Over the years, my views on wheelchairs have run the full gamut. When I was a little kid, they looked SO cool and were FUN to play in/with. (Wheelchair races, wheelies, etc) As I got older, and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the threat of being confined to a wheelchair terrorized me. The keywords here are THREAT and CONFINED. All I could focus on were the things I wouldn’t be able to do, instead of the additional things that using a wheelchair could help me do.
I’m not saying that I am excited about being in a wheelchair AGAIN, or that you should rush out and buy one, but after having to use a wheelchair many times over the last 20 years, I can FINALLY acknowledge that in some ways it makes my life easier.
Some examples include:
- Airports- Using a wheelchair allows me to continue traveling. My legs have become so much weaker over the years that even a “quick run” to the grocery store wears me out and makes falling more likely. The long lines and distances at the airports would make it very difficult if not impossible for me to fly. I have written numerous times about traveling in a wheelchair via plane and train. Air Travel with MS- Use the tools available, Just the Facts Please, and Your mission should you choose to accept it are a couple examples if you are looking for more information.
- The Risk of falling is minimized- I can’t say that the risk is eliminated, (Have you met, Grace?) but it is definitely smaller. Full disclosure here- I launched myself down the steps of my parents porch the other day because I got impatient and was resisting the help that was offered. 😦
- I can move faster. I’m not talking about using a power wheelchair, although you really can haul ass in those. I’m talking about general everyday tasks. I “roll” faster than most people can walk. In the beginning, I didn’t have much in the way of endurance. My arms got tired quickly. The more I push myself though, the stronger my arms are becoming, which in turn is making other “everyday tasks” easier to do.
Finally, and best of all….it allows me to hold and move with my twin grandsons. Again, I don’t have the risk of falling with them. I have an “auto rocking chair”, which they think it’s cool as hell. When I am rolling around or backing up, I make noises like a race car or a construction vehicle backing up… Beep beep beep….
Thanks for reading along today. What are your thoughts on the use of wheelchairs? Can you think of any other way they can make your life easier?