Q: Would a manual wheelchair be helpful on bad days, or does pushing yourself take the same energy as walking?
A: It depends. For short distances, like stores, a manual chair could be useful.
- You can sit in it when waiting in line, instead of standing
- You don't have to be fully vertical
- Scooting backwards in it, using your feet, does not take much energy, useful for browsing clothes
- People can 'see' there is something going on with you so they are more likely to help
- It takes arm stamina, which can be heavier than walking
- Hospital wheelchairs are mostly designed to be pushed in. There are other wheelchairs, made for manual users, which are ergonomically more designed to push yourself: light weight, different angles.
- You can use gloves which give you more grip
- Attachable hand bikes exist
- Attachable electric wheelchair propellors exist
- The more inflated the wheels are, the easier they ride
Tips for wheelchair pushers Edit
Give the person that pushes you very clear instructions. I've noticed that pushers keep an appropriate distance between the people around them and THEMSELVES. They forget that you're closer to other people than they are, and the amount of space there is between you and that person can be less than what you comfortably would choose if you were walking yourself. This goes for personal conversations (comfort zone) as well as distance between strangers so you won't bump into them (safety zone)
For safety zone: pushers always forget that you got two feet sticking out from the chair. When people suddenly break, they got you way too close to them and the chance of you bumping into their ankles will be quite high. This leads to you being overaware and anxious and these are unneccessary spoons.
The forgetting about the foot rests goes for making turns in stores as well, they will bump them into things. Not fun.
Also: they dont hear you well! Try using hand signals. You can yell: watch out! on the top of your lungs and they will still not hear you. Gives me a veeeeeeeeery uncomfortable feeling.
- Ask pushers to leave 1-2 meters more space than what they're used to.
- Tell pushers to be aware of the foot rests
- Invent hand signals together, so you can give instructions without having to yell.
- When standing still, they'll absendmindedly push you backward and forward out of boredom. Ask them not to do that, makes you sick.
- And when they suddenly want to change directions: ask them not to break instantly, this turns your stomach around. Lower speed, then turn in a broad circle.
Tips for using a wheelchair in public transport Edit
- Make sure you know beforehand which stops have elevators
- Sometimes there are designated carts or spots for wheelchairs, in Holland at least, so line up for the right cart and get in there
- Face the front of the cart, not the doors, otherwise you'll notice every time it breaks because you swing to the side.
- If possible, get out of the chair, sit in a normal seat and leaving the chair close to you in sight. Try storing it folded up so others can go around it easily. Normal seats don't move around that much and you'll be less disturbed by people moving through the cart.
- Avoid rush hour. It really sucks getting in, avoid those hours. People will be annoyed having to make room for you and you'll be at sniff height of someone's crotch.
- When youre crammed in, let people know two stops beforehand you're going out soon. When you have the energy: step out of the chair (IGNORE THE LOOKS!) so you more easily can manoeuvre it out yourself. Walk a few steps with it so others can get out too, don't stand in front of the entrance of the cart, and sit down at a more quiet place.
- Sometimes the breaks of your chair don't cover the speed in which the tube breaks, so make sure you can hold a pole or something if you decide sitting in it. Tipping over can also happen, which is another reason to face the front of the tube and not the doors.
- With electric chairs: getting inside a tube can sometimes involve having to cross a small gap or threshold. You need speed for this, which also means a longer breaking distance. Warn people to step back.
- People WILL touch your chair unrequested. Don't let them touch anything NEAR the control system, they WILL accidently pull a lever that causes you to go full speed. Give very specific instructions and always be aware of people helping you without warning or them explaining what they're doing.
- If your voice is not very loud, you WON'T be heard easily. You are not at the average public's height and mostly not facing them and there will be lots of background noise.
Other devices Edit
Shower chair / bath plank
Kitchen chair Long handled sponge
Barber shop sink (so others can help you wash your hair)
Walking sticks that can be converted into leaning chairs