First attempt at using a power wheelchair. ..fail

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Just took this power chair for a ride for the very first time.  Emotionally the hardest thing I’ve done in many years.  No one I’ve tried to talk to about it seems to understand that.  Shouldn’t be that hard a concept.

This is the power chair the Qbyn hospital has hired me.  It’s very old, and if you look closely it’s mostly held together by gaff tape. It has no suspension or tilt function, and it’s a really, really rough ride.  So much so that my lower back is in spasm and I can’t move after barely a ten minute ride on the footpath.  Took me almost two weeks to be well enough, and ready to even try.  Now I’m in horrible pain.

power wheelchair
The offending power chair

How an OT could think this would benefit me when she’s seen my x-rays and MRIs and knows my spine is completely destroyed…I have severe facet joint arthritis, severe spondylosis, spinal stenosis and no discs left in my lumbar spine. It’s amazing I have kept walking this long.  This thing is jarring right up my spine and throws me around, because it’s not the right size for me, and it doesn’t have the required functionality or features.

That’s why wheelchairs are *prescribed* to specific needs.

Thanks for the extra pain, lady.  Thanks for making my first experience in a power chair a complete nightmare. Not to mention my shoulder is in horrible pain just from trying to keep it tracking straight with the faulty joy stick.  Very faulty joy stick.  Also taped together. Don’t even mention my neck.  Top of my spine, you can imagine the whiplash effect, even though my C-spine is not as bad as my lumbar.

The posture I need to maintain to remain in this chair puts strain on several parts of my body, remembering I have severe rheumatoid arthritis affecting every joint, and it hurts a lot.  Yet it’s the only way I can leave my house at least half the days of my life.  I can’t always drive.  I can only drive at the moment because prednisone. LOTS of it.

So, I’ll try again.  I’ll take time to recover. I’ll psych myself back up, and I’ll try again. See if next time is as painful, or if I can adapt.  Logic and experience tells me it not going to get better.  And no, I’m not whinging…this thing causes me more pain.  It isn’t much use to me if riding in it causes MORE pain, not to mention the after effects.  It is now two hours later and my back pain is worse.  But I’ll persevere. Cos that’s what I do. And my OT will give me the eye roll when I tell her this is not suitable.

Oh, and it cost me $50 to hire it for a month, $50 for the wheelchair cab to get it home, and it’ll cost $50 for me to return it. Thanks, thanks heaps.  $150 and tonnes of extra pain. Very helpful.  Thanks.

So yes, my body is a mess.  I can’t even drive a basic power chair without increasing my pain levels exponentially.  People keep telling me power chair like this is over kill for me. It’s not.  That’s a complete misunderstanding of what kind of state my body is truly in.  I need a highly specced chair with more features than this has for it to be viable.  I guess because I mostly have a smile on my face, and I focus on the positive, AND because I persevere, even highly trained professionals don’t get that.

Or maybe they’re just not paying attention.

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