I’m very excited about my new wheelchair coming but talking to other people about what I’m getting and why and how wheelchair services works has been interesting.
There’s been a definite difference between how other disabled people have taken the news of what chair I’m getting (generally very positive) and how able-bodied people have taken the details of what chair I’m getting (quite negative but in a way that I suspect they think is supportive). At times this has been frustrating and even difficult. I won’t go into any more details because this isn’t meant to be a criticism of anyone or anything.
It’s been eye opening and it’s something that I have been thinking about a lot as there are parallels to a situation I see at CAB often but I’ve never really got before now. I still don’t think I get it but I can see how and why it happens more now.
I’m getting a new manual wheelchair provided by the NHS.
I had an assessment with a rehab engineer and an OT today. There was some discussion and after a few minutes I said “So I am getting a new chair then?”
And the engineer who is someone I’ve seen in clinic before said “Emma, the only reason we’re letting you go home in that chair is because we don’t have anything here to lend you and we can’t send you home without a chair. If we had something else you’d be in it.”
They also got a new type of cushion out for me to try and the OT declared she didn’t want me taking my old cushion home so sent me with the trial one. That’s a Qbitus Q-Care Integra 2. I’m to ring her tomorrow and say if I want to keep using that or to have a new one the same as I had which was a Jay 2 Deep Contour. Currently undecided on that.
So I’m getting an Invacare Action 4 – this is next one up from the Action 3 I’ve had since 2009 but looks all but identical. The change is due to my weight. I will have new lateral supports and solid back, identical to what I have on this (Jay J3 backrest). Something was mentioned about a higher back but I lost track of what was decided. Slightly deeper seat and elevating leg rests in the hope that will help with both spasms and lymphoedema. It’s coming in my preferred black.
I knew my chair was desperately showing it’s age but it was working. I had been relatively sure my cushion had had it. But I really hadn’t expected them to be completely horrified by the state of things. It’s been made very very clear by both of them that I need to be keeping in much better touch with the hospital based wheelchair team and that this replacement should have been done about a year ago. Although I did tell them that last summer I saw one of the mobile team for a repair and commented about a new one but he basically said budgets meant they didn’t get replaced until they couldn’t be repaired.
I’m very excited for my new chair – they are marking the order as urgent but no one is sure if that will make a difference. Still hopefully by August I will have it.