My power chair is sick. The doctor is coming to take a look at it on Monday, so I'm using it carefully and judiciously. I still need to get around and the problem with the chair is that the problem happens randomly. I can go out, go far, go up and go down and have no problem at all. But when it happens, it happens. Suddenly the lights behind my joystick start to flash and I come to a stop. I have to turn the chair off, wait a second, and no more than a second, and then turn it back on. 99% of the time that fixes the problem. The other 1% of the time the chair fails again, and again, then after trying a bit, it gets going again.
I worry, obviously, about having this happen in the middle of the road, but it doesn't tend to happen when I'm going long distances, it tends to happen when I'm stopping and starting. And thus, it happened, on my way into College Park, where I was intending to shop. The chair died just on entry, so I was past the first door but not the second door. There are other doors in, right beside the one I was using, but those aren't the doors that people use. So, I'm stopped, struggling to get the chair started again, and I'm surrounded by people's annoyance and impatience. The message that I'm 'in the way' and 'taking up too much space' surrounded me. I get these messages constantly, even when it's simply not true, but here - I was taking up space and I was in the way. My stress was combined with shame and mixed with panic. I thought I'd spontaneously combust.
But, I didn't.
I got it going again. And after that, it was fine, all the way home, and out again. True, I was riding on four wheels and a low level of worry throughout the rest of the day, but I got through it. Got home and parked the chair in it's normal place. This chair has served me well. I hope that it's not really, really, really, sick. It's expensive to repair - trust me I know this. And I've been told it's impossible to replace, they don't make this chair any more.
So I'll be using a ailing chair for a few days more, if you hear of a wheelchair stuck in the middle of Yonge and Bloor - that'd be me!