After lamenting a bit about wheelchairs and having to get one, ZOMG WHERE WOULD I FIND ONE, etc., Farmgirl recommended Harbor Freight.
As far as I was concerned, Harbor Freight was a hardware store, so I was skeptical, but I looked online, and lo and behold, they have one wheelchair style, standard-sized, and there was a possibility that they carried them in-store where I am. The issue was just getting there with someone and getting it…as well as being able to afford it (even though, yes, it’s “only” $120 – and given that I know someone with a $4,000 custom wheelchair, $120 is a drop in the bucket, in comparison, especially since this is temporary).
I’m going to spend the next 90 days making absolutely certain it works out for me…after that, I can’t return it.
I used it for 3 hours last night (yes, I spent most of that time pushing myself around, hence the gloves, which I had for…wait for it…lifting hand weights), and here are some issues, some of which may correct themselves as I get used to the chair, others which will need correcting, later:
- My arms either graze over or hit the handles on the back whenever I maneuver. I have long arms, yes, but damn. This is going to have to be adjusted by my, uh, pushing technique, I guess? But when I sit up straight…well…my arms go over the back. I dunno. We’ll see.
- My right hip HATES THE SEAT. It’s basically an ass-hammock made of vinyl – I need to find a way to pad/strengthen the bottom, but since it’s a fold-up chair, that may prove difficult. I got a seat pad (with a cutout for my tailbone, since sitting too long actually makes THAT hurt), but it doesn’t appear to have done much, and it’s in danger of falling out the back, so I foresee some velcro stickers in the future (after the warranty, of course…until then, I’ll just make sure the pad is settled as much as possible before doing anything, I suppose). I also would like a pad to be able to lift me up just a bit, so that the aforementioned arm problem isn’t as much of an issue…so I’ll be looking into thicker, more solid pads, as well.
- I broke two nails on the spokes. Tragedy, I know…but I need spoke covers, and I can’t seem to find any that aren’t at least $90 (and that’s just for plain, plastic ones – I’m veto-ing foam because they tend to wrap around the outside of the rail, and that just seems really unsafe, to me). My concern is that I’m either going to rip a nail completely off, or one of my fingers is going to be caught. I “palm” the rails as much as possible, but when you’re slowing down or stopping, you kind of HAVE to wrap your hands around the rail, and that’s where the two accidents happened.
- I need lumbar support. My back hurts, because due to the ass-hammock design, my body’s natural inclination is to slump. Nope, nope, nope. Fixing that ASAP.
Honestly, other than that…I mean…I spent 3 hours out and about yesterday evening. I haven’t done that in a LONG time. It felt really good. I’m not even pissy about not having an handicapped placard or anything, because I have wheels. The major concern I have is crossing intersections in parking lots (people in Memphis SUCK at pedestrian awareness…and I was nearly hit by a giant pick-up that swung around a corner with no warning, because the driver literally couldn’t see me), but 9 times out of 10, someone will be with me, so if I need help, I’ll have it.
I also have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary. It’s due to treatment. I will be able to walk on my own again, soon. I just need a bit of help, right now.
Also? My arms are going to be freakin’ BUFF. Good lord.