As I alluded to in my previous post, going from using a manual wheelchair to an electric one definitely improved my life. Having the independence to go where I pleased (within a 20 mile radius because of the battery) and not rely on others to push me around was brilliant. In a way, it sort of allowed me to be a regular teenager and do similar things to my peers. Going down the park or on the school playing field is difficult in a standard chair but my powered off-road wheelchair could get across grass no problem apart from if there was heavy rain. Then it would just sink.
However as my condition deteriorated, so too did my ability to control the wheelchair. Dexterity has become more of an issue in recent years so not only have I got worse on FIFA but my driving has also gone downhill severely (I must admit that I was never brilliant at either in the first place). Crashing into walls is not the best but the chair was insured so getting a new footplate or having people come out to repair it was not the end of the world. The main issue was that I now posed a threat to other pedestrians.
Since going electric in 2005, I have run over many people’s toes (some on purpose) and clipped a fair few legs but I knew it was only a matter of time before I gave someone a serious injury. I didn’t want to be held responsible if my chair broke an ankle or even worse, a leg. At least I can now relax because if an accident occurs, I am blameless and it’s the fault of the person who’s pushing me. It may sound like I am settling for the easy life but I’m merely being sensible about it and doing what is right for everyone.
Not only are the public a lot safer, the other positive is that manual chairs are more mobile than their powered counterparts and make life in general a lot easier. Transportation was a real pain with an electric chair because the only way I could get anywhere was either in my specially adapted car or certain modes of Public Transport. Now, my chair can fit in the boot of most cars and I can be bumped up a step if there’s no ramp/it’s broken. Being in a manual also helps when shopping as not all stores have level access but now that doesn’t stop me from going in!
Abandoning my electric wheelchair in favour of being pushed around everywhere may seem like a backwards step (pardon the pun) but my life is a lot simpler just using a manual. I suppose it’s like using a bike when you have a car. There are pro’s and con’s to both but at the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal choice.