I’m going to start this entry with a Facebook status I posted on Friday. It’s the easiest way of cutting a very long story short.
Requested a new wheelchair cushion. Waited six weeks and got sent part of a wheelchair cushion. Took the old disintegrating one apart and tried to fit new part to still working bit of old cushion. They’re different sizes. Couldn’t put old cushion back together as taking the cover off caused the gel to completely disintegrate. Covered in gel as is my floor. Called wheelchair services. They promise to get me a full new cushion with inserts. Manage not to shout at the OT about maybe taking eight weeks to do so. — feeling Aggravated.
A couple of points here before I get to the point of this entry:
The wheelchair cushion I use is a Jay 2. Getting only part of it is possible because it’s made up of a base and then various bits which are used in different configurations. I have the base and three other bits.
The day before the mobile technician came out I had a letter from wheelchair services listing what they were issuing me and enclosing the conditions of loan. These are standard and refer to a wheelchair throughout.
Being a wheelchair services veteran I’m well versed in these conditions. They do make for interesting reading. Some highlights:
Give it back or give it in for repair if asked. Yeah ok, I can do that. But I’ll need a replacement if I give it back or a courtesy chair if it’s being repaired
Keep it clean. I’m not good at that. My wheelchairs are generally in need of some sort of clean. I should work on that. On the other hand I’d rather be out sailing and shopping and going places and have a battered, filthy chair than a pristine but hardly used chair because I’m not doing things.
Let them know if I no longer need it so they can reissue it to another user. Moot point for me and anyway the majority of my mobility equipment gets used until its dead and fit only for scrap and very possibly for spares.
Inspect for damage and report repairs. I do this to an extent. My clothes guards almost always have damage because they are flimsy plastic and a silly design that works well for what it does but doesn’t have the staying power it could do with for how i use my chair/transfer. Surface cracks are practically a design feature on my ones. It gets beyond that I get them changed. Both were changed less than two months ago. Both have been cracked or a week or two. It’s cosmetic so I’m leaving it.
The wheelchair is only to be used by you. Damn right it is. I absolutely cannot stand anyone else using my chair or even touching it. It’s part of my body, leave it alone.
Tell us if you emigrate/move/change your contact details. Yeah ok.
Tell us if you go abroad. I think on previous versions years ago this was “don’t take it abroad”. So this is progress. But oh no, no, no, no. I’m not going abroad anytime soon but if I was I wouldn’t do that.
A lot of this is common sense. But I think it misses the most important thing.
Use the equipment. Use it for what it’s designed for. If you’re feeling adventurous try something different. Something that maybe wheelchair services or the manufacturer would think it can’t do. Get out there. Live. Enjoy it. Be free in a way you couldn’t before you got the chair.