The Wheelchair

Well, it has been a good month and change now since I got the updated chair, still not 100% sure if it is a loner or if its mine to keep. It still doesn’t quite fit me as I was expecting it to and since I didn’t have much of a fitting when the sales rep n the OT (i felt very rushed with our first meeting, and the last meeting when the chair was delivered since it was during COVID-19 I felt even MORE rushed). Part of me is thinking that the chair I’m currently in is my perm chair – time will tell though as I’ve had no follow up from anyone since it was dropped off (which is strange).

When we were talking to the sales rep and the OT, one thing that Norman and I stressed was that it NEEDED to fit into our SUV and we were assured that it would, well that was a half-truth. It will go in, but at the expense that it defeats the purpose of having it when we can’t go shopping because we have no room to put any groceries that we need to pick up, not unless we choose to leave our Service Dogs at home when we go shopping, which in turn defeats the purpose of even having a service dog in the first place (anyone for a catch 22 or something?).

The other thing we stressed what I NEEDED to be able to lift the thing into our SUV, which I can not do. I can not pick the thing up at all, it is too heavy for me to lift it so there is no way that I can get it into our SUV without someone stronger doing it for me (and that is super frustrating since, if N ends up in the hospital and I need to use the chair to get around I’m virtually stuck because if I can’t get it into the SUV n I have no wheel trans (with this service you need to book it in advance, so it isn’t a helpful option unless you know well in advance you’ll be needing it) and local busses don’t stop when they see me in the chair. Then what the world am I suppose to do to get out and about?

Generic Helio A7 WheelchairI know that there are colours out there, that the chair comes in, but I didn’t know until recently that to have it in a colour cost extra – so it does explain why all they brought was the Black model (which is the default-free colour) and never even mentioned that there were colour options (since ADP won’t cover that sort of cost as it isn’t a need, but a want – though I do know at least one person who’s OT/Sales rep managed to get them a coloured chair, but whatever). So as much as I would have liked to have a coloured chair, I’ll settle for getting bike wheel spoke covers to add some “bling” to the chair eventually. Same goes with the rims, those can be coloured, but its again an extra, and the extra that the rep n OT agreed would be best for me would be the added Grip to the rims so it added extra traction instead of always needing to use gloves.

When it comes to the rims and the wheels, I don’t have anything negative about them. They are functional and thus far I haven’t had any issue with them. I think they are a solid-state style as neither Norman nor I have seen any area where you would add air to them. But in all honesty, I have 0 clue what exact tier was chosen for me, from looking online it looks like it might possibly be the Pneumatic with Airless Insert (but as I said I don’t know, as no one told me and there is no paperwork giving me a breakdown). The Rep never mentioned needing to have a tire kit for any issue, so that I what makes me think it might well be the airless versions, but like all things, time will tell.

Of course, there are downsides to the chair and its performance, since I was pretty much left to my own devices for figuring it out. I’ve had no training in how to do anything in the chair, no tips or demos on how to push my self 100% nothing. Yet others I’ve spoken to had the sales rep or their OT how to use the chair, makes me feel a little cheated to degrees. But maybe they didn’t think I needed it since when I sat down in it I did a complete 360 in it without any prompting on how to do so (I did it only because I had seen online users doing it and a couple of them saying to do it when you get the chair to make sure it can turn in a tight circle for the space it’s in, so that was what I did without thinking about it). Sighs, I don’t know part of me feels semi out of sink with what other’s have experienced getting fitted yet right on track with some paras who get stuck with a crappy chair until they upgrade years later (or could afford a custom chair).

One thing I can’t do in the chair is pop it up to get over a small step which is really annoying because that is a barrier that shouldn’t exist. I should be able to pop it up and over to be able to go beyond the street, like how am I supposed to cross the street if I can’t even pop a wheel to get up onto the curb when 0 curbs are butting upright against the road. This is something that I am finding to be a BIG problem and barrier, the only way around it is to not even have the footplates attached to the chair and basically use my feet n legs to propel me, yet that hurts my lower back when done for a prolonged time (it feels completely unnatural) so I don’t know what the answer is, but I know there has to be a solution.

I also don’t feel like the chair is the right one for me, but it is what I am stuck with it does feel (at least if I’m going through the ADP, if I was going independently then, in theory, I could get whatever chair I wished but the cost of that is way out there in the terms of the cost of what a newer car would be soya that isn’t going to happen. Part of me is wondering if it even matters anymore. I don’t feel like I’m valid in my need for the chair to get around. I’ve lost so much mobility during COVID-19 that what used to be easy for me, has stopped being the case. I use to be able to stand for 30 minutes now I am lucky if I can do it for 10 minutes before my pain starts going up and up or before my legs start to go wobbly on me.

I also feel like I am falling forwards when I am in the chair instead of being able to sit back on the seat properly so that is annoying me to various degrees as I feel I am sitting too far forwards, which isn’t overly comfortable. Add in the footplates and I feel really squished in the chair, as in my belly and my thighs are so NOT comfortable, to say the least (which means in a jacket it isn’t very comfortable or workable, which is itself a problem). Thus another area that I need to get addressed by the sales rep once I can get a hold of him.

But all in all the chair is handy around the apartment, but it isn’t helpful outside of it as I was hoping it would be. Maybe in time that will change, but as it currently stands it isn’t the helpful addition that I was expecting it to be, as it has become for others that I know.

Post more as time does allow for it



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