Friday, 22 May 2009

Express Yourself

I thought I'd leave it a week or so before posting about my new NHS wheelchair. You know, the one that took three years getting to me.

Well, it works and boy has it changed things.

I confess that at first I felt a little unsure. The way you feel when you've been trapped in a really bad relationship and aren't convinced you can love again. That's how it was with my scooter. I suddenly found myself ignoring all its faults...dodgy suspension, creaks, impossibly long reach to handlebars, sluggish, poor battery life (I could go on)and found myself feeling nostalgic.

I fooled myself into believing that me and 'scoot' had had a wonderful time and, lump in throat, I found it hard to look at her (she suddenly aquired a gender too) as she sat, forlorn, in the yard. All those trips to the High Street to get compost. How would I manage that in a wheelchair? More than two bags of shopping. Now impossible.

Then a voice said: "Get real!" and my eyes opened. I was staring at a rusty heap of junk that had been impossible to manouvre in shops and had frankly done nothing for my image, being maroon, which is my most hated colour. It had only ever got me as far as the High Street, which I now confess to trying to avoid on a regular basis. Which means avoiding exhausting struggles with large amounts of shopping, and compost. I have better things to do!

So with my eyes suddenly opened, I found that leaving my scooter out in the rain was exactly what I wanted to do. Ah, revenge! (with a plastic cover, just in case I sell it on ebay).

What I love most about my wheelchair is the newfound and totally unexpected ability to express yourself. In a power chair with such minutely sensitive controls that you could almost control it with your breath I have found myself

  • Having a strop. Yes, storming off even, turning on my heel and whooshing down the street

  • Wandering aimlessly. My son went into a newsagents I couldn't access due to a large step. So I was left to my own devices whilst he spent the best part of 20 minutes choosing sweets. I found myself round the corner meandering in a courtyard full of bedding plants, pootling up and down puzzling over the bargain that was:
"Buy one for £1.49, two for £3!!!!"

  • Going for walks. My son and I have taken to going on an evening stroll, and we've had ice cream in the park. This feels far more leisurely now that I have some options in between fast (ish) and sloooooow. The nuances offered by those extra little dots on the speed indicator mean everything.
  • I have twirled. In delight. Round and round in the playground, because I could, and because I feel so funky these days. And the skater friends of my son were probably checking out my 900 (two 360s and a 180 for the uninitiated) and wishing they could. In your dreams.
My wheelchair is black and silver. It goes with everything I wear, rather than nothing. And more importantly it feels like part of me.


Wheelchair Dancer said...

this is wonderful -- the best news.


D Phoenix said...

Wow, wonderful news. All that maneuverability and it's stylish, too! Maroon is not a fave for me, either. Here's to many more adventures using your black and silver partner in mobility.

Someone's left the scoot out in the rain...

The Goldfish said...

Hooray! Seahorse, this sounds so great. As I was reading your post, I got the song from Flashdance in my head, being a jubilant song about movement. Except, maybe...

First, there is nothing, just a slow moving scooter
Twice as long as is wide, creaks inside, your ride
Though you tried to see past it, the maroon and the basket
In this world, on four wheels you must roam

Oh when I feel the joystick, see the black and the silver,
Zoom around, with my boy, in the park!

What a feeling! Now I'm wheeling!
I can twirl about, I can dance without my feet!
Take your powerchair, and take it out there!
When I'm in a strop, I can storm right up the street!

etc., etc.

Of course at this point, you say that you don't know the song and thus consider the above a very strange poem.

seahorse said...

What a feeeeeeeeeling! Great lyrics Goldfish. I keep finding excuses to go out. Tired but happy.

Donimo, I would plant geraniums in the scooter basket, but again, maroon doesn't leave me with many options...

WCD: I told my son all about you. He reckons you rock!

Cusp said...

Great news. Should I get you some 'go faster' stripes to stick down the side ?

Miss Waxie aka A Comic Life, Indeed said...

Glad your lovin' on the new chair. Enjoy yourself!!

Never That Easy said...

Awesome. I'm so excited for you - having that sort of freedom. Hooray for a chair that works.

seahorse said...

Hooray indeed! Thanks cusp, Miss Waxie and NTE :-)

I was asked how I feel about having a new wheelchair today. I said "Younger". I don't think they expected me to say that.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I am very glad that not only did you get a power chair that fit your needs but matched you mentally and that you were able to do what you wanted to do and how you wanted to do it, I think, I love you having a strop and wheeling out. It sounds like a wonderful fit mentally not just physically.