After seven long months, four trial chairs, five (or was it six, I’ve lost count) attempts at delivering it with the wrong parts, and three days of grouching at a company, I now finally have…my very own light cycle. No wait. Damn, sorry, I have the Tron soundtrack playing. I meant wheelchair. Though admittedly…a light cycle would really be cool, wouldn’t it? (and yes I did enjoy the last Tron movie, the soundtrack is great to write with)
Now I admit, my photography skills are pretty bad, so what you see below is about as basic as you can get…which really doesn’t do it justice. It’s a lightweight and nimble little thing that let’s me be more active and surprisingly handles both indoor mall tiles and outdoor heavy wet snow with aplomb! Yes I said aplomb, deal with it. I won’t get into the story of why this all took so long, at the end of the day Shopper’s delivered what I wanted and they did try to make things right. That being said, if you are a salesperson for any product at all out there…a small piece of advice (and lord I hope I haven’t already said this)…don’t wait 6 months to show your client a brochure for the product they are buying!! Enough of that, let’s talk about what this baby can actually do and where I (and it) go from here.
First off, I got all the basics covered. Ultra lightweight? Check. Sturdy? Check. Puncture resistant, non-marking tires? Check. Kevlar, nearly unbreakable spoke? Check (though give me a chance, first time I try to go down a set of stairs…heh). All-weather seat back and cushion? Check. A reminder that I now need to get back into a semblance of shape and have very few excuses left? Check.
The chair arrived on my wife’s birthday yesterday, which in all honesty is really a gift to us both. Happy Birthday Shannon! Now if my bloody gift for her would just arrive…her real gift. The chair puts this chapter behind us and now we can truly move with our lives, knowing we can travel more easily and start to customize it as we need to make things easier. Customize you say? Well come now, just because I learned on the first day with it that you CAN power slide a wheelchair on tiles if you try hard enough…you don’t think I’m done do you? No, I don’t just mean finding a spot to put my “Engineered by Firefly” manufacturing sticker.
Think about it. Some of the biggest problems with being in a wheelchair are the things that we all take (and I once took) for granted. Carrying a drink while you are out and about? Not just my wife’s eternally handy cup of tea, but my own addiction to Coca Cola has to be fed. So cup holders, where to place them so they don’t interfere with pushing, that is probably, and strangely, priority number one! Think about it, how important is the placement of cup holders even in your own car? Now put yourself out on a hot day where you can’t hold anything in your hands because they have to be used elsewhere (clean thoughts!)
Next up? A proper backpack. Yes, if you look close there is an undermounted pack under the seat that can hold small stuff, a wallet, phone, allen keys, and other small stuff, but what about when I need to be out with larger items. What if I want to go shopping without having Shannon be the beauty of burden (I’m the beast after all…as I wait for her to smack me). The trick to this of course is finding something that balances well, but more importantly, doesn’t tempt every friend to use it to stash their stuff and make me drag around whenever we’re out! No I am NOT getting that clip on coat rack! People already seem to find my lap far too convenient a spot for those.
In all seriousness, this is by far the hardest part of being in the chair so far. Carrying things. From something as simple as bringing in lunch to the office and trying to balance it in my lap as I push, to trying to pick groceries and being glad that I have no issues with looking like a complete goof as I hold stuff between my teeth trying to get back to the car. It’s amazing how you can actually get to miss doing grocery shopping…ok no wait…I don’t miss doing that. I can’t even fake that one.
There is more to come, some clip on lights so I don’t get run over in parking lots, perhaps an “I aim to misbehave” bumper sticker (anyone catching a theme here yet?)
So here’s a few more close up looks and hopefully, when the weather improves, we’ll get some better shots. Mostly without me flipped over I hope.