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Thread: Transition from Manual to Powerchair

  1. #11
    I'm almost 60 and have no shoulder pain after 40 years in a manual. I have a Permobil C600 ready in the garage for the inevitable day.

  2. #12
    After 10 years of manual chair mobility, both shoulders started telling me to re-think my options. I know that there's an image factored in for pushing a manual chair, less "gimpy." In addition, manual chairs are designed for the "cool look" too.

    Powerchairs do not convey either one; however, using a powerchair as my main mobility device, I can pack more into my day of "doings and goings." My decision was rooted based on my lifestyle, I live independently, and manual use indoors required additional physical effort, manuevering angles to sqaure off positions of chair to do anything (strain on wrists), with a powerchair the joystick steering makes all transitions smoother lessening physical stress on my upper body.

    Exercise and powerchairs? For me, covering distance and travelling on hard terrains (uneven pavement) you feel all bumps underneath, this awareness engaged my trunk more, which strenghtens my core muscles and back.

    The "cool factor" of a powerchair for me is, "its faster, my AB buddies literally have to sprint or walk faster alongside." Once at my local grocery store with a basket on my lap cruising the aisles I heard this PA announcement, "please slow down!" Now that to me says, "am on the go with a mission to accomplish." Cool eh?

    Public transit and powerchair, LOVE IT. I ride a commuter train to San Francisco at least twice a week, best way to educate the public, by being public as I navigate the streets of San Francisco. No hassles in hunting for a parking space, AND with NO footprint emmision (yeah I know) but hey this is a conscious decision of being "green." Powerchair gives me the freedom to get out and stay out longer because my shoulders aren't in pain, and sleep better at rest.

    Lastly, when I asked my doctor what is the estimated time for rotator cuff surgery, his answer was, "six months and would be done one shoulder at a time when the first one heals." That was enough to know what my option was.

    My manual chair is my spare, and when I've used this option, I know I will be taking pain meds before I go to sleep.

    Happy trails, cool today is how you sport your day knowing you've accomplished something, even if its just cruising on the sidewalks of your neighborhood. Not something I'd do with my manual chair, conserving physical exertion for the rest of the day.

    best of times...LizZenU

  3. #13
    Lastly, when I asked my doctor what is the estimated time for rotator cuff surgery, his answer was, "six months and would be done one shoulder at a time when the first one heals." That was enough to know what my option was.


    *** correction..

    Lastly, when I asked my doctor what is the estimated revocery and rehab from a rotator cuff surgery, his answer was, "six months at least for one shoulder, and wait how well that heals before surgery on the other."

  4. #14
    Thank you so much to everyone for the input! It is helping me think about this decision differently.

    I have to admit that a lot of what has kept me from choosing a powerchair is image. Both that my manual chair makes me look less disabled (maybe) and that it is small, sporty and "somewhat cool" looking - I have issues with trunk balance, arm and hand function so I need some of the not so cool adaptations.

    I'm relatively young (in my 30's), married with a young daughter that I barely keep up with, smile. Maybe this is a reason in itself to get a powerchair or possibly a power add on?

    For those that have used a powerchair on public transit have you ever been stuck somewhere due to a bus ramp not working or an elevator that is used to get to a train platform being down? This has happened to me quiet a bit. Usually, someone is willing to help me (I am fairly light as is my chair) but I suspect this scenario would be very different with a powerchair invovled! If this has happened to you how did you handle it?

    Also, with a powerchair would one typically use the same seat width and depth as their manual chair?

  5. #15
    I tried to post a reply yesterday but I think the forum ate my reply Thank you so much for all the input. It has helped me to think about the transition in different ways and also understand that there are other options as well. I like the idea of a power add on but with the system being so new I am curious as to how insurance companies will view it?

    My biggest issue with transitioning to a powerchair is image. I am concerned about looking more disabled and that most powerchairs are big and bulky. However, I have issues with trunk control and have impairment in all limbs. My current chair set up has made in easier for me to maintain sitting balance for longer periods of time but hard to attempt even the slightest inclines.

    Does anyone have experience with the somewhat new M14/M15 E-Motion wheels? I see a lot of used pairs being sold so I am wondering if they are a viable option?

  6. #16
    No matter how 'cool' a manual chair may look, if you can't manage it well - can't push or sit straight, have wonky balance, etc. etc., and are otherwise not very functional being in it, you really just look like a (helpless) cripple sitting in a 'cool' chair. Nothing more. You can just stay sitting in that cool chair hoping for some of that coolness to rub off on you, but I bet you have much better and important things to do with your day.

    What are some of those things that a power chair will enable you to do better, faster, and more of, than a manual? Getting around town, shopping, and most importantly, taking care of and playing with your kid, are just a few of the things I can think of off the top of my head based on your posts. Being more active and involved, and essentially, being a much more 'Able' bodied and functional person who is doing all these things in a physically stronger and independent way - well, I wonder what kind of image that reflects on you. What do you think?



    As others have said, it doesn't have to be an either or. A power chair (or power-assist) is much more expensive, and given the eval and recommendation, it will likely be covered by insurance as a medical necessity. So take the opportunity to get one fitted to meet your needs, one which you like and feel comfy in. You already have your 'cool' chair. No one is taking that away. Use both chairs as needed. There's no reason you can't preserve your body image in more ways than one.
    Last edited by chick; 04-21-2012 at 02:29 PM.

  7. #17
    Amen to what "Chick" said above!! I second that. To answer your question about getting stuck-here's my stuck story. At new Comfort Inn right by airport in my p222. 3 hrs before flight asked front desk to get me transport (accessible) to airport close by. Was told it would take 90 minutes or more to arrange! Would have missued our flight home so...
    I asked them to bring the Comfort Inn van around. I level-transferred to the floor of the van. 2 other people lifted my power chair up into the back section where the luggage would normally go. (P222 is lighter than most other power chairs). We reversed what we did once at the airport. Its not a perfect world but there is always a "work-around" plan! So to answer your question, yes you can lift it if you are not in it. Have I been stuck on a bus/van due to lift-no.

    Hope this helps!
    Engineermom2

  8. #18
    PS if someone can tell me how to post a picture, I'll be glad to show you a picture of my power chair!

  9. #19
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by engineermom2 View Post
    PS if someone can tell me how to post a picture, I'll be glad to show you a picture of my power chair!
    If you click "Post Reply" or "Quote" under a message rather than using the Quick Reply field at the bottom, you get a reply field that has a lot more format buttons above it. One of them is the paper clip for adding attachments. If you click that, you get a pop-up window (you might have to make sure your browser allows popups) that allows you to select a picture file on your computer to upload and insert into your message. Be sure to pay attention to the filesize and picture size limits in the Attachment Key. If your picture is too large, you'll need to resize it first. Once the file is uploded, you click on the the paper clip again and select the file to include it into your message.

    If the picture is already on a sharing website like Flicker, you can click the yellow square button of a mountain and sun. This allows you to insert the web address of the photo.
    Last edited by Kulea; 04-22-2012 at 02:47 AM.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  10. #20

    My new P222SE

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulea View Post
    If you click "Post Reply" or "Quote" under a message rather than using the Quick Reply field at the bottom, you get a reply field that has a lot more format buttons above it. One of them is the paper clip for adding attachments. If you click that, you get a pop-up window (you might have to make sure your browser allows popups) that allows you to select a picture file on your computer to upload and insert into your message. Be sure to pay attention to the filesize and picture size limits in the Attachment Key. If your picture is too large, you'll need to resize it first. Once the file is uploded, you click on the the paper clip again and select the file to include it into your message.

    If the picture is already on a sharing website like Flicker, you can click the yellow square button of a mountain and sun. This allows you to insert the web address of the photo.
    Here is a picture of my new P222SE!
    WheelzRus

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