Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh Henry


Bone deep fear.

Indescribable fear.

At first I didn't understand what was happening. I could feel the wheels of my power chair stick when I made a turn and I put it down to there being something I couldn't see, from my vantage point, on the floor. Then, when it became more serious I thought it was because of the type of floor that I was on. I felt a rising anxiety but my ability to explain away problems and concerns comforted me.


I was on my way home, a route that I'd taken many times. Like other's who are wheelchair users, I have become used to the 'feel' of the sidewalk. Something was different. Something was wrong. I couldn't describe it properly but I knew that something felt much different.That's not good.

Finally, I made the turn to back into the elevator here at home and the chair just didn't move. I had to push back on the back of my chair to encourage it to move. It did, but it sputtered.

And then the full force of fear struck.

A tidal wave of fear.

A tsunami of terror.

I have never taken the ability to get around for granted. I am constantly thankful for what my chair offers me. Funny then that I never thought of it as something that was a 'thing' that could 'break down'. People say that they 'can't live without their morning coffee' or that they 'can't live without chocolate.' They can. I think to myself, 'I can't live without my power wheelchair.'

But I know I can.

I just don't want to.

So this morning the repair person will arrive to take a look at my poor chair. I won't be here. I couldn't take it.

I remember when niece Erin used to pull our computer apart to do things with it like add memory and other forms of witchery, I had to go out because my anxiety was so high.

This is ten times worse.

So I await the 'wheelchair whisperer' and hope that I am returned without outrageous cost to dependable mobility.

For those who think I'm 'confined to a chair' ... you don't get it, I'll be confined without one.


joanne said...

I can't even imagine Dave....I "freak out" when my vehicle is in the garage for repairs and not available to me...hope it's operational again :)

Beth said...

I hope Henry is all better very soon, and, like you say, without outrageous (monetary) cost. Of course, your power chair being unwell does come at great cost--to your mobility and peace of mind.

I use a rollator most of the time, and a manual wheelchair for distance and the occasional (physically) bad day or rough time. And I was pretty freaked out when my chair was messed up.

Evidently if I give my parents permission to do their shopping in my car, I must make sure they don't put my chair behind their car. The car's clearance was too low to run over my chair, exactly, but the handrims were horribly scratched and *cries* it warped a wheel!

The chair could be used, but it was very hard to go straight. It was good enough to get around the house if needed, but longer distances would be too exhausting. Until the replacement wheels came, my options for shopping were very limited (e.g., no grocery store). I didn't even use my wheelchair that often, and I still felt confined. I can't imagine if it were my standard device!

Shan said...

Eek! Poor little guy...hopefully after he has some TLC, he'll feel rested and ready to carry on.

I can imagine it must be a really frightening feeling, out and about, and wondering whether you'll be able to get back home, or will you be stranded in a sea of pavement with all those impassable meters, and judgmental onlookers, in between you and safety.

wheeliecrone said...

Oh, yes, Dave. The first time my motorised wheelchair stopped working, I was in the middle of a large supermarket. There I was, stopped. Dead in the water. In the cereal aisle.
I was terrified. And totally without a clue about what I should do about my problem.
Luckily, the store manager was wonderful about it. She helped me disengage my drive wheels so Mabel (my chair was named Mabel) could be pushed home. And then she pushed Mabel and me home, two streets away.
I will never forget my terror. My feeling of total helplessness. And visceral fear.
I hope that Henry recovers soon.

Cynthia F. said...

Get well soon, Henry!!!

Anonymous said...

At least you have another chair, even if it's a manual one.

When the frame on my chair broke and needed to be welded, I was pretty much stuck between my bed and the bathroom. And the way it broke, I couldn't even sit in it.

You are right, we aren't confined to our chairs we are enabled by them, and confined without them.

Rachel in Idaho said...

Man, Dave...ouch. My car is sitting awaiting a new battery, and that's painful enough. Luckily I live within what is for me easy walking distance of the bus, which drops me off almost at the door of work, and also goes quite near the grocery store. I hope whatever is wrong with Henry can be fixed quickly and easily and most importantly INEXPENSIVELY.

I am very careful, should it come up, to describe somebody as a wheelchair user. I don't know why this isn't more common, honestly. I mean, my mom and grandma aren't "confined" by their mobility devices (cane and walker, respectively); they let them get around more easily. Same goes for a chair, except often it is the difference between being able to get around anywhere much at all, even a home!

Dave Hingsburger said...

OK, well, it's gonna hurt. The repair guy came, a nice guy, and gave the chair a good going over. I need new batteries which cost over 500 dollars!!! There are other repairs too though he said the chair had been kept in really good condition. So somewhere out there there is an adding machine working up a sweat calculating the cost of my mobility. They will let us know in a day or two and then schedule the repairs. Yikes.