if we needed any help. I don’t think they finished asking the question before I said yes please.

So they helped me undo my seatbelt and get myself out of the slightly unstable chair without hurting myself, then helped keep me upright and get the wheel back on and off we all went again, all unharmed,  with a funny story that we could tell all our friends later.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Rob’s quite good at pushing the wheelchair really, I just like to wind him up.

Just gotta keep on pushing

Many of you probably know by now that in addition to dear old Martha, I also have a wheelchair that I like to call Louise.  Although we’ve got some fond memories together, she doesn’t get to leave the house anywhere near as much as my walking frame.

My chair is a self propelling one, which means that I could sit in it and push myself around if I had to. On the occasions that Louise does get to come out and play with me though, there’s usually someone else in control of her. I’m not very good at it and I’m always scared that I’ll lose control and bump into those around me. Not good.

The other day when I went to the hospital about my callipers , I had no choice but to take care of myself. There were a couple of incidents of me bumping into a few door frames but it was mostly fine. In fact, I found it much easier than the last time I tried it, and got to where I needed to be much quicker than I ever had before so kudos to me, I guess. I still don’t have the guts to try and do it outside, or down any ramps or hills by myself but it’s a start. When I got my first chair at about 11, I attempted to take on the ramp in my local Woolworths. Not only did I hurt my hands trying to slow myself down, I also realised that I couldn’t slow down – or stop – till I reached the bottom. I never tried that one again.

I know, I know; I should, right? Practice makes perfect and all that jazz, but truth is I’m not really in it that much. There’s not really enough room for me to do it in the house  but maybe next time I’m in town I should take turns with whoever is my designated driver and say that I’ll get myself around the shops if they do the scary outdoors bit?

I’m still not sure what it was about last week that seemed easier than any other time I’ve had a go could actually be thanks to Martha. She the heaviest of any of the walking frames that I’ve had before because of her seat so  I’m starting to build some muscle for the first time in my life! This makes me very happy indeed.

Maybe I should have a couple of half an hour wheeling sessions a week as best I can in the garden , just to see what happens? Maybe it could be a good thing, for the future (you never know what might happen) and for my self confidence.