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.