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Reflections after I "wheelchaired" for the first time

SnappingTurtle

Senior Member
Messages
258
Location
GA, USA
After skipping many outdoor family activities for many months, I was able to join in one recently with the use of a wheelchair.

The good:
I made it outside (am housebound and often in bed).
I was able to cover much ground since family members pushed the chair.
I could occasionally stand then rest in chair.
I could observe and enjoy my children more.

The bleh:
People stared.
Chair cannot recline and didn't help when I started to feel lightheaded.
Realized too late that I didn't know how to make turns in the thing.
At one point, was left unattended. Felt isolated and forgotten.
Couldn't just up and leave, reminded I was handicapped.

I now have a better appreciation for anyonw who has to use a wheelchair, and for ADA accommodations. Thank you to those of you who have forged the path ahead. Sorry to be joining the ranks.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,363
I now have a better appreciation for anyonw who has to use a wheelchair, and for ADA accommodations. Thank you to those of you who have forged the path ahead. Sorry to be joining the ranks.

That must have been very very strange. I've only done it: at the airport- and that was strange enough.

No limp here! I look fine! (not, but whatever).

I was able to cover much ground since family members pushed the chair.

It recently occured to me that I'm too weak to push my own wheel chair around, if I had one. Arms- I'd crash using a chair, too!

Personally I don't think an electric thing would help me either. :sluggish:

Cures: please just find cures!:angel:

At one point, was left unattended. Felt isolated and forgotten.
Couldn't just up and leave, reminded I was handicapped.

To cope with this part, maybe you need some good narrative jokes or one liners-

HELLO OVER THERE!!!!! I"m still OVER HERE.......(may be next time bring a big whistle with you).

HEH Remember me?

OK, no more free rides for anybody else.....
 

wabi-sabi

Senior Member
Messages
1,483
Location
small town midwest
At one point, was left unattended. Felt isolated and forgotten.
Couldn't just up and leave, reminded I was handicapped.
I use an electric wheelchair. That helps in being more indepedent.

It's certainly not fun to realize you are sick enough to need a chair. But it does give you ability to do more and that's important. I think it's good too, to normalize needing a chair. The more of us there are, the less we will get stare at.
 

Woof!

Senior Member
Messages
523
Just discovered this thread...

From my year and a half being in and out of a wheelchair many years ago (always accompanied by a pusher, fortunately)...
- I was "wider" (every movement required more room)
- I was shorter (many tables & just about all countertops became an issue)
- it was really puzzling to people when I used the chair sometimes (when I needed it) and not others (much preferring to move normally every chance I got)
- it took a lot more time to get around due to the lack of wheelchair-friendly access (certain streets & buildings)

All of that said, the experience really opened my eyes to what folks who need a chair 24:7 go through, and I appreciated the mobility the chair gave me when, otherwise, I couldn't participate in things. I also met some wonderful people along the way, strangers who looked out for me when I needed help.

I think the biggest concerns I would have nowadays if I needed a chair again would be:
- hip pain (osteopenia and osteoporosis in hips and lower back)
- increased risk of blood clots
- and, as @SnappingTurtle mentioned, a chair can't recline when I start to feel lightheaded

Almost everything has its pros and cons...
 

wabi-sabi

Senior Member
Messages
1,483
Location
small town midwest
From my year and a half being in and out of a wheelchair many years ago (always accompanied by a pusher, fortunately)...
- I was "wider" (every movement required more room)
- I was shorter (many tables & just about all countertops became an issue)
- it was really puzzling to people when I used the chair sometimes (when I needed it) and not others (much preferring to move normally every chance I got)
- it took a lot more time to get around due to the lack of wheelchair-friendly access (certain streets & buildings)
These are such good insights and I'm happy to see them articulated so precisely. It fits my experience when I wheelchair too! I don't wheelchair at home, but I have to almost everytime I leave the house, so transitioning back and forth is an experience everytime.

I also really like the use of wheelchair as a verb! Sometimes I walk, sometimes I wheelchair-I will think of myself like this.
 

Abrin

Senior Member
Messages
329
I was given the gift of a wheelchair a couple of years ago and I've never once been out in it because I'd need someone to push me.

I've been thinking about getting one of those rolling walkers with a seat but they are over $200 so I am having a hard time justifying to myself getting one because that would be a lot of money if I hated it but I haven't seen any used one around where I live that I could buy for a cheaper price.
 

Judee

Psalm 46:1-3
Messages
4,493
Location
Great Lakes
I've been thinking about getting one of those rolling walkers with a seat but they are over $200 so I am having a hard time justifying to myself getting one because that would be a lot of money if I hated it but I haven't seen any used one around where I live that I could buy for a cheaper price.

Not sure where you are but we got a rollator walker for my Mom through Craigslist about 6 years back for about $85 similar to this one: https://www.amazon.com/Lightweight-Titanium-Rollator-Backrest-Storage/dp/B00H34DU8U/ref=sxin_13_pa_sp_search_thematic_sspa?crid=1JV8MK9MYIW3B&cv_ct_cx=rollator&dchild=1&keywords=rollator&pd_rd_i=B00H34DU8U&pd_rd_r=5e56012e-bfef-4199-9d12-0615a08f9628&pd_rd_w=MF3Kl&pd_rd_wg=5f3qJ&pf_rd_p=f21da57e-06e4-46a5-9148-e2dea2e78384&pf_rd_r=CTBD4DZJZMK117N4MR7H&qid=1635569985&sprefix=rollator,aps,132&sr=1-3-a73d1c8c-2fd2-4f19-aa41-2df022bcb241-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExWElWSkJPM0FBWks5JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTE4NDg1M0E2Q0pZMFREUFY0RiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODA4OTk1M0Y4UFJRMEhaWlU1NSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX3NlYXJjaF90aGVtYXRpYyZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
(Yikes - sorry for the extremely long link. I notice that happening a lot lately. Not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong.)

Thread continued...

If you do get a walker don't do the European designed ones. Those are bad.

They're dangerous. The seat is small but the sling back sits way past the seat. The natural tendency when you go to sit down on the walker is to sit as far back as that sling allows.

Well the sling is just a piece of fabric and as soon as your back touches it, it wants to droop, tipping the rider backwards with the bag you are sitting over not being enough to hold your weight. If you zoom the top picture of this one you can see that the sling extends out over the bag instead of the seat. Bad :(

https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Medical-RTL10266-T-Walker-Rollator/dp/B00QFYS3TK/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2IMHLRMLJ32G3&dchild=1&keywords=european+walker&qid=1635569837&sprefix=european+walker,aps,170&sr=8-2
 
Last edited:

SnappingTurtle

Senior Member
Messages
258
Location
GA, USA
I "wheel-chaired" again with mixed results...

Good news: in Georgia, USA, there is a wonderful foundation that lends battery all-terrain wheelchairs to disabled persons for use at select state parks (Aimee Copeland Foundation). I took advantage of this recently on my first forest outing in 4 years. I would not have been able to join my family on their hike, otherwise. The unit is operated by joystick and was intuitive to use. I enjoyed fresh air, sounds of the wind and wildlife all around me.

The (expected) bad news: the chair does not recline and it took only 10 mins for me to feel dysautonomia symptoms worsen. Then, because I still was over-exerting by sirting upright and used energy pushing and pulling on joystick, I crashed in the hotel in the next days anyway, and still 5 weeks later at home.

I made a decision to do all that to enliven my soul, and I guess I am paying the consequences now. It was worth it. I will treasure the memories of enjoying nature.
 

Judee

Psalm 46:1-3
Messages
4,493
Location
Great Lakes
Someone has a electric wheelchair on Craigslist in my town. I want to buy it because I could maybe go to church, maybe do some in store grocery shopping but even though it's discounted it's still a little pricey for my finances right now.

I could go with a mobility scooter for less but this one has that joystick you mentioned and that makes me think I could still push a cart in front of me if I was in a store. Most of the mobility scooters have the steering column and then tiny baskets with that...not very good for if I would buy things in jugs or too many things at one time.

Oh, well. :)