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Thread: basic wheelchair questions

  1. #1

    basic wheelchair questions

    Hi, in July of this year, I was using a pickaxe to build a trail and accidentally hit myself with the sharp end, full force. It severed the main nerve that runs down the leg, and I developed mild CRPS (a nerve pain condition), type II and nerve injury.

    I am able to walk with an afo and crutches, and it is possible that I will regain full function without pain. Meanwhile, I regularly have to walk distances up to 3 miles or be forced to sit in my house doing nothing. Right now I spend a lot of time sitting in my house, and I would like to be mobile again.

    I am considering buying a wheelchair, but since it probably won't be for permanent use, I'm not sure that i'm willing to fork over thousands, and I don't think my insurance would pay for one of the nice chairs you guys have. What do you suggest?

    I am considering going with one of those $400-500 'lightweight' chairs that weigh like 30 lbs. Unfortunately, im not very strong, and there are a lot of hills in my future. I have looked on ebay and found a few ultralightweight chairs for fairly cheap, but I don't know my measurements.

    I'm 5'8'', 135 lbs, and my widest part is my hips. (I'm a girl). The chair does not need to be a perfect fit, just relatively comfortable. My options are for width: 12''-18'' and for depth 12''-18''. What, on average, do you think is a good range?

    Finally, my parents have flipped a sh** with this whole "me being injured" thing. My dad thinks im going to develop full fledged CRPS at any moment (pain throughout the body leading to no function in any limb, but tons of pain. Think quad but every time you touch them, they scream in pain.) My mom is embarrased to be seen in public with me on my crutches. I borrowed a chair from a friend once for a weekend, (not a permanent option) and was wheeling it around the house. She freaked out because it apparently makes me 'too crippled' to be in a chair. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by yochana8 View Post
    Finally, my parents have flipped a sh** with this whole "me being injured" thing. My dad thinks im going to develop full fledged CRPS at any moment (pain throughout the body leading to no function in any limb, but tons of pain. Think quad but every time you touch them, they scream in pain.) My mom is embarrased to be seen in public with me on my crutches. I borrowed a chair from a friend once for a weekend, (not a permanent option) and was wheeling it around the house. She freaked out because it apparently makes me 'too crippled' to be in a chair. Any advice?
    A wheelchair is just a tool, like a good pair of hiking boots or gloves. If using one helps improve your quality of life, use one.
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by yochana8 View Post
    Hi, in July of this year, I was using a pickaxe to build a trail and accidentally hit myself with the sharp end, full force. It severed the main nerve that runs down the leg, and I developed mild CRPS (a nerve pain condition), type II and nerve injury.
    bummer

    Quote Originally Posted by yochana8 View Post
    I am able to walk with an afo and crutches, and it is possible that I will regain full function without pain. Meanwhile, I regularly have to walk distances up to 3 miles or be forced to sit in my house doing nothing. Right now I spend a lot of time sitting in my house, and I would like to be mobile again.

    I am considering buying a wheelchair, but since it probably won't be for permanent use, I'm not sure that i'm willing to fork over thousands, and I don't think my insurance would pay for one of the nice chairs you guys have. What do you suggest?

    I am considering going with one of those $400-500 'lightweight' chairs that weigh like 30 lbs. Unfortunately, im not very strong, and there are a lot of hills in my future. I have looked on ebay and found a few ultralightweight chairs for fairly cheap, but I don't know my measurements.
    Here's an intro to wheelchairs I wrote earlier. I hope it will explain the difference between a $400-500 chair and a $2000-3000 ultralight.

    Quote Originally Posted by yochana8 View Post
    I'm 5'8'', 135 lbs, and my widest part is my hips. (I'm a girl). The chair does not need to be a perfect fit, just relatively comfortable. My options are for width: 12''-18'' and for depth 12''-18''. What, on average, do you think is a good range?
    Determining your measurements is a process, not difficult, but a process. I will look for a good post about it, and post the link.
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  4. #4
    Here's the measuring post I was thinking of. It's aimed at measuring someone for an ultralight chair. This post contains a link to a more detailed post.

    The $400-500 chairs have no adjustability, are available in only a few off-the-shelf sizes, but have no lead time (unlike ultralights, which are custom made to fit the end user and typically take 2-6 months to obtain - unless you buy one that's already been made for someone else who's about your size).
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  5. #5
    First, were you working for someone building trail? Then they are responsible for your care expenses. Workmen's comp or lawyer if needed.
    Do either of your parents wear glasses? If so, ask them the difference in that and the tools you use. Just don't make it a fight. Its tough for folks to see a problem with you they can't fix, like a skinned knee.
    Decorate your crutches, to help you mom get over her problem.

  6. #6
    Sorry to hear about your leg.... I've been in the business for 12 years. The most important thing is attitude. You can say "oh sh**, woe is me, I have to use a chair". Or you can say "thank God I get to use a chair and become more mobile".

    My $.02 Dealers and manufactures have "demos". They are custom chairs that are made to show people their product. They use them for 1-2 years then sell them for deep discounts. It is not uncommon to see them go for $500. Go through the post on "measuring" and come up with a size that works for you. (based on you height and weight, I think a 16x16 would be good, and that is a common size for demos) Also, decide folding or rigid. Then go hunting...... ebay, craigslist, this forum and your local rehab dealers.

    Good luck!!

  7. #7
    I am fairly new to wheelchairs only used one for 3 years but i have learnt a LOT over this time. if it is possible to get a proper OT assessment done i would do it. Because even though its not for use all the time you want to be comfortable. if you aren't very strong, pushing a chair may not be that easy (i know cos i have this problem myself) but there are somethings like for eg where your hands/arms are positioned and stuff like that that make a difference to how easy it is to push a chair.

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