Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Simple Adjustment

Who'd a thunk it? I mean, I had no idea. It seems that the back of my wheelchair, the high, rigid back with support sides on it, can be turned upside down, making it a low-back instead of a high back. This very cool bit of technology design is extremely important for me. I just never realized it was so easy to do.

I recently got this rigid back for my wheelchair. It provides solid support for my failing back muscles as well as sideways support for my weakened core muscles. It makes me sit more firmly in my chair, reducing the strain on my back while ensuring I don't wobble unsteadily when moving about. The problem was that the back on the chair itself was too high.

The high back meant I could not lean backwards on a down-slope, or adjust into a sloped position when I wanted to go pee into my jug. The down-slope problem was dramatic; I literally toppled forward if I went down too steep a slope. If there was a bump or broken surface at the bottom of the slope, I would come to a sudden stop with the potential to throw me completely forward and out of my chair. Ask me how I know; I dare you.

The workaround for the last few weeks has been for me to take slopes either sideways or backwards, both of which created additional new problems for me. So I contacted Medichair, my supplier, asking if I could come in to get the back replaced. Jim, the salesperson, said he would come to my apartment but I was pretty sure we would be doing wholesale replacement of parts, so I insisted on coming in to the store.

I should have listened to Jim. About 15 minutes after arriving, he had simply reversed the chair back, something I could have easily done myself at home. He did have to adjust the seat clamps and make some final adjustments to the seat angle for balance, so there was something he could do, something he could have done on his way home from work. He drives right past my apartment.

It surprises me on occasion, just how much thought and engineering is put into the creation of some of these devices to make my life livable. I can understand why they are so expensive. It takes a lot to make them, while not a lot of people need them. I've ended up with a lower back chair which still provides sideways support, a chair which is safer on slopes, a chair in which I can slouch if I want. All it took was simple adjustment. I wish the rest of my life could be like that.

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