Ok, so two op’s down, and one to go.
Friday the 16th at 1pm is the time, and they’re very punctual here.
So, today was a bit of a shock.
I went out, in the afternoon, with a lovely lady called Eva ( Pia’s Mum, in fact )
Having had my wheelchair adjusted fairly majorly by my incredibly helpful buddy, Rob Stainsby, under, if you like, my supervision, it being myself that knows what’s wrong with the chair now, and how I imagine it should feel when I’m in it ( God, long sentence already ) I today tried it out, albeit with Eva actually doing the pushing.
We went outside, and she bought me a 99 ( with flake ) as have a number of people before her – do like ice cream ( not gonna lie )
It dawned on me that, despite me still not having the correct adjustments, that I am now so incredibly fixed in one position, that there is so much more that I cannot do. I fear that I’m going to need help with lots more things than I did before.
I have, for example, a wheelchair bag that dangles underneath my chair, that I lean forward to access with my right hand.
We went into a shop and I wanted to buy something. I tried to lean forward and reach it with my hand, and realised that I couldn’t touch it. Neither could I reach the bag that is behind me, on the back of my chair.
Yes, I hear you say, but you can put the bag in a different place! Yes that’s indeed true, but the facts remain that now I no longer have a back that flexes ( at all ) means that twisting my body is no longer possible ( at all ).
That makes all sorts of things nigh on impossible – as in even bloody more impossible than they were already. Having watched the Paralympics, I would now not be able to do anything other than archery or shooting.
That’s a pretty depressing thought, isn’t it? All the crap I’ve gone through, and I end up worse off … PLUS my spasms have NOT gone – though they may yet after Friday’s operation.
So now I’m a bit f******. They can’t take it out, because I needed it done, or I did eventually, for sure, or I’d be at 45 degrees after a few more years, but I’m overall worse off than I was.
To my own surprise, I didn’t just break down, having just met a guy called Keith Pritchard, who was also paralysed.
A fellow South Walian bloke, like me, poor Keith had developed Multiple Sclerosis twenty five years ago. MS is a horrible condition that is often so progressive to the point where you really can’t do anything at all, and you die of one complication, or another.MS is something that any one of us can just wake up with, male or female. I could even get it as well as being paralysed already – now there’s a thought. Keith, who did give me his permission to write about him, was now in a situation where he wouldn’t be able to self propel a chair so either needed a pusher or a power (electric) chair. He’s been like that for quite a while, so he bought something called an iBot, for 23k, in 2002.
It’s not the first time at all that I’ve seen pictures, or film clips, of an iBot, but I knew that they’d gone out of production, as basically they couldn’t sell enough to make it viable.
I have to say, that it’s one thing seeing a video, but it’s altogether different seeing one in action. Keith just happened to be coming in my direction, floating on only 2 wheels, so I stopped him to chat about him and his ‘chair’.
Being Welsh, he was a lovely guy…. and with a very quiet voice due to his lack of lung power, through MS induced paralysis of his diaphragm.
I asked him to demo his iBot to me, as in to do a few tricks. I have to say that I was amazed. It can go up, onto 2 wheels, and then go up further still ( but still move along ) with the rider being 6 foot tall.
It spins around on the spot, and can travel at 5mph on two wheels, and 10mph on four wheels. It’s impossible for it to tip over, as is totally self balancing whatever the terrain. You could rush up and give him a shove, and rather than it fall over, it senses you immediately so that it feels you’ve run headlong into a brick wall. Incredibly it can go up a flight of 22 steps, with no danger of tipping over (okay, so the loft and and spiral staircases are still out, but they are already, so that’s cool).
The good news is that I knew that Toyota, as in the car maker, had teamed up with the original inventor, and had already announced that they’d be bringing it back, but with the benefit of endless funds and a decade or more of tech progress.
Click the link to have a read
In the wheelchair community, there’s an etiquette thing, that you only have an electric chair if you can’t propel your own with your arms. Now that I have lost all spine flexibility, it drastically reduces the amount of power that I can put into a push on my wheel rims.
Also, I don’t give a flying f*** about the ‘rules’, as well as the fact that I don’t think anybody that has ever met me would call me lazy.
I think that this thing is my future.
I video’d Keith, in his iBot.
Click that link too.
I have asked my surgeon if this is how it’s going to be, and he said that I’ll get used to it… so I asked him if that meant some flex would return. He said no, and that he and his guys had deliberated about me and what to do, but that they had no choice.
So that, is definitely that.