There are different types of wheelchairs, but before we get into that,lets get real!
The first time someone suggested that I try a wheelchair I said “$%^^%$ *^$£$ *&^%”£!”£$% *Bum” I meant it and was prepared to carry out my threat without any lubrication!! After around a month I was worn down by do gooders and visited the wheelchair service. They gave me a wheelchair although I hated the idea of it and the practicing with it I did through gritted teeth and a bluish atmosphere.
Another couple of months and I was worn down again and ‘tried it out’ in a garden centre praying I wouldn’t bump (not literally) into someone I knew. No chance! The first person I met looked at me and all she said was ah Dave given up then? That was it! I asked Victoria (my wife) to take the chair back to the car and get my walking stick. Hah! That’ll learn ‘em!
Time went on. I had no choice but to take to crutches and then a battery buggy with my trusty crutches stacked on it precariously. Then the day came. I couldn’t use crutches because of balance and fatigue, so wheelchair it was. I hated it, hated it, HATED IT!
It took me a few days to understand it, 2 weeks to master it and a further week to break it. It’s at this point that you realise that with no wheelchair there was no moving, shopping, getting from room to room in my house. Worse of all no way to get to the loo. Hmmmm, maybe a wheelchair isn’t so bad. Back to the wheelchair service STRAIT AWAY and that was before having any coffee, tea or any other liquid for obvious reasons.
Prices lets start here because however much you want a particular type of wheelchair unless you can afford that one, you can’t have it. That is unless you have generous parents, grand parents or a charity behind you.
This doesn’t mean you go for the cheapest on on the market though. You often see wheelchairs at BARGAIN PRICES in newspapers and magazines. Google cheapest wheelchair and have a look!
£55 £65 £65 £2,350
Wow! Look at the difference in prices, and they exclude VAT!!!!!!!!!!! Why such variations in price?
The answer starts of simple. Quality of build. I went through so many wheelchairs in my first 5 years of using one. The poorer (cheaper) frame joints, problems in folding them if the model isn’t a fixed frame, the material they are made from and of course how much they weigh because of lifting ‘it’ in and out of a car etc. These all add up to a mountain of frustration if you are a full time user. Then there is the comfort of the thing. Cheap chairs give a less comfortable ride. A bad ride can equal sore bum and achy joints regardless of which cushion you try to protect yourself with. Of course, if you are only going to use the wheelchair on an occasional basis and not as a replacement for your legs, then these problems don’t cause such problems as for a full time user.
Think about the wheel chair as a normal chair. It’s OK to sit on a plastic stacking chair (like school chairs) if you are going to be on it whilst you eat a meal or sit in a church service, but you wouldn't want to furnish your house with them. Forget the looks, just think about sitting on a plastic chair to eat, watch TV. How about having your family round for the day when it’s raining and cold. You all decide to have a day in watching films and eating at your home. Their complaints would immediately start in their eyes when they arrive and after 30 minutes of sitting on them would travel to their mouths then into your ears and follow them out of the door to the relative comfort of the seats of their car.
More to follow!