A few months ago, I decided to buy a wheelchair. I spent the entirety of June, and July house bound from pain. Going out and doing any activity that required me to walk for longer than the length of a house caused searing burning pain in my feet that would take days to calm down. Towards the end of July when I went out I could barely make it home without sobbing. It wasn’t any way to live. And it some respects, I wasn’t living – I was in pure survival mode. I had cabin fever from seeing nothing more than my bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom, and my mental health took a downturn.
Deciding to get a wheelchair wasn’t easy was. I’ve had a walking stick since 16, in fact I’m on my 5th incarnation of walking sticks. The reason it was difficult choice for me was purely down to public perception. I was worried about using a mobility device that was more apparent, and I was worried I wasn’t ‘disabled enough’ to use a wheelchair.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t until I saw this excellent twitter thread by @CoffeeSpoonie that it hit me. I could get a wheelchair. A wheelchair is there to make life less difficult, to help with mobility, and to help me be more able. The notion that I wasn’t disabled enough to use a wheelchair comes from years upon years of withering stars, snide comments, and a lot of terrible media. If I decided it was time to get a wheelchair, then it was time to get a wheelchair. No matter what doctors, physiotherapists, or other people say, I know myself best, and I know what I need.
I’ve been using a wheelchair – or should I say I’ve been making the Gent push me around in the wheelchair, for a little over three months now. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in quite some time. By using a wheelchair I can leave the house at least twice week, sometimes four times a week, I can stay out for at least two hours and sometimes four on a good day. I have the option of going out without exhausting myself or breaking down daily from the pain I was in. My mental health is so much better, and I feel less locked in the house.
Of course, my body still has a way to go, and it’s not a cure all. Whilst I do still cry from the pain, it’s usually when it wakes me in the middle of the night, not because I’m pushing myself to do something I don’t need to push myself for. By using the wheelchair it takes me less time to recover, and I have more time to do bits of work, and visit the shops to buy all the comfort food – much to the Gent’s dismay.
I’m grateful for my wheelchair, and I’m grateful for the greater accessibility it offers.
If you think an accessibility device might help you in any way, give some thought to it.