Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Chair Man

I got stuck up against a wall.

I nearly threw myself to the floor.

But other than that, my first outing in the power chair went extremely well. The guy dropped it off in the early afternoon and after going through a few facts about owning a power chair (spoken far to slowly with far to many words) I climbed aboard. After making it through the door, on and off the elevator and then out of the building, I was ready to MOTOR. Just before leaving I was reminded that the roads were covered in ice and that I needed to adjust to being in the chair and the sensitive nature of the controls.

Can that baby move!

We headed towards the mall a couple blocks away, Joe trotting behind me. I had to slow down for him to keep up - and I wasn't on full power. After negotiating the narrow ramp into the mall, I was on my way. I had trouble believing that it would carry me up ramps and down aisles, but it did. After successfully navigating both the book store and the grocery store, I took on the liquor store. That's confidence!

At one point we stopped for tea and I decided to try and see if the seatbelt was long enough for me. It was and I clicked it into place. A good call because after leaving the tea shoppe I put it on full power and zoomed off. I wanted to see how fast it would go. A woman stepped out of a store, right in front of me and I had to come to a sudden stop. The chair nearly tipped over, thank heaven's I was strapped in. My heart hasn't been that fast since the first time I saw Joe.

Once on the way down a long ramp I kind of lost control and wedged up against a wall. It took a bit of time to quell the panic and then steer away from the wall. On the way home we decided to go over to Yonge Street and motor down. Because of the ice we often had to go in single file, but the times we got to be together, side by side were wonderful.

I carried the groceries, books and beer in my bag on the back of the chair, Joe didn't have to push, to carry, to steer - he got to simply walk beside me. I don't know if I have the ability to convey to you what that meant to me. To be an independant partner. To be with without depending on.

I knew the chair would give me independance.

I hadn't banked on it giving me equality.


kathleen said...

My heart hasn't been that fast since the first time I saw Joe.

my favorite line of this entry.

Susan said...

Woohoo! You got your power chair! Congratulations! (Does he have a name?) And hey, you know what I noticed when I last saw my dad? HIS chair is blue, too!!!

RICHARD said...


RICHARD said...

Its a great feelng to be free.
Enjoy it Dave.

Rosemary said...


Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

"My heart hasn't been that fast since the first time I saw Joe."

Oh, I loved this line too! Was it love at first sight, then?

Oh, sorry, I got distracted by the romantic subplot :-) *ahem* What I was GOING to say before I got sidetracked was, Congratulations!!!! On your new power chair!

And in a completely unrelated note:

Jerry Lewis, the man who runs the annual Telethon to raise money for people with muscular dystrophy in the US is about to receive a humanitarian award. Many people in the disability community is protesting this award because they feel that Jerry perpetuates and entrenches negative, harmful stereotypes toward people with disabilities. More about the petition campaign at:

There is also a Facebook group at

Manuela said...

I can't wait to see it. Sounds like we have to get you a major flag on the back! Or maybe flashing emergency LED lights (just watched a repeat of the Chris and Steven show and they showed an emergency winter driving kit! and the funniest story about Steven putting oil in the car - ooh what eye candy) But I digress and am curious, will you use the chair every day? are there time your other chair will be used? Can you travel with it?
Congrats on another new adventure and discovery!

Myrrien said...

I am glad for your new found independence. Congratulations!

Belinda said...

Freedom, elation! It sounds as if Joe will be taking up jogging if he wants to keep up.

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...


This story made me think of you and the day you were abandoned in the cold -- something similar happened to someone else, except he was left over night :-(

E said...

:) :) :)

ah equality!


Gina said...

power is POWER!
oh boy, I am so thrilled to read this post, way to go Dave, way to "JOG" Joe.

lina said...

ok, yes, my favourite line ....'my heart hasn't beaten that fast since the first time I saw Joe' - awwwwwww.
But, I'm doing my happy dance for you and your new chair - can't wait to see it!

CF said...

I think it made you frisky too! Mrow!!! :-)

Heike said...

It almost makes me feel like moving to Toronto to see it!

Jenn McWhorter said...

To me, the best thing about my power chair (which I got a year ago after ten years in a manual) is that my husband and I can hold hands as we go down the street. :)

Louis said...

I remember the feelings you're describing with this post, the feelings when I switched from a manual chair to a powerchair. These are the reasons I was so adamant about the difference, back when you were considering getting one *smile* - I'm so very pleased this has worked out for you the way it worked out for me. *HUGS*