Tag Archives: power chair

I will be free…

“Well, you have five minutes to change your mind again,” she said with a grin. It was the night of the annual lecture that I help organize in honour of my late husband. As a family, we were preparing to go. It was very exciting; one of my stepdaughters was in town for the event. “Shall I go by Power Chair or drive in and take my walker?” There are pluses and minuses to either one and for the past hour I had been changing my mind at regular intervals. The pendulum swung once and I’d say, “I don’t like watching people react to the wheelchair.” When the pendulum swung low, I couldn’t decide. As it moved to the far side, I’d state, “I like using my legs.” We drove there. The walker was pulled from the van, I leaned on it and I pushed it past my son, who was holding open the door to the building. Once inside, I got tired of walking down the hall, turning to my daughter I asked her to pull me. I turned around, sat on the walker and she pulled me the rest of the way to the auditorium. I live with patient people.

That was a year ago. I have since decided that walking is very pedestrian……

This year I was talking to my stepdaughter before the event and told her “I’m taking the Power Chair, because I want to be free.” I smiled broadly, remembering how she had teased me last year for changing my mind so often. Freedom is relative. I meant I was free to move without making a huge physical effort. I was free! I chose to ignore other’s reaction to my wheelchair.  I was also free to move myself around without having to ask others for too much help. Perhaps, I was freeing others from the stress of looking after me.

Bopping along in my wheelchair…

On one of the last days of summer, I chose to ride my Power Chair. This was only the fifth time I’ve taken it out. I was heading to a workshop and decided it best to use the Chair. I’d have more energy for meeting people, talking about things and presenting material on “Living a Healthy Life with a Chronic Condition”.

I have a number of walking aides: two walkers, one power chair, one wheelchair that requires somebody push me. It is a light model, easily hauled in and out of our family van. While some people choose their handbags to match their shoes, I pick a walking device according to mood, terrain and what I want to accomplish that day.

And so, I rode my Power Chair, down the sidewalks and into the community centre, where we were meeting. I rode the chair right up to our meeting table. After a fun two hours at the workshop, I headed out to the sunshine. I met a friend on the sidewalk, who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. She told me she was headed to my neighbourhood and asked how I was getting home. She pointed to the Chair and asked: “Does it fit in my van?” I looked up at her, tapping the armrests of my wheelchair with the palms of my hands, I stated: “I’m walking.”

And then, I smiled and explained, “I’m pretend walking. It only takes half an hour in this Chair.”