Time for a Mobility Monday update!
Last week I talked about why I’m starting this weekly micro-blog series and also about purchasing my Lith-Tech Smart Chair 1 XL, click here if you’d like to read all about it.
Today is all about taking my new wheelchair home and our first journey out together.
Popping the new wheelchair into the car to take home from the Lith-Tech offices was a dream. We have been used to manually breaking down my extremely heavy NHS wheelchair by removing two large back screws on each side to enable the back to lower, removing two more screws on each side to remove each arm and side rest and then hooking it up to an in-built car hoist to slowly position the chair in to the boot space (which needs all back seats of our huge mobility car to be lowered to just fit in). This is every time we want to put the wheelchair in and then reversing it all for back out again. It works but it gets so tiring and frustrating for the people helping transport me, especially when we have numerous hospital trips.
As you can imagine, going from that to being able to simply fold my new wheelchair down in a few fluid movements and lifting it by hand into the boot space with tons of room spare is unbelievable. The realisation that I could travel in a car that wasn’t a WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) or wasn’t a 7-seater that had been specially adapted with an expensive hoist was amazing. I could journey in a cab! In a friend’s car! I got a bit emotional again on the drive home after my appointment, as I fully began to understand the reality of the enormous positive changes in our lives as a family moving forward.
My first proper trip out was to our local park. We bought our 8 year old son Sullivan a Micro Scooter for Christmas so we were both taking our new wheels out for a first spin! As a side note, I highly recommend the Micro Scooter brand if your child/ren have mobility issues or are struggling to scoot like Sully had been.
Along our journey, the steep slopes at road crossings which previously tipped my NHS wheelchair forwards were a doddle in the S-C 1 XL! I struggled a little on a couple of downhill areas where the camber of the road was very uneven and tilted, as the ‘chair tends to gravitate towards the tilt. This is all outlined in the very thorough and easy to understand manual pack I was given on purchase. I was a little worried about approaching uneven downhill areas because of this, however with reading Lith-Tech‘s tips and my own practice, I soon learned how the ‘chair controls and how to position myself safely to tackle these kinds of surfaces. The power/speed controls are also different to my NHS wheelchair but again, really easy to get the hang of.
We stopped at Mrs Maple’s Drinking Fountain, a gorgeous relic from 1889 to play some Pokémon Go. I felt really comfortable with the extra side room the ‘chair provides. I am an ambulatory wheelchair user and can move freely within my wheelchair, so having space to pop my bag next to me, cross my legs or have a bit of wiggle room is a nice contrast to my more structured NHS wheelchair. Sullivan often wants to hop on my lap for a cuddle or to have a 5-minute rest from standing/walking. With the new ‘chair being suitable for those needing more space and weight capacity, it’s perfect for when I unexpectedly gain an extra (and very wiggly) 25kg!
Jollying around the park in a comfortable, safe wheelchair with my son scooting by my side was the happiest I’d felt in a long time. The Smart Chair 1 XL tackled root-addled pathways littered with fallen twigs with no difficulties at all. I could feel the wheelchair moving over the natural obstacles with ease.
Making our way home was just as lovely as venturing out for the first time. I travelled, frozen to the bone by the winter winds but warmed right down to my heart by the new adventures that were now ahead.
Next week, I’ll be chatting about a bit of a scary encounter with some very vocal four-legged furry friends and infuriatingly high dropped kerbs. See you then!