Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

The Problem with Power Chairs is They Require Power

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 11:08 pm on Saturday, August 23, 2008

After waiting several weeks to get my outside scooter in for servicing yet again, it was finally picked up on Friday morning. Being the second to last weekend of the summer, the timing sucks. I’m stuck inside, literally. But, considering Darrell and I are off to Las Vegas in mid-September for BlogWorld, I want to be sure the chair is in good working order, so I’m content with the inconvenience.

However, with my outside scooter went my only functioning battery charger. I tried the other one again this afternoon to no avail. I suspect a wire is broken or loose in the plug. No matter how I wiggled the cord, I couldn’t get a connection. With my old Amigo scooter, an elastic band from the brake handle to the charger plug did the trick. No such luck with this charger.

This means I have a chair, but no way to charge it! And the batteries are dying quickly; they require replacing but that is another story. I have been sitting at my desk all afternoon and evening to reduce battery usage – it is one way of getting out of doing housework!

I suspect my other chair will be returned Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. And, I figure I have one more trip left from my desk to the bedroom and ensuite.

Eventually the batteries will be totally dead. The question is: where do I want to be stuck? At my desk where I can get work done? Or in the bathroom for when nature calls?

I can physically push this scooter from my desk to the bathroom once or twice, but not umpteen times a day. Or, I can drag out my juvenile-sized manual wheelchair and try squeezing my middle-aged bootie into it. Or, I can spend Sunday, the day of rest, in bed and finish reading the August issue of O Magazine in August!

What do I do?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Terry Green

August 24, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

It’s probably too late in the day to give my opinion, but I vote for the bed and reading a magazine. My daughter’s wheelchair battery charger sucks … the company that services her chair gave us a really crappy one, and I truly believe it sucks the life out of the battery if you leave it plugged in. It’s a real pia to push a 350lb chair around with a 110lb body in it when the battery is dead. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to replace it, but I know we’ve exceeded our limit. We have a Barton’s chair that will open up and lay flat, so we can put it next to Kelly’s bed and pull her over into it by grabbing the bottom sheet – and then sit it back up and tilt it. It’s easier to get her in (she’s quadriplegic so she’s not able to help with the transfer), and while it’s a bit squirrelly because it has small wheels, it is very lightweight and easy to push. We’re waiting to get a seating assessment for a new chair for her … one that actually fits her and is set up so she can drive it herself without a lot of trouble or effort.

Comment by Amy Stewart

August 24, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

Wow, Glenda– I love reading your posts because they really make you think of so many things that wouldn’t normally cross my mind.

At Rice University where I went to college, all architecture students were required to spend a week in a wheelchair to fully appreciate the needs of the disabled. I think every student would benefit from seeing what life is like when you’re totally dependent on your wheelchair.

When my wheelchair-bound grandmother comes to visit, I realize how poorly designed so many things are, including antiquated wheelchairs. We ended up buying an ultra-lightweight model so we could hoist that mofo into the trunk of the car without killing ourselves. I also basically boycott restaurants that make narrow aisles, too many steps or poorly designed restrooms.

At our daughter’s graduation, I saw one student with the coolest automated wheelchair that could go up stairs, and could “stand” up so that you are at head height with everyone else. I even took a video of it– brilliant feat of engineering.

Your daily struggles with things like where you will be when your power runs out really makes me put my own life into perspective. Keep up the one-thumbed posting and enjoy the blog conference!

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 10:10 am

Terry, I did end up spending yesterday afternoon and evening in bed, reading O Magazine and watching the closing ceremonies and then a movie about John Denver. Darrell even brought me supper in bed. It was a nice break, but definitely long enough. I hope you find a suitable chair for your daughter soon. Some chairs are great, but some downright suck!

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 10:16 am

Amy, that’s great that architecture students had that learning experience. I bet it was an eye opener, in term of physical access. Did they do similar simulations for other disability sets?

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 10:25 am

Update: Monday 10:15am – Darrell called the service department to see about getting a new charger. Yes, they have one and will drop it off with my outside scooter. Great. The bad news: the mechanic hasn’t even looked at the Orion scooter yet! I’ve been without it and the charger since Friday morning for nothing! I won’t get it back until tomorrow, at the earliest!

My inside chair is essentially dead, so I will need to drag out my manual chair and squeeze into it. I have no choice.

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 11:25 am

Update: 11:15am – our techie friend Paul is coming by this afternoon with new batteries and a replacement part to attempt repairing existing charger. Yeah! I may not need to squeeze into the manual chair after all.

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

Update: 3:30pm – Paul called. He has been to several places for the part and batteries, but none are open. They’re all doing inventory before the long weekend. WTF?

So, I’ve folded myself into manual wheelchair – the one I’ve had since elementary school. Very uncomfortable. And very low, so I’m needing to lift up my arm to type. Feels like my arm is about to fall off. Me thinks it is time to go do some reading offline. Working like this ain’t going to work.

Comment by Karen Putz / DeafMom

August 25, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

ah, what John Denver movie did you watch?

Comment by Glenda

August 25, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

Karen, it was his life story. I thought of you while watching it!

Comment by Glenda

August 26, 2008 @ 11:58 am

Update: Tuesday 11:30 am – Orion scooter and two chargers were delivered a short time ago. I’m charging my inside scooter while I type. Things are back to normal, chair-wise. Whew!

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