This week I went out in my manual wheelchair for the first time half being pushed because I live on streets with uneven pavements (which I’ve learn’t as long as the pavements straight but not if there are any bends!) and I still can’t get myself up a drop curb. I thought I’d write about some of the things I’ve learnt from the experience.
- My arms are stronger than I thought they were. I knew my arms had better function than my legs. I trust them more and can feel them properly. But I genuinely thought I’d only manage self propelling 5 feet on a v flat easy surface before they just gave up.
- Why can’t all pavements be level?
- People were a lot nicer than I expected. I didn’t encounter any Karen’s on this trip.
- Can people please put signs for COVID entry and exit sides at a wheelchair users eyeline before they have to choose a side of ribbon to go on.
- Can we have counters at banks at a height that is more accessible?
- Sometimes people do expect you to try and weave around them which is interesting as a new wheelchair user on a busy high-street. Was definitely scared I may run someone over at these points.
- I didn’t feel like I was about to pass out or collapse as much, I could feel my legs and was much less grumpy and more chatty (so clearly it’s doing it’s job or atleast half the job)
- The skin on my hands, my wrists and my shoulders surprisingly survived but there were deffo a couple of finger dislocations!
- I somehow ended up with a bruise on the inside of my upper arm? (EDS skin)
- I’ve come a long way in accepting myself since that time last year I had to be wheeled around A&E in a chair.
The advice a can give so far. The practicalities of navigating pavement in a manual wheelchair are a lot harder than you think and you have to go a lot slower than you think or even want to if the ground uneven (Maybe not for the seasoned manual wheelchair user). If you think you need to use a wheelchair you probably do need to and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.