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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 1 - Me and my Wheelchair

I found this sweet wheelchair at salvation army.  Now of course sweet simply means "my first wheelchair" since I know absolutely nothing about them (which I will get to later).  I had goofed around on them at various elderly homes I visited over the years.  Wheelies and speed racing, you get the picture.  This wheelchair doesn't have mold.  It is skinnier than others I've seen, and it is black.  Thus it is super cool.  Only slightly less cool than this......

Not quite as heavy though.  No problem, as long as it rolls!  I took the feet rest way they would stretch out far enough for my long legs.  I then started my in house practice runs.  It took me about 3 minutes before I almost flipped over backwards!  I discovered late last night that my 1929 home may be one of the most inaccessible handicap facilities in America.  I have all these 2 inch lips from room to room.

I was trying to get over one of these lips by leaning back while simultaneously rolling forward.  Bad move.  That's when my roommate pointed out the breaker bars on the back of the chair.  I don't know if that's what they are called but they are specifically made to keep you from flipping over backwards.  Good to know.

I have stairs out my front and back doors positioned in such a way making it impossible to get out much less get down.  Crap.  What am I going to do now?  I sat there thinking about this for awhile.   Finally, I thought maybe if I could open the door and build up enough speed maybe I could propel myself out the door down the stairs.

NO good.  Ummm....I could  back up over the stairs but those little breaker bars didn't look like they could hold that much weight.  I finally decided to go out to the shed and get some two by fours.  I laid them under the stairs to stagger the drop.  I almost fell over but it worked.

I'm not going to bore you with details but my hands are sore, my arms are sore, my thighs are sore.  This handicap thing is no easy gig.  Oh and it was raining today.  It took me about 3 minutes to get from the steps to the car, 5 minutes from the car into the church.    Robert picked me up.  David dropped me off.

Things I learned today that I will describe later in more detail.
1. Its hard to stop a fast moving wheelchair on wet asphalt.
2. Before making wheelchair purchase check to see if it pulls hard to the left.
3. Going to the bathroom takes technique.
4. Before starting wheelchair experiment, remember to move necessary dishes to lower shelves (good thing for go go gadget arms).
5. Our office area at the church is the second most inaccessible building in the U.S.
6. I really really really really really really really like to walk.

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