Today’s Daily Blog is a Tale of Two Wheelchairs. After all, why have one wheelchair, when you could have two? But then you knew I’d say that, didn’t you? You know me so well…
Wheelchair Number One was purchased last year and, regular readers may remember, led me into some trouble from its new owner, Mr B, on account of its being “Arsenal colours.”
In my defence, I hadn’t been thinking in terms of football clubs when I bought it, I had actually thought it a very cheery colour and that, as a result, everyone would see us coming.
Wheelchair Number Two arrived a few months ago, courtesy of the really rather wonderful NHS and was of the self-propelled variety so that, in theory, Mr B would be able to get around under his own steam rather than always
relying on me. This theory has proved to be not entirely borne out by experience but that’s another story.
Then the other week (you may remember me telling
you about Roger the Dodger?) we paid out for what’s called a Power Pack which would, we were excited to discover, enable us to get out and about more easily. Have Power Pack, will travel. Yesterday one of Roger’s workmates called to collect Wheelchair
Number Two so that it could be fitted with the special bar on which the wheels of the Power Pack would fit. Fortunately we had Wheelchair Number One, so we weren’t left wheelchair-less. I’d tucked it away in the boot of my car, just to get it out
of the way, so it was like being reunited with an old friend when I retrieved it, in all its ruby red glory.
This afternoon Wheelchair Number Two was returned,
fitted out with the Power Pack and ready to go. I’d had to miss out on my monthly Cribbage session waiting in for its return but, as I said to Mr B, this meant we could give our powered wheelchair its first outing. Just to the shops and back, I suggested.
Now there are a few things you need to know about operating a wheelchair fitted with a power pack. To be honest, there are more than a few things but I am anxious not to
bore you so I will concentrate on what might be called the Main Features.
First of all, the idea is that the attendant (that’ll be me, then) doesn’t
need to push - it is up to the Power Pack to do all the hard work. The attendant does, however, need to steer - and this is far, far harder than it seems, given the uneven state of the pavements around our neighbourhood. Our first outing was, shall we say,
a Trifle Fraught. Mr B complained, at length, that he didn’t feel safe in my hands. To be fair to him, this was after I had twice drifted over towards the road as I desperately tried to keep the wheelchair on a safe and steady course.
We didn’t quite make it to the shops as Mr B insisted we turn round and retrace our steps because his nerves were frayed beyond bearing. It was very chastening, having to admit
defeat on our very first outing.
Back home, over a restorative mug of coffee, I put a brave face on it, explaining that it would take me time to grow accustomed
to our new transport. It was, I pointed out rather like when I first learned to drive a car. This turned out to be an unfortunate analogy as it put Mr B in mind of those far-off days when I was the World’s Worst Learner Driver, followed by my early days
as a qualified driver when our car was subject to a few scrapes and bumps before I found my land legs. Or my wheels.
You may be thinking that I should perhaps
practise without Mr B on board, so to speak. The trouble with this is that a wheelchair with power pack performs completely differently without the weight of a person. Wheeling the empty wheelchair is, to be clear, easy-peasy. Wheeling a wheelchair with Mr
B a-board is, well, not.
We shall try again tomorrow, always supposing Mr B can summon up enough courage to entrust his life and limb to me again. I am,
as always, Up For The Challenge.