I am currently the owner of a little sporty, deep red and black, four wheeled beauty. Not only is it built to be lightweight, making manoeuvres + control easier, it’s also built to make gaining speed easier than ever!
What’s the issue you ask?
It’s around 0-10 mph which is just about as quick as my wimpy arms can take me. This is a far cry from the brand new Range Rover I may have once dreamt about.
My wheelchair is far, far from glamourous. Add that to my forever growing list of crutches, extra bannister rails, toilet raisers, shower stools, perching stools, bed leavers, ramps and even at one point a temporary zimmer frame; my poor mother’s house has now turned into what can only be described as an OTs dream.
Now for anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure of needing to know what an OT is, it stands for Occupational Therapist. Basically, in short, they’re the equipment people of the NHS world. They are a bit of an un-sung hero, without them I really wouldn’t get anywhere… quite literally. OT’s however, seem to have the ability to make me feel about as sexy as an overweight, middle aged, hairy man in nothing but a thong. Now, whilst I am aware that there is always someone in some deep dark corner of the web somewhere that’s into that kind of thing, it’s not really for the vast majority.
Having to use mobility equipment of any kind at any age can have the ability to mess with your self-confidence far more than I’m proud to admit. We live in a world where so much emphasis is put on how you look. We have been brought up surrounded by photoshopped images of people that present as having the “perfect” life. So, finding yourself to be sat on top of a set of wheels everywhere you go can leave you feeling very small both literally and metaphorically. This can be further emphasised by total stranger’s comments.
Insult hidden as a compliment number 1:-
“Your far too pretty to be in a wheelchair”
Insult hidden as a compliment number 2:-
“It’s a shame with you been a pretty girl too”
Insult hidden as a compliment number 3:-
“ I bet the boys used to chase you”
I would love to be able to write about how it doesn’t make any difference and I don’t care about needing equipment, but it would be a complete lie. I hate my wheelchair. However, that said I hate it in the same way you hated the thermal clothes your mum would buy you. They certainly weren’t going to be pretty but my god were they useful. You may have even looked at them in complete horror at first but once they were on, you realised you wouldn’t want to be without them. Mobility aids work on the same principle. Independence is my one main goal. Independence is what I want morethan anything else in this world. This should be a small request but for the chronically ill or disabled it can be a huge ask, even maybe a pipe dream for some. I am still so far away from regaining the independence I once had but I get closer all the time. Without the equipment the OT’s provide me, I wouldn’t have been able to relearn the skills I had lost and regain the ability complete my own basic care needs.
I continue to wait. And wait. And wait. I am waiting to be moved to a suitable home. I hope to write again about life living on my own and all the things that the OT’S will have me doing then. While in hospital I had to attend a group called ‘breakfast club’ where the only goal was to be able to get to the kitchen and make yourself a hot drink and pour yourself a bowl of cereal. This once again is a task I wouldn’t even think twice about. However, there was a time in my life where this was a huge challenge and left me both mentally and physically exhausted.
I know it will be hard but I know the OT team will help me learn and improve further in time. Until then I suppose I’ll have to stick to my wheels.