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Thread: Getting in and out of the car

  1. #1

    Getting in and out of the car

    My husband has been paralyzed (t4 complete) since he was a kid. 40+ years. When he was 15 he was taught to do the in/out from the passengers side of a 2 door car. Anyone who does it knows it's a long process. The chair takes up most of the back seat. And with a heavy chair (like he still has), it's hard on the joints. It also is reall hard to find a 2 door car (he also needs 4 or all wheel drive) that will work.

    It's been hard on the family him refusing to try newer chairs, ridged frames or new ways of getting in the car. We have two kids who have to share the back of his tiny car with the wheelchair. So either I am always driving, they are smushed and unhappy. Plus, I am really worried about his shoulder and back. He has arthritis and he isn't an old man.

    So we are moving to a snowy place from Texas and he needs a new car and a new chair. I've been pushing him to branch out. We will be in a city with lots of medical shops and care. So that a plus.

    I showed him how people use a ridged chair and get in and out of their car in the front drivers side. He said "No WAY!". He said it will be dirty, the grease will get all over him, etc. I think it was so far out of his comfort zone he freaked out a little.

    So I guess I am wondering, for those who have a rigid frame chair, do you get dirty getting in and out? Does grease get all over?

    If you get in the passengers side with a folding chair, can you share what type of car and chair?

    Any other ideas...so appreciated. His back and shoulders isn't going to last another 10 years like this, and the kids just keep getting bigger.
    - Moody

  2. #2
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    What grease? There's a small amount of grease on the axles, but you just don't touch them. Is he working in a dirty environment? Can't he just wipe off his tyres as he's loading the wheels?

    Moody, this rigid chair stuff may be out of his comfort zone--but I'm guessing a power chair is too, and that's where he's going to be if he destroys his shoulders.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by QTiPi View Post
    What grease? There's a small amount of grease on the axles, but you just don't touch them. Is he working in a dirty environment? Can't he just wipe off his tyres as he's loading the wheels?

    Moody, this rigid chair stuff may be out of his comfort zone--but I'm guessing a power chair is too, and that's where he's going to be if he destroys his shoulders.
    He uses a much older chair, and there is tons of grease on the axles.

    No dirty environment. Even in his new snowy environment,meh won't have to touch it.

    I mention the electric option if he doesn't catch up with the times. He gets mad. But then says he is willing to try something new. And when I show him something new, he nixes it.

    I'm frustrated.
    - Moody

  4. #4
    Would he even consider a van with a ramp and transferring inside the van to an adjustable seat on the driver's side? Much easier on his shoulders, and the way he is going, he may end up eventually in a power chair for that reason; a van could then be used to drive from the chair. I know vans are not considered sexy, but they are sure a lot easier that what he is doing.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    Would he even consider a van with a ramp and transferring inside the van to an adjustable seat on the driver's side? Much easier on his shoulders, and the way he is going, he may end up eventually in a power chair for that reason; a van could then be used to drive from the chair. I know vans are not considered sexy, but they are sure a lot easier that what he is doing.

    (KLD)
    Nope, not even a little bit. I mentioned it and he...he is a proud man. He was paralyzed at a time where they called the priest for last rights. People didn't surivive his injury. He was in rehab with a bunch of vets.

    He stil holds on to what he learned in rehab as a young lad. It took me forever for get him to go to a doc to update how bowel management. And I was right. Cut it all down to 1/3 with less trauma. He still needs a lot of "encouragement" to make any changes
    - Moody

  6. #6
    If you can convince him to test drive a ramp van, he may realize the extra years of independence it could provide.

    If you're buying a new car, ask the dealer to check if car seat covers are available. If they aren't, or if you buy a used car, the Autozone online catalog has a large selection of vehicle specific seat covers.

  7. #7
    Nope. I use a rigid chair, and my car stays pretty clean. I live in a rainy environment, so during the rainy "season," I may have to do a bit more...but this is the process. You can search for videos on YouTube if those help; we may be able to send you to links.

    My process: Service Dog, Groceries etc. in until I am ready to go.

    Around to the driver's side. Lock brakes or clip up chair with a dog leash (I've had my chair roll away before). Transfer into car. Now generally the seat is back, as close to "all the way back" as you can get it (lying flat but also with as much room away from the steering wheel as possible, to avoid honking the horn). I have enough upper body from CP that if I leave the seat tipped back I'm okay, otherwise you'll have to put it up and then put it down again.

    So now I'm in the car. I don't seatbelt myself in but I know people who do, to avoid falling out of the car. I'm strategic about it that I've found my handpoints so I don't have to strap myself in (yet, before driving yes!). I grab my cushion and pull it from the seat (one of my chairs doesn't like to fold with the cushion on). I stuff that in the backseat momentarily. I spin my chair around and take off the wheels. Also take off the tippers, sideguards and armrests (yes I need all those). Tippers, sideguards and armrests are dropped into my passenger seat floorboard. I rest the rear wheels against my driver's side rear door.

    I don't have to take the back off my chair to fit it in my car but I can if I need to (it's quick release). If I have backpack, B & B bag, etc. I take those off and a large pack will generally go in the back seat footwells around the pup (who is on the backseat), and my smaller packs on the passenger side floorboard.

    Then I flip the chair into the car, back folded down. I bring it in as if I am standing (sitting) behind it, casters up and clearing my steering wheel with the underside hoping not to honk the horn (ha!). Then I move it back into my passenger seat, clearing the passenger side front dashboard, dropping my casters down into the footwell exactly as if they were human legs. The bulk (seat) of my chair goes on the seat of the car, back is folded down, and then I reach over and grab the passenger seat seatbelt, looping it through the rigidizer bar on the back. This helps my chair not to roll side to side (and hit my console shift or anything) - if I take a corner wrong, or (knock on wood) get into a wreck.

    Then the rear wheels go over my head, and behind the driver's side seat in the footwell (giving my pup room). If I don't have him with me I will put the rear wheels on the seat. I do use a blanket on the backseat for the dog (you can get a canvas one from catalogs, or you can just use a blanket / towel) - and this helps. If my wheels or chair is really icky for some reason, I do have "barmop washcloths" (about 16 x 16 inches), in the footwell of my driver's side backseat and can grab them to wipe off. Then into my passenger side footwell to remind me to grab and launder them.

    I have scratched up my car a bit since starting to use a chair, but I figure that's life and that's learning experience and I'm not going to let it bother me. It would bother some people, but you can do it without scratching up the car.

    When I have a passenger in front, and two dogs in the back (or one), the chair goes in the back cargo area. Then I have a friend to help me get all the parts and stuff. Just be sure that before dropping off your last friend (or child), you ask them to grab the chair and either put it in the car like you're used to, or bring it around to the driver's door and you load it in the fashion you like. Otherwise, you will need someone to help you at your destination!! (Hint, you could be stuck in your car, or you might have to wake up the significant other / housemate at midnight, or something memorable like that!!)

    Here are a few transfer videos to get you started:
    CareCure Thread (more if you search)
    Pretty close to how I do it
    Another way (chair in back)
    Another way with some helpful tips
    Search Youtube for "Wheelchair Transfer to Car" and you'll find a lot more.

    Personally I drive a 4-door AWD / SUV vehicle, I don't need a two door and I don't like sportscars (or regular "cars"). My transfer height is about chair height. And I generally don't grab onto the bar under my chair to lift my chair into the car, I grab it at the rear frame instead and hold down the back & seat (I don't have a chair with a locking back).

    I got the chair after I got the car (and I have no interest, and no need, and no affordability in changing the car). I have another friend who made her decision for a chair based on her car, and then she still has the chair but she got a new car, and she chose the new car to be a bit bigger and more room for a chair / cargo / etc (went from tiny hatchback car to SUV), so she could upgrade the chair later.

    I would say get a chair, then get a compatible car. Preferably, consider taking the new chair to the car dealership with you, and practicing doing the transfers and fitting the chair in the back (or trunk).

    If you zip tie towels or washcloths onto the chair (just for the practice at the dealership, or you could make neoprene wraps out of a laptop sleeve), and take a towel or two with you for the driver's side lower paint and passenger seat, you won't have to worry even with a brand new car and brand new chair about scratches or anything. Or maybe with help you don't have to do that, I don't know...I'm so used to doing everything on my own and being independent.

    Let us know what else might help!
    Take care,
    Mystery

    I drive a small SUV / hatchback with all wheel drive

  8. #8
    Senior Member Joe-MN's Avatar
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    If he wants to drive something where the folding wheelchair goes behind the seats, take a look at Honda Elements or an extended cab pickup like Ford Ranger, GM Colorado/Canyon, or Nissan Frontier (small to midsized pickups). All these would allow getting in on the drivers side, so less transferring from the passenger seat to driver seat. I know the GM Colorado/Canyon can be lowered if needed.

    As for getting him to try a van with a ramp, perhaps rent/borrow one when his car is being worked on, you go on a driving vacation (more space) or fly someplace and need a car at the vacation location.

    I seem to recall you prior posts about him not wanting a new chair. I went from an old folder, to a new Ti TX folder (I think it is a TX), and the difference in effort to wheel around was quite pronounced. All the flex if the old chair just absorbs energy.
    Last edited by Joe-MN; 05-10-2015 at 11:20 PM.
    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

  9. #9
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    T6, 6'3" (with correspondingly large frame chair), and no grease coming off my chair. The frame can fit in the back seat in both cars if need be, easier to just leave it on the front seat.





    I also have an 08 Crown Vic as a winter beater/work beater. I did modify the door hinge so the door would open almost 90 degrees for easier access to the wheel axle for disassembly without twirling the chair around (B pillar gets in the way). Of course if he is smaller than me with a smaller chair, this mod might not be needed. But a 4 door is a noticeably more PITA to work with compared to a 2 door. No video of that one, as it would suck, lol

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    T6, 6'3" (with correspondingly large frame chair), and no grease coming off my chair. The frame can fit in the back seat in both cars if need be, easier to just leave it on the front seat.





    I also have an 08 Crown Vic as a winter beater/work beater. I did modify the door hinge so the door would open almost 90 degrees for easier access to the wheel axle for disassembly without twirling the chair around (B pillar gets in the way). Of course if he is smaller than me with a smaller chair, this mod might not be needed. But a 4 door is a noticeably more PITA to work with compared to a 2 door. No video of that one, as it would suck, lol
    Who's the fellow wheeler rolling the video? (Can see his reflection in the SRT8) lol!!

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