Life With My All Terrain Wheelchair
I have come to appreciate my all terrain wheelchair more and more. The longer I spend in it the more my life improves, well it’s not that it just improves I find that I want to do more and more. That’s what I call the cascade effect, having such a capable chair allows me to engage in the real world as I please.
Initially, just like most people I needed / wanted my all terrain chair for a specific purpose. Being outside. So I could continue running my gardening business, accessing all types of difficult terrain and carry on the work which I love.
It is only after I had been in the chair for a year or so I began to use it more as an everyday chair, this crept up on me, until I used the chair for everything and I now hate being out of it. It completes me.
I speak to a lot of people who want one of my chairs just to get outside in the real world, you know walk in the woods, on the beach, and yes it’s a good reason to want an all terrain chair. But it’s not really a good enough reason in the long term. The outside invariably involves getting inside at some point. I can’t imagine only going out for a woodland walk, that’s not enough.
I go for a woodland walk with friends, go to a pub for lunch, pop to the shops, then back to my friends house to relax and perhaps another drink. This is what an all terrain chair should be used for. Real life. Real life is rounded and unexpected, my chair allows me to match what ever happens. I enjoy the unexpected, it’s not a problem, not even an issue, it engages me.
I meet many people that are trapped in their traditional electric chairs. I also have to mention that the design of these have really not changed for 40 years, what’s that about? Very pretty shopping trolleys?
Come to think about it that’s why I meet so many people who tell me that they have destroyed part of their chairs or snapped the frame or some such. They are simply not designed to engage with the real world. Of course us wheelchair users have no need of a life, we are just happy to sit in a chair, let’s just give thanks and roll around on a nice flat sterile surface. Perhaps we could be medicated just in case we had thoughts of engaging in the real world.
Do traditional chairs come with a free life supply of pacifying medication? Is that why so many are sold? The users forced to take mind altering drugs?
Although in the past I have taken mind altering drugs, ( don’t worry I didn’t inhale ), not enough to make me own a shopping trolley. I want, no I demand a life. Am I arrogant in my views, Hell Yes. I realise that fundamentally I am enjoying my life, don’t get me wrong things are not happy clappy. But I think what I am trying to to say is that my Four X has enabled me, I’ve just got a regular life nothing special, maybe that’s what’s good about it.
Yes I’m broke, in debt, don’t earn enough, I love my gardening work, and I also enjoy meeting new people and talking chairs, I like the fact I can go for a walk in woodland, or go to the pub or just lay out in the sun, or go down a mountain side, or go to the cinema, or well you get the point. I’m FREE.
If I can help others have that freedom in one of my chairs, rather than a shopping trolley, have a list of things they would like to try rather than having a list of things they can’t do, then that makes me happy.
Oh yea while I’m meandering along this line, I hear so much about, this and that should me made accessible, there should be ramps and smooth surfaces for wheelchair friendliness, the bloody wheelchair pound! If it’s not accessible they they won’t get my money (I’m performing a social service). What I load of bollocks. The world should be enabled by design, If it’s wide enough for kiddies double buggie and if it’s got a couple of small steps then it’s good enough for an all terrain wheelchair. Design things in a way that they can be used for most people, elegant is always good.
I will be dead and burried a thousand times over before the world is made wheelchair friendly. Instead of spending trillions in adapting the world spend much much less and provide people with all terrain wheelchairs that will enable us to engage with the real world, not shopping trolleys that trap us and limit our outlook.
My life feels good and I can only put it down to my wheelchair, and everything it has enabled me to do, but more importantly it has given me the hunger to do more. More of what, I don’t really know but perhaps that is the point.