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Thread: Why are we getting sent home with a power chair??

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by fuentejps View Post
    at his level there is zero reason for a pc.
    Perhaps, but it really depends on what his life style is. I'm about the same level and use a power chair. I can get a lot more done in a day than if I used a manual.

  2. #22
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    Wow, I love you guys ! I am seriously estatic to have so much REAL LIFE input ! My husband is not a power chair kind of guy. He built our log house with his own two hands- cut the trees, milled the trees, stacked the trees. However, we do live in BFE, and I think for certain situations the PC might come in handy. Our yard is full of hills and holes, and when I look out the window I can't help but realize that even the biggest biceps are not going to push through this terrain. He "leveled " our yard himself with a tractor, and its.. not level I guess it only makes sense that if we can have a PC here - even if we only use it occasionally - why not just get it. We can always snag a manual and use that mainly.
    The facility he is in .. I'm not sure about how accredited it is. Healthsouth of Erie, PA

  3. #23
    Did your husband ever serve in the military by chance?


  4. #24
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    I am a C-6/7 incomplete, 30 years post injury. I was sent home with a hospital manual and an order for a PC. I could barely push the manual (with surgical tubing wrapped rims) anywhere but on level, smooth ground. I was a college student and had some difficulty until the PC came. Then, I could get all over campus, as well as wheel 3 miles each way to a pool (I didn't have a van then, and I added upgraded motors from the people who now make the Bounders to increase my speed beyond a slow walk). One day, after 3 years, the PC had a motor failure at a bad time (I rolled uncontrolled down my driveway and into a busy road and then into a ditch). The electronics of those chairs back then just weren't built well. Anyway, I lost faith in the PC and got what was considered a lightweight manual at the time. I started using that exclusively, but had to drive my van to anyplace with ANY kind of distance or slope (basically, I drove my van EVERYWHERE even if it was just a short distance away). But, I got stronger pushing the manual and could eventually handle some long slopes and distances (with rest stops). Those pushes were workouts, as opposed to the ease they would have been with the PC, but I persisted. Part of it was that I felt that since I could do it I should, that I felt that I was perceived to be less disabled, and that I was starting a career as a high school teacher and wanted to seem tough and courageous to my students. The school was on a nasty hill (about a 30 foot drop) that I had to push at least once a day to get from my classroom to the office/Xerox room, often with a box full of copies on my lap. I felt good about myself and lived alone, completely independently, without aides.

    Then, after 6, or so, years of this, I started getting shoulder pain. That not only affected my ability to push that slope, I was having great difficulty with transfers and independent living. The Ortho basically said that if I didn't stop pushing, I would destroy my shoulder completely. That would mean no transfers, and having to have aides for daily care. Unacceptable! I experienced that for the 1st year or so after injury and didn't want it. So, I ate my pride and got a power chair, the Quickie P200.

    My life was transformed overnight. I took two cross-country treks alone in my van during those summers (driving 15,000 miles and staying mostly at campgrounds and the occasional motel). The 1st trip was the summer before PC. I did it, but it was mostly managing my environment, choosing safe (paved) campsites and never venturing anywhere. Pretty much it was sightseeing from the van. The next summer, I had my P200. I could camp at nearly any campground. I could go back and forth between my van and the table area, carting stoves or grills or coolers or whatever. I could fetch logs and light campfires. I could go out on hiking trails. I could go around and visit all of the other campers and make friends. Basically, I could actually DO things rather than just observe.

    Since getting the PC, I have set up my own woodshop, using large power tools and building even large pieces of furniture. I can handle and move and manipulate large, heavy pieces of wood by myself. I built a workbench with a table top that was 6 feet by 4 feet and weighed well over 100 pounds. After moving back to Hawaii, I got a sailboat and figured out how to independently transfer into/out of and sail. I built a launching cart out of 16 foot long 2x6's. See http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=192663 for pictures. I repeat, this is without ANY assistance.

    I'm not telling you this to brag, simply to say what kind of difference in lifestyles are available. The way i look back at it, the biggest difference is that with only a manual chair, I needed HELP to do many things. While I lived independently, pushing the grocery cart around the store, etc., I would need help to get many simple things done. Just getting a glass of water and bringing it to the table wasn't simple, even though it could be done. So, people would always do things for me when they were around, if for no other reason than it was more convenient/efficient. Being a person who doesn't like asking for help, the consequence is that you subconsciously avoid being in situations where you would need it. You limit your life to point that it is comfortable. And you get used to people fetching water, etc. rather than getting it yourself. You get used to people pushing you places that are difficult or just to keep you up with the group (no one likes watching you struggle, as admirable as it may seem). You get used to being a sort of ball and chain with your friends and loved ones (they drag you around because they love you, but things would definitely be easier/simpler if they didn't have you with them). But, the biggest thing is that your vision of the possible narrows. You just don't even think of the things that you could be accomplishing because those things would require assistance. So, you settle into a somewhat comfortable lifestyle, celebrating the things that you are able to do, without even realizing the things you aren't even considering doing. While you may feel good about your life, you don't even know that you are limiting it.

    With the PC, I never give most things a second thought, I just do them. I am faster than an able-bodied at many things now. I don't have to worry about whether there is a parking space really close, because I can travel faster than someone jogs. I have a free hand to carry things like a bottle of beer while I'm moving, or to stabilize things in my lap while I'm traveling fast. I have no hesitation going to the bedroom on the other side of the house to fetch something stupid (or going to the mailbox several times). I can do my grocery shopping in less than half the time. I can spontaneously go to my neighbors house a coupe blocks away for dinner. I can go to the bar down the road and not have to worry about making it home. I can make transfers without worrying about the chair sliding away. I can bend forward and work on things at floor level without worrying about my chair tipping forward and me sliding out. (I haven't fallen onto the floor in at least 6 years.) I can cook (going back and forth between fridge, sink and stove) and carry boiling pots of water without worrying about it spilling. I can handle heavy and awkward things (like my woodworking) and actually move them about. I can take the trash cans out. Heck, I can even mow the lawn with a push mower (not recommended due to stress on motors). I can easily get dressed IN my chair, saving me at least 2 transfers. There are countless other things I am able to do that would be inconceivable or inconvenient without the PC. Simply put, I am a FAR more active and capable person with the PC and do much MORE both physically and socially than at the peak of my manual chair life. I don't NEED the exercise from pushing a chair, because I am so much more active doing things I never would have considered doing when I was in my manual.

    One might argue that I am this able as result of the strength and balance obtained from the years in the manual; and they may be right. And, of course, there are inconveniences with the PC. But, I have completely gotten over the perceived stigma. First, everyone sees you as disabled, regardless of the chair you are in. And when they see me flying around the place and going to parks and doing things in an active, enjoyable way, I think their perception of me is far less pitiful then when they saw me struggling to push up a hill, wondering whether they should offer assistance. And with family and friends, I'm not limiting THEIR activities by the limits of where I am able to go, and I am able to participate as an equal with them in most activities rather than being the person they are pushing or waiting for. I also don't advocate ONLY getting a PC, there are a few times year when I need to use the manual. But, because it isn't my everyday chair, I don't need it to be an expensive ultra-slick one. Mostly, it just has to be convenient for those times it is needed.

    I started out thinking I was going to mostly use the manual chair, and only use the PC when necessary. But, very soon I completely switched. I now live in my PC and RARELY get in the manual. Transferring back and forth is too inconvenient to do often and things come up several times an hour that I wouldn't do if I were in the manual. So, I just stopped using it. There is a kind of spontaneity to the simplistic, everyday routines in life that just wasn't present with the manual. And, and this is huge, I am a much lower burden on friends and loved ones. There are hidden resentments that can build when relationships are unequal. While your guy might not seem like a PC kind of guy, he sure sounds like an independent kind of guy. And, that's what the PC brings, a huge leap in the level of independence and self-reliance.

    Here's another way I look at it. My wheelchair is a just a tool, like any other tool. I have a lot of manual saws, but I would never use them if a power saw is easier and faster. I don't think of myself as a lesser me because I am using the power tool. I think of how much faster and better I am at getting the job done. The PC is just a more powerful tool. It gives you capabilities you didn't have and allows you to accomplish things faster, easier, and safer. It gives you more time and energy to attend to the things that are truly more important than your own ego.
    Last edited by Kulea; 08-01-2012 at 07:48 AM.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  5. #25
    C-5, 6 inc 40 years post. Just now going to aPC due to shoulders. This site is a great resource for advice on chairs. I now wish I had gone to a PC long ago preserving my shoulders. If he does use a manual, a freewheel would be a good investment for getting around your property.

  6. #26
    Kulea,

    Thanks for posting that; great explanation of the benefits of using a PC.

  7. #27
    Kulea,

    That has to be the longest post in CC history. Good points though.


  8. #28
    He can go both ways. Use a manual for exercise and flat surfaces and a power for hills, long distances and rough terrain. He can also use the power chair for driving because the manual will cause a lot of whiplash, possibly death, in a collision because it has less trunk and spine support.

    Like everyone else said, 5 days is way too soon to think about driving or long-term plans for a wheelchair.

  9. #29
    Senior Member anban's Avatar
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    Kulea nailed it; it's really a combination of many variables. I live in a rural area, and I couldn't "hike" trails with my family or go to play at the park off the pavement if not for my PC. I also use it to push stuff around when I garden. Cooking would be impossible (for me) without it. I do use my Quickie manual indoors at times. It's hard to reconcile your "new" body with who you used to be...I taught kickboxing, danced on stage, jogged on the beach, moved split & firewood...I know it is hard for the one hurt AND their spouse to figure out who you'll be, and these damn chairs can be such a psychological block.
    Quads are often caught in that twilight world of not totally helpless and independence. He'll soon figure out lots for himself...and the rest comes with the experience of years.

  10. #30
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    Awesome discussion guys. This is what CareCure is all about..

    I'm sure we all tend to forget or block out what other people in chairs have to deal with in regards to environment and it's easy to assume what's good for us personally is the best for everyone. Like anban said, we all have to figure out the best for ourselves. And really doesn't that apply to everyone, disabled or not?

    Great points kulea. Muy respect for accepting your limitations. Alot of us let our ego get in the way of what's really important - live long and prosper.

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