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Getting a new wheelchair

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Calathea, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Since being with my partner R, I've been getting out and about in the wheelchair much more often. Edinburgh is hilly, cobbly, and has some truly exciting kerbs. Now that my PIP has come through, with a lovely backpayment after eight months of waiting, I'm thinking of buying a new wheelchair, one with attendant brakes (also called slowing brakes) to make going downhill a lot easier. This pretty much means the unfortunately-named manufacturer Karma, probably their Robin wheelchair, as the only other one that'll fit me (I'm only 4'11) is the Dove and that seems pretty weird.

    Right now I have an Invacare Zipper 2 on loan from the NHS, which I have slightly improved by putting blue hockey tape on the handrims and blue reflective tape on the wheels.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what to look for? I'm thinking of perhaps getting a power assist thingy in the future, if things continue to go well, but they're pricey and weigh as much as the wheelchair, so not just yet. We actually got up Calton Hill yesterday, with some heroic efforts from R! Do you know, I've lived here 18 years and that was the first time I'd been up it?

    I am also, being me, thinking about how to smarten it up. Possibly red or red and orange for the handrim tape and reflective stickers, and I'm wondering about finding some sort of foam or cork tape to make it softer as well as warmer and easier to grip. You can get handlebar tape for bikes, that might do the trick, although I suspect I'd need loads. And would orange be better for visibility for the reflective strips, or is that not really going to help? I suppose dusk is the main time when that sort of thing will matter, when not everyone on the road has their lights on.

    At the same time, I think I need a better wheelchair blanket. At present I'm using a large piece of black fleece folded over four times, which just isn't warm enough. I've been chatting to a chap on a quilting forum about windproof layers and so forth, but if anyone has ideas, do let me know. I need to be able to remove it quickly, since I do end up standing from time to time, whether it's to let R carry the wheelchair up a couple of steps or to go to the loo.

    What else can be done with wheelchairs? It'll be a self-propelling wheelchair, although R pushes it, since it's occasionally useful for me to help a bit. I'd love for it to look snazzy, not young-child style of course, but neither do I want to look ninety-six in the shade, you know? You can get spoke reflectors for the wheels, but I'm not so sure about those.
    justy, Valentijn and NK17 like this.
  2. NK17

    NK17 Senior Member

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    @ Calathea compared to where you are in the research and choice of a wheelchair I'm way behind.

    I've just started to ponder about getting one a few months ago.

    I really appreciate all you have been sharing because I find it very helpful.

    I wonder if the Karma brand is the equivalent of the Karman here in the US, I'll look into that and will report.

    I love your city and understand the difficulty of navigating it for a person on a wheelchair.
    I've been in Edinburg only once, back in 1992, and I loved it!
    Back then I was very young and didn't know that I had ME. Nevertheless I ended up at the A&E of the Royal Infirmary because of an awful pain in my back, but apart from that I've lovely memories of the people, the festival and Edinburgh's breathtaking beauty.

    I also share your love for snazziness and looking cool, as cool as you can, even on a wheelchair!
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Sth Australia
    my wheelchair.JPG I checked mine out and it doesnt have those attendant breaks, so isnt something for you.

    Maybe wearing capes would be easier then a folded piece of cloth. i have a warm cape I just lift over my head when I want to remove.. and can tuck it around me so it doesnt get caught on the wheels.

    I got some extra leg attachment pieces with mine, adjustable legs down or up ones. I need the legs up.

    I love the comfort of my wheelchair.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
    justy and Valentijn like this.
  4. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Very nifty, and ooh, it's blue! The tipping levers look unusual, how do they work? They also look very close to the ground.
  5. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Keep meaning to put fairy lights on mine... Wish I could have a lighter more manoeuvrable one. When we were in Spain in December I was actually staring admiringly at a Spanish woman in a very nifty looking, Vietnam vet style wheeler - they are so much easier to get up and down kerbs etc. and easier when self propelling, but they don't have the comfort that I need of the higher back and the handles for someone else to push.

    I agree the brakes on handles would be great - wish my NHS one had these. Unfortunately I don't get out much as husband works all the time, and we don't live in a city. But it has been great for holidays. And I managed to do a number of museums in Spain, and the Alhambra in Granada, which was amazing (but not really wheelchair friendly)

    A few weeks ago, when in the Brighton PAVILLION, I WAS TOLD I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE MY WHEELCHAIR UPSTAIRS (sorry caps lock). They said there was no lift, I said was fine, I could walk upstairs and hubby could lug wheeler up, but was told I was NOT ALLOWED (am shouting now). In the end I walked up and had to keep sitting on the floor. Not sure if this is actually legal...
  6. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Their website does look a bit snotty about it. "There's access on the ground floor for wheelchairs, and all sorts of wonderful things. The end." Did they say why wheelchairs can't be upstairs?
  7. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    I am a fire hazard!

    I did tell them that I can and do walk, I just need the wheelchair for support and so that my condition doesn't worsen, but they said it was a fire risk and there was not good access.

    I should have told them how we hoiked my wheelchair all over the Alhambra in Spain, up and down stairs, through narrow corridors - I must have looked a right sight leaping in and out of the chair at every hurdle.
    ithought likes this.
  8. ithought

    ithought

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    I have recentl been re assessed for a tilt in space chair but am yet to find our what brand or when it will arrive. As we live in the middle of a national park we find getting suitable chairs a nightmare as well. Why are wheelchairs all designed for large shopping centers?
    justy and Valentijn like this.
  9. ithought

    ithought

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    As for a wheelchair blanket I am seriously considering one of those bags which go over my legs as I think they will keep me loads warmer and can always put a fleece or woollen blanket inside it as well, after 20 years of saying no I am not going to get one of them I think it's time I but my pride and did..
  10. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    one of the main problems with getting out and about that I have is that I live in a very rural area- not many places to go for 'walks' with a wheelchair, and I cant use it to leave the house directly without going in a car as we live on a very badly maintained bridle path.

    I hear you can get 'beach' wheelchairs in Pembrokeshire to hire!
  11. greebo

    greebo

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    This looks a lot like the leg cover I've been using for years. Before I had that cover I was always freezing in my wheelchair, because a blanket only covers the front of your legs. I even used to walk when I really shouldn't, because I was just too cold.

    But no more after I bought the leg cover! The one I have is also watertight, so I don't get wet in the rain.

    I also felt kinda self-conscious at first, but that stopped very quickly. I often saw other wheelchair users shivering from the cold and I was feeling warm and cosy....
    justy likes this.
  12. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    yes being cold and wet is horrible, so far i have not gone the route of blanket, cover etc, as you say its bad enough using the wheelchair, let alone looking like and old lady with a blanket on. Lol
  13. ithought

    ithought

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    Since reading lately of different times when people have been refused access to places because they can't use wheelchairs upstairs I have considered when I am well enough to go out we will have to take my fire evacuation chair with me, that we have as we have a through floor stair lift. ... Maybe it's another peice of kit we need to carry around with us!

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