For those site visitors who may not know, I'm disabled and in a wheelchair, hence the title of my blog. I've had this last chair for a whopping twelve years. They don't even make this kind of chair anymore. Vintage, baby. I've bonded with the chair, we've gone a lot of places together and done a lot of things, but the fact is she's getting old. As much as I hate to retire her, it's time to bring in some new wheels.
Back in October we set things in motion to get me a new ride. We met with the folks at the wheelchair place, discussed what I needed, chose a chair model, and most importantly, chose the color. Midnight blue, ooh yeah. They put the case into the system and said they'd call us in four to six months.
A few weeks ago we got the call. A mix of excitement and dread came over me. I tried to let the excitement win out, but it wasn't that easy. Past experiences gave dread the edge. When getting past wheelchairs, my family and I have spent literally all day there as I was fitted and the chairs were customized. I wasn't in the mood for that again.
Three weeks ago I went for the first fitting. It was eight hours of doing our best to get this chair customized to my body. Seven of those eight hours were spent trying to get the back support right. After those seven hours they finally actually listened to me and tried the arrangement I suggested. What a surprise, it worked. At the end of the day there was a lot left to do, so we had to schedule a second fitting.
Monday we went back for part two. It was a short day, only seven hours. It was actually a fairly smooth day, we got the seat, supports, and controls set up as best we could and they let me leave with the new chair. It was the only true test for the chair, to see how I could function in my daily life with it. After we left, Mom and I decided to take it for a test drive at Target. Let me tell you, this thing moves like a bat out of hell and turns on a dime. Day one was a success. The following days were not quite as smooth.
The next day it felt like someone had messed with everything in the chair, though that wasn't the case. Everything about it was uncomfortable and I couldn't even sit in it.
Wednesday I decided to suck it up and head out in the chair again to give it another try. This is when it dawned on me that nobody must actually test these designs very thoroughly. The chair is designed to help take bumps easier. The front wheels are mounted on little arms that raise em when they hit a bump so that the big center wheels can take the brunt of it. Brilliant idea! The only problem? The motor is mounted so low on the chair the entire thing scraped across the bump! Talk about canceling out a great idea. The rest of the day went well as I went to the Cleveland International Film Festival, you can read more about that in my next blog.
Yesterday I did my best to compile a list of what all needs to be fixed. After fifteen hours of work, it's frustrating to have so many things still need to be fixed, but the fact is I should be more comfortable in the new chair, not in more pain. We've got to get it right. For the thousands of dollars chairs like this cost, there's no reason for this much discomfort and struggle. Mentally I'm not ready to go back for more work, but I've got to do what I've got to do. Wish me luck, gang.
And now, though it's a day late, here's a little cartoon by yours truly. Enjoy!