Five ways to get along with a wheelchair
Sitting up straight, knees bent, like a monarch on a throne, which sometimes feels like a fakir’s bed of nails or a dog’s kennel. A physical and emotional love affair that continues, in the best cases, with all its ups and downs, for an entire lifetime. In other cases, it is a safe port in a storm, a “despite everything”, not a “better than nothing”.
Like a Swiss clock
Sitting in a wheelchair is a mood that has to function like a Swiss clock because, if something goes wrong, the divorce will make the War of the Roses look like child’s play.
There is no magic recipe to ensure the marriage lasts, but there are at least five things to be said about your wheelchair, to ensure you do not suddenly lose your throne.
- Change your partner … sorry, I meant wheelchair … every seven years [this is the minimum amount of time laid down by healthcare regulations to change a wheelchair, even if it breaks, as sometimes happens]
- Do not be surprised if someone says “shall we go for a walk?”[the common turns of phrase everybody uses with you cannot be changed just because of your physical condition. It is more discriminatory to use kid gloves when talking to you than it is to associate your wheelchair with a pair of moving legs].
- Choose your wheelchair as if it were a car, with all the best optional features and never as the “standard model” [that would be like going to a tailor and saying “you decide”, when a wheelchair should be like a tailor-made suit; you will be neither satisfied nor refunded]
- Look for a wheelchair that takes you where you want to go, not one that takes you where it can [where you can push it yourself or decide which way you want to go, without always depending on someone else, to maintain a minimum degree of independence].
- You have a powerful weapon at your disposal sitting in a wheelchair: against other people’s legs, it is a powerful deterrent in the physical damage it can cause [always push yourself responsibly, the sensation of the wheels running over someone’s toes is not pleasant].
You cannot always divorce your wheelchair. Not even by puncturing its tyres!