I could use this.
Category Archives: Equipment
This article describes how a disabled woman had to crowdfund her wheelchair because: “She was offered a standard NHS-issue wheelchair – but at 20kg (3st 2lb) it would have been too heavy for her and potentially dangerous, given her condition.”
This is not accurate, and it does a disservice to people who are struggling with the NHS and the NHS itself. I know that this information is inaccurate because I am in my third NHS-provided chair, and it weighs 14.2kg. The NHS has been under tremendous pressure to meet targets while their funding has been drastically cut, but an Action3 is still within the accepted category for NHS issue. It’s not a fancy basketball chair, but it’s sturdy and relatively comfortable and it’s a perfect chair for urban and some rural rolling as well. And they are affordable, even for a cash-strapped NHS. Last time I checked the were selling for just over £500.00
I live in East London where not all kerbs are ramped and some of the surfaces can be pretty rugged, and I get around just fine in my NHS chair.
I can understand complaining about some of the hoops we have to jump through as disabled citizens, but it does a disservice to this story to have gotten the facts wrong or to have exaggerated.
Of course I could be wrong, and maybe the NHS has tightened up the criteria as to what qualifies as an acceptable chair since I got my last chair from them
Up to 500 disabled people every week have had to give back the vehicles that help them stay independent because of a new tough benefits rule.
The Government “Motability” scheme allows disabled people to lease mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and cars.
But every week, between 400 and 500 people are forced to hand over their vehicles after a controversial “20-metre rule” was introduced, according to a report by a leading charity.
And yeah, it takes courage.
I am not in total agreement with everything presented in this video (for example, i am a strong proponent of foam tires, no matter where you are), but if you have just recently been put into the world where wheelchair choice is an important thing, then the lovely, lighthearted way in which this issue is presented by Mary Allison Cook in the video is really valuable.
Could be a good product for more peace of mind when travelling with your wheelchair: Airshells
There is an article about it here.
“Airshells specializes in the safe handling of fragile baggage such as wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. Airshells was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2005 by Kim Christensen, himself a former airport luggage handler. Located at some 75 European and 250 American airports, Airshells products are easily rented online at www.airshells.us. Follow Airshells on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Airshells”
Please let us know if have of you have had experience of using this product.
For me, and I think many wheelchair travelers, one of the most stressful aspects of air travel is having to lose contact with your wheelchair for the duration of the light (at least), and to trust that the people in charge of these things will actually put it on the plane in order that it be there when you arrive at your destination.
I know that the personnel involved take it very seriously, but when it’s all said and done, the wheelchair goes in with the rest of the luggage, and luggage does get lost. It’s not just me that worries about this. Helen also feels the same anxiety, and she almost always asks the ground crew to “Please make sure this goes on the plane.”
It would be an absolute catastrophe—probably a holiday-wrecker—if my wheelchair were to get lost in transit.
To put a perspective for any able-bodied readers of this blog on how stressful it is to trust airline personnel with a wheelchair, try to imagine how it would feel if you were to have to surrender your legs at the door of the plane and trust that they would be there for you when you arrive at your destination.
My wheelchair is my legs.
I have gotten better about dealing with this stress, and I have become increasingly confident in knowledge that the airline staff will put my chair in the hold, but there is still a moment of gut-wrenching stress when I transfer into the aisle chair that will get me onto the plane and see my “legs” for the last time for the duration of the flight. I don’t obsess as badly now as I used to, but there is still always the niggling fear in the back of my mind (especially when we get to our destination and there is any delay whatsoever in retrieving my chair) that something will have distracted the person responsible for putting my chair in the cargo hold, or that it will somehow have been otherwise impeded and will not have been put on the plane.
This is a statement that I fear above almost any other when we are on Holiday, “Oh, we’re really sorry, sir, but it would appear that your wheelchair was never put on the plane and is still in London.”
Thankfully, this has never happened (*knock wood*), but it still causes me a lot of anxiety in that period of time between surrender of chair and retrieval of chair.
I think a big part of it is that I never see them actually put my chair on the plane. I would seriously, happily, pay the airline an extra fiver if they would have whoever loads my chair on the plane take a photo of it in the hold with their phone and then come show me the picture so I could relax in confidence that my chair was actually on the plane with me.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s better if I don’t know what’s actually happening with my chair once I give it up to the ground crew.
I found this out the hard way when Helen and I first flew to Copenhagen in 2005.
I took photos from the departure lounge as the luggage handlers drove up to the conveyor belt with my chair in their trailer. Here they are…
Thankfully, even though I was called to board before I ever saw my chair make it onto the plane, it was loaded and was ready for me when we got to Denmark. Even so, I will never forget the fear I felt as i watched the luggage handlers drive off and leave my chair sitting on the tarmac.
I guess it’s better if we don’t see everything that happens, sometimes.