Saturday, October 24, 2009

Parking Lot with Two Bedrooms

Our apartment now looks like a wheelchair parking lot. I've got my office wheelchair, my power chair, my broken one is back and fixed, my new one is leaning up against the wall. Anyone who comes in will get the idea that herein lives a cripple very, very quickly. For me, it was the end of a difficult time. And, though I'm not focusing on it, I worry about the future.

It seems that people with disabilities don't like choices so we have others make them for us. The issue of the tires was a huge issue. Most of the new chairs, here in Canada at any rate, come with black tires only. The black rubber is supposed to be harder, more durable, last longer and roll easier. Well, I don't know about the rest of the claims but it's impossible for me to push. It just seems to stick to the floor. The gray rubber is much easier for me to push. So, that's what I ordered, that's what I wanted. When the chair came with black tires, I tried it again and sure enough it was hard to push. The delivery guy said, 'No, it's fine.' I said, 'No, it's hard to push.' He said, 'The rubber is harder, it's easier to push.' I said, 'No, it's not.' I couldn't believe that I was being contradicted about my own experience in the chair. Like if he said it often enough the chair would begin to push it's freaking self.

I was informed that the gray wheels are no longer made that all are made of the black rubber. I wasn't sure if I believed my supplier so I called AMG wheelchairs - the brand I like. I spoke to a sales guy there and was told that they no longer made the gray tires. I told him that I preferred the gray, he said, 'We only make the black.' Why they couldn't have a choice for customers, I don't know. I do know because I made some calls that a variety of institutional settings like hospitals are complaining about the black tires because they leave marks on the floor. So it isn't just me. But even if it was, shouldn't there be a choice. I'm afraid for my next wheelchair I'll have to travel to the States to get it. There seems to be more options there.

So, how did I get gray tires. I had a very old chair with gray tires, I had the company pick it up from my office to see if they would fit on the new chair. They did. So I have a new chair with old tires. No there was no reduction in price because the WHEELS on the WHEELchair are old and worn. But, I didn't expect that anyways. I had no choice. There's that pesky complaint again. I did what I had to do.

When talking with someone from the office today they made a joke about how lucky I was to have had the week at home. I didn't say anything because they weren't being mean but how do you explain that being at home instead of work is only better if it's a choice (hmmm, theme here). It isn't so much fun when it's imposed. So, I've got a new chair with old wheels, I've got an old chair with fixed wheels, I do not have a completely brand new chair - even so, I've got mobility and with mobility comes a renewed sense of freedom.

Next week is a huge week for me. It begins the run towards December with the induction ceremony on Monday, a visit from the folks from PA on Tuesday, lectures in Peterborough, Orillia and Vaughn and then on Saturday the flight to London for the beginning of our month long UK lecture tour. Having transport I can rely on is a massive relief. We both agreed that if this had to happen it happened at the perfect time.

What struck me, though, was how disabling disability is when things don't go right. How everything moves so slowly as if it didn't matter that you couldn't move at all. How hard it is for people to understand what it means to have circumstances, not health, not desire, not planning, determine what tomorrow brings. How hard it is to cope with life at the raw edge of disability.

I guess there is no perfect time.

I missed the me that I would have been last week. My sole compensation is that I'm looking forward to being the me I will be next week. If that makes any sense at all.


OhWheely . . said...

Hi Dave
So glad that you're mobile again. Thought you might have to cancel London for a minute. Where can I see a list of your lectures in the UK?
If you let me know your tyre size etc. I'll try to find out if they are available in the UK. I'd be happy to investigate.
Maybe I'll bump into you in London?
Have a great week

Mrs. Gamgee said...

'I missed the me that I would have been last week. My sole compensation is that I'm looking forward to being the me I will be next week. If that makes any sense at all. '

I think that statement about sums up the thoughts/feelings of anyone who has to sacrifice the living of life for medical reasons. When we don't have the restrictions of our disabilities/dx holding us back, we can be our true selves.

I hope now that you have your mobility back, your life will be yours again.


Holly said...

Ugh, I hate when people think they know better than the actual user.

I did some Internet poking around and found out that there are companies that make replacement wheelchair wheels. And, at least in the US (yes, I know you're in CA but there's always hope that it's the same) the wheels come in urethane and composite. Not sure which is which, but I found a place that sells the wheels!OpenDocument

Perhaps you can buy a new set so your whole chair is the same age? Or file for next time.

Dave Hingsburger said...

OhWheely, I don't have my schedule yet. If you don't mind, send me your email address and I'll forward it to you when I get it.

Holly, thank you so much, I went to their website. The chairs cost less than a third of what I pay here in Canada. Outrageous.

liz said...

I was gonna say what Holly did.