Rolling Without Limits

Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

Falling Out of Your Wheelchair
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Falling Out of Your Wheelchair

Using a wheelchair is second nature to me now but that doesn’t mean I am perfect at it. Six years ago I lost the use of my legs and became a wheeler. It takes practice to maneuver this bad boy I’m sitting on but you are always going to fall. It was embarrassing the first few falls but now I am a proud flopper. It you don’t fall out of your chair a couple times a week then you’re not living.

I am going to tell you about a couple of my funny falls I have had within the past six years. It is ok to laugh because I did each and every time.

My first fall was my mom’s best friends fault and I let her know of it every time I see her. I was fresh out of the hospital and had no idea how to get around in a chair. I was still using a seat belt on my chair if that tells you anything. Any door way with a lip looked like a cliff to me. My mom’s friend and I where at her house and wanted to go to the back yard. I remember the PT showing me ways to get over these type of lips but for some reason I let my mom’s friend do all the work. She grabbed the handles on my chair and lifted my casters in the air. I was in a wheelie and thought she was going to take me down the step in a wheelie but I was wrong. By this time it was too late. She set my front wheels down and wheel barreled me to the ground. The momentum of my body flung me to the ground.

The best part is coming up now. As she freaked out as she should. She just dumped a paralyzed kid to the ground and let his chair land on top of him. I braced the fall with my shoulder so it was painless. She yelled for her husband and sons. They came running over to rescue me but the dog beat them over. He was licking my face and I had no way of escaping it. Her son tried lifting the chair off of me not realizing I had a seat belt on. As he yanked two or three times as hard as he could I yelled stop to tell him why he wasn’t able to pick up a twenty-five pound chair.

The boys got me back in my chair and we had a good laugh. I realized that day that I was going to fall a lot and most of the time it would be comical.

I had a recent fall at O’Hare airport in Chicago. As I was exiting the baggage claim and looking for my ride I took a nasty spill. I little crack in the sidewalk can cause a big scene but in this case most people acted like they didn’t see a thing. A gave my chair a good hard push so I could have some speed. I needed it so I could call my work friend about my ride. My chair hit a crack and stopped. My body on the other hand did not. Momentum is usually a good thing but for me at that time it is sucked. I flew out of my chair like superman. Well at least for the first couple seconds. Superman can fly for miles I only made it 3 feet. My feet pushed my chair behind me and because I was on a slope my chair went for a ride. I watched it get closer and closer to the road. I thought it was going to get hit by a taxi but a woman grabbed it and pushed it away from the road before getting in her cab. I was in awe. I wonder what was going through her head as this wheelchair with nobody in it rolled by her. It was about twenty yards away from me at this time so she had no idea I was on the floor. A pilot came running over to me explaining he saw the whole thing. I asked if he laughed because I did. He grabbed my chair and asked if I needed anything else. I told him I would like the video footage because it was worth a lot of money. He laughed and went on his way.

Just remember that you are going to fall A LOT and there is nothing you can do but laugh. That’s what I do.

Matthew Tilford

MatthewTilford.com

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  1. pftsusan
    pftsusan
    Love your spirit.
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    1. Matthew Tilford
      Matthew Tilford
      Thank You!!!!
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  2. harley52
    I have fallen alot, but it isn't funny when You do a header out of Your chair and break Your leg, because We all have Osteoporosis!! But Your stories are funny, and I could tell You a few Good Ones in the 30 years I have been a T-3 Paraplegic Wheeler!!! I got a new chair last August, and knock on Wood, I haven't taken a spill yet! But now that I told You that it will probably happen LOL!!!! Alan...........................
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    1. Matthew Tilford
      Matthew Tilford
      Alan, You are right we should all be aware of breaking bones but we cant live being too cautious either. Thanks I try to bring the light out of every situation even if i endure some pain at the same time. I would love to here some of your stories. I run a website ChairTipsNTricks.com and have been thinking of adding a page about falling. I would love to use others stories. Email me at chairtipsntricks@gmail.com or find me on face book so we can talk more on this subject. Matt
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      1. harley52
        Ok Matt, I like Your attitude for someone who has only used a chair for 6 years!! Gotta Love It Brother!! My Life is Great, I Love it, and I would be Happy to tell You some things that I have done in My chair like going down a whole flight of stairs. Wheeling off the end of a dock when I lived in FL!! I could go on! It is late now, and I am glad to see someone still fairly new to life as a wheeler with such a Great attitude. I will drop You an e-mail, or catch up with You on Facebook, and We can swap some stories!! You should definitely add a page about falling, and I can give You some stories that will having You LYAO !! Also, We got to get some of these Great looking ladies that are all coming around on Facebook now, and add a page for them, because I now they all have a voice and are coming from everywhere ever since Push Girls came out. Great Show! I know Chelsea and a few of Her friends that are on Team Hotwheelz, and I know those Girl have some good stories to inspire people who are New to SCI life, and I have almost 30 years of wheeler experience under My wheels sort of speak .LOL!! , and I would be glad to contribute to Your website, and I have alot to offer and want to help alot of these Young people newly injured with a SCI, and let them know their life isn't over, and they can still do Great things and love a full rewarding life, even with wheels under them!! Life is Great, and they all need to know that, and I also am tired of the ignorance, and uneducated prejudice that all of us that wheel encounter on a daily basis, and that is another good subject? Some of the dumbest things that people ask You when You are out in public about Your life as a wheeler? Anyway, It was Great to Meet You, and I look forward to talking with You more, I have Your website, and I think I must be a member because My user name that I use on a few sites came up? I will talk to You more, right now it is about 1 am and I am ready to hit the sleep!! Talk to You Soon. Take Care! Alan....................
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  3. Daniel Andrei Garcia
    Daniel Andrei Garcia
    Keep it strong Matthew. I voted for you. edited: I checked out your website and wow, you have done so many things that I haven't and for that I admire you. Looking forward to hear more of your story.
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    1. Matthew Tilford
      Matthew Tilford
      Hello Daniel, Thank you i appreciate the feed back specially when it is positive. You gotta take that step and be active in our community. I can give you some pointers if you would like. Also check out my newest creation chairtipsntricks.com Thanks Matt
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  4. harley52
    Hi Again Matt, I also wanted to let You know that I sell wheelchair gloves part time for extra money, it all helps, and wanted to know if I can put a link to My Facebook Page here on Your site? They are really nice pushing gloves! I have been using them for 5 Years, and the owner asked Me if I wanted to sell them here in The US, and I told Him I would do it on a limited basis for now and I started selling them in October 2012, because I also sell Silver Bullion online. Check Out My Facebook Page They are Chiba Wheelchair Gloves, and are Made in Germany. Just go to www.facebook.com/chibawheelchairgloves If You want to buy a pair or know someone who does. I have 3 New style of the top of the Line Chiba Premium Wheelchair Gloves. Check out the pictures on Facebook, and also go to My info and let Me know what You think? Thanks Matt, Talk to You Soon. Alan..............
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