Friday, April 27, 2018


First I was filled with anticipation.

Now I'm full of fear.

First I was eager.

Now, not so much.

My new chair arrives on Monday in the late afternoon. We've gone through a lengthy process trying to get exactly the right fit, exactly the right wheels, exactly the right height. Measurements were taken and tryouts were had. Finally, the colour was picked and then, the chair was ordered and went under construction. This brand builds each wheelchair from the specifications given. They had been given.

It has been a long road, over a year and a half, to get to this point. And now it's here. I'm not sure now if I should have done this at all. True, my present wheelchair (I can't even used the words 'my old chair') is in really rough shape. True, after sitting for a day in it I experience pain. True. True. True.


There's always a 'but.'

But my present chair has carried me around the world. It's gotten on and off airplanes, in and out of trucks and back seats, its waited for me outside airplane and rental car doors. It's sturdy. It's tough. And it's proven it can carry me anywhere I want to go. I trust it.

I trust it.

And it's a trust that's been earned. Even when I put the chair under extreme stress, it holds me, it rolls forward when I push it up steep ramps. We've been through breakdowns, of course, I don't know how many foot rests I've gone through, or how many times the brakes have needed adjustment, but that's minor stuff. The major stuff? It carries me without complaint.

This new chair is carbon fiber. They say it's really strong.

It's really light. Impossibly light.

I will be the first person to ever have rolled in this new chair, it's freshly made, paint barely dry. How do I know I won't be in some far flung place when the chair collapses? How do I know I'll make it home?

I wonder how I can explain to someone who's never used a wheelchair what the relationship is between my body, my very self, and the wheelchair I sit in?

But come Monday, I will have a new chair.

And a new relationship to build.


clairesmum said...

Even though your logical mind accepted the need for a new chair at some point along the 1.5 year process of receiving one. now that the time is here, it is a scary that needs to happen and is terrifying at the same time.....
hoping all goes well when you and your next chair are getting to know each other.

ABEhrhardt said...

You're going to find out how strong carbon fibers are. And the strength you've built up is going to feel doubled.

I'm sure you've asked the makers every possible question about strength and durability - or you wouldn't have proceeded.

Your old chair has faithfully performed its duties: let it retire.

Dreamtime8 said...

Perhaps you could think about it from the view of those who are making your chair:

"Did we make it the best we could?"

"Did we get the measurements exactly right?"

"Is the color the right shade he asked for?"

"Did we tighten all the bolts correctly?"

"Is he going to like it?"

I'd like to think that those who make wheelchairs know the importance of such an item and would be just as concerned that it works right for you.

Ron Arnold said...

You've got an intimate relationship with your mobility device. You've relied on it and it's rarely disappointed you. Trepidation would certainly be expected!

I ride bicycles a lot. In nicer weather they're my primary form of transportation to / from work. (About 8 miles one way.) My older bikes had been made of aluminum frames. An acquaintance actually GAVE me a carbon fiber bike they didn't want to use anymore. There is no comparison in terms of weight and strength. It's a great bike - and I FLY on the thing! You know what though? I still ride the aluminum ones on occasion - just cuz I like 'em. We have a relationship. =)

I hope your new chair surpasses your expectations and meets your every need with flying colors!