Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Baby's Sick

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!


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of driving a standard car and stalling it in the middle of an intersection. Bringing a busy intersection to a stop. After several attempts I get the car moving as my face is beat red and my hands are sweating.
Merry Christmas Dave and Joe!! Here's hoping your chair makes it til the doctor arrives.

ABEhrhardt said...

I'm sorry you felt panic - normal when caught like that - but sorrier that you felt shame.

You are not inadequate as a human - you had a glitch. People have glitches.

Did even one of those inconvenienced people ask if you needed a bit of help? Stop to hold the door? If you had been a mother with a stroller malfunction, they would have been helpful and sympathetic (and felt good about themselves for it).

That feeling - that we are taking up more than our share of the world - has got to go. Do you think the rich guy with the chauffeur-driven limo even thinks he is taking up more than HIS share of the world when his car blocks traffic?

You take up as much space in the world as the good Lord causes you to need.

PS I hope chair is not too sick. And I hope 'they don't make these any more' is because they are making better ones (not likely from your tone). They should be!

Mary said...

Oh, what a horror. I get what you're saying, I think. When my wheels have a little tantrum I don't feel desperately scared in the sense of "how am I going to get home" because I know there are varying degrees of backup I can call upon and that I will pretty much certainly be safe in my own bed by night time. But I feel incredibly uneasy about how, for the next twenty minutes, I'm going to get out of the way, out of the hostility. How much scraping and explaining I'm going to have to do, how much "concern" I'm going to have to absorb, how many "helpers" I will have to persuade to stop interfering because what they're trying to do is in fact going to make the problem worse...

And then, when it's fixed, and I've taken it 50 metres up and down the road outside my house with someone walking right alongside, there's still that terrible queasiness the next time I go Properly Out, in case it's the 55th metre that's going to re-invoke the problem. Ugh.

Good luck!

children's advocacy project said...

So Dave! My daughter, Brianna, was in a film that just won the Dotie S award at the 2015 international Picture This Disability Film Festival in Calgary Canada!
We are raising money to get there from the states. Any chance we will meet you at the gala dinner or the festival come March? Here she is: http://bit.ly/NVAdvocate

wheeliecrone said...

Oh, Dave! I have had similar experiences with my chair - not my current (new) one, but my previous one.

The worst time for me was in the middle of the supermarket. And trying to explain where the reset button is (does your chair have a reset button? Does it help? Mine never did.).

I hope that the chair doctor is able to resuscitate your chair so that you can travel merrily through Christmas and into a happy and successful 2015!

Laura said...

That is the worst. When my scooter started to show age. It started to just drain power randomly just like that. I was kind of afraid to leave my house. Because just like yours it was random and totally unable to be recreated. I also had the repair guy come out twice, but after awhile I couldn't stand the stress and I gave in and bought a new one. I hope yours is still fixable. For me it was kind of like having my car go in the shop. I don't drive but I imagine that's what it must feel like. People thought this was all very amusing until I said to to them oh really you think this amusing?? Lets pretend it's your car. That got the point across fast :D