Friday, 11 September 2009

Faster Than A Speeding Snail

Yesterday I had a fitting for my new wheelchair. Yes, it's the kind of wheelchair that needs fitting. Mind you, it also the kind of wheelchair that requires an engineer and a physiotherapist to explain how it works. It has so many configurations I began to think piloting a Harrier Jump-Jet would be simpler. The controller has more modes and computing power than Deep Thought.

The chair is amazing. Thanks to a grant from the Joseph Patrick Trust I have been able to have a seat-riser fitted which allows me to rise up to my standing height. The seat tilts as my current seat does, but in addition the back-rest moves independently. Each of the foot-plates can be adjusted at the press of a button. As I played with the controller I found that I could configure the seat so that for the first time in years I actually felt comfortable. The expression of relief on my face made Polly feel quite emotional. Little details like calf supports and silicon gel covered armrests add to the degree of comfort. Even the head-rest is infinitely adjustable.

Of course, this being me, not everything was perfect. The chair is significantly higher than the present one which means we need to raise our dining table using blocks. And because the motorized foot-plates are more complicated to take off the carers are going to find transfers more difficult. The chair is a little longer as well which means taking certain corners around the flat will be more challenging. I'm sure these things will lead to a deal of frustration and no doubt those frustrations will be reported on these pages but at the moment I am almost beside myself with excitement.

The wheelchair has gone away for fine tuning and adjustments, not least to reprogram the controller so that the chair goes at more than the 0.5 miles an hour it would only go yesterday. This was particularly embarrassing when I wanted to nip out to the car and check that the chair would fit in it. It took nearly 15 minutes to get round the corner while the engineer frantically phoned the office for instructions on how to access the power menu. I am assured it was only a programming glitch and can be easily fixed. I hope so or all I will be taking delivery of next week will be a very comfy armchair, albeit one that moves faster than a speeding snail.

I will keep you informed.


  1. Just so long as you don't find yourself, literally, beside youself, Stephen, otherwise you will also find yourself in a heap on the floor, beside said armchair!!! This is definitely not recommended!

  2. I had a pair of shoes like that. Looked very dashing ,kept giving me blisters on both my heels,so like yourself I found myself cornering and travelling very slowly for ages.Unlike you I had to carry out all the technical adjustments myself.I found hitting them repeatedly with a hammer softened them up somewhat.That's probably what he meant when he said he was taking it away to be 'fixed'.

  3. I'm glad that you eventually had the 'rising up and down thingy' included in the specification for the chair. Did you also go for the jet-pack and mini-fridge options?
    Go Go Gadget...

  4. I'm so happy to hear that you got yourself a wonderful chair! Hope all the glitches work themselves out in the next few days.

  5. Just watch them toes, you’ve only got ten. Given cats don’t live very long so that’s only one more,(sorry to all cat lovers) Whooo Hoooo, you don’t want that to be a DOH! or Wol or who put that there??, that wasn’t there before!!! F*^K!!!

  6. Lets hope they never dropped a couple of zeros and you go a 050.00 miles an hour..the computer says YES.. for two minutes... lol... sounds fab... what’s the make and model because I know a man or two to be precise who could do with the “all in one” … “each to their own” specification?

    Here in Scotia you are in the hands of the organisation who determined what you need by determining what you get out of the this or that approach. And then the Lee Major “ We will re-build it!” remark is your little but only option. I may be wrong in what I say as it is not a comprehensive remark that I have made in any way, but I don’t think so… Do you ? (feel free to comment…) The ‘models’ of disability are ‘slowly changing’. The individual model is the umbrella that can encompass them all. Know you, tell them.

    The JPF might be the way ahead here but there are many obstacles and barriers that need overcome and neutralised before the way is made equal.


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