Here are a few photos of Craig taken day he finally received his new Power Assist Wheels made by Quickie Xtender. He has had them now for a month or so and he is loving them. May 20, 2016, was the first day he got them (the day these photos were taken) We live in Ontario, so we haven't seen how well they will do in our lovely winters or if he encounters serious rain. In fact he was warned that they are not waterproof per-say, but obviously he would be able to flee if rain came down. Not going to worry about that, just enjoying them for now. He actually first learned about them when he saw a friend cruising uphill in the middle of winter, so that should prove he will be okay in our unending winters.
Power in the Hub
Craig has hurt his shoulders on more than one occasion due to the fact that wheels aren't meant to be his arms. A common issue for persons who have pushed their own wheels for decades. His injuries to his rotator cuffs (one on each shoulder) occurred while he was transferring from his bed to his wheelchair. Meaning, when you use your arms for legs and you injure those "legs," you still need to use them to get around, kind of difficult to rest the injury. It is why these wheels came highly recommended by his physio therapist. He still has to push and use his shoulders and arms, but these amazing wheels are created with sensors in the rims, that are connected to the reliable Yamaha made motors, in the hub of the wheel and then connected to the small battery pack that you can see on the back of his chair below. The harder or faster he pushes, the chair will pace itself accordingly. It is super cool.
|Freedom! Craig's first day using his new power assist wheels.|
And the added bonus? His sheer enjoyment just being able to go up the many hills in our neighbourhood! I am so happy for him.
Power Means Freedom!
I remember when my muscles were weakening to the point that pushing my manual wheelchair down the long halls of my high school in the eighties, was daunting. When I was about seventeen, I was blessed with my first power wheelchair! The sense of freedom was incredible. No more having to depend on others and no more slowly creeping down the halls, bit by bit...struggling to move my wheelchair and myself, to my classes. The difference between my wheels and Craig's? A power chair is driven fully by motors and two large batteries, about the size of car batteries (making my present power tilt chair weigh at least 250 pounds - without me in it!). The chair pictured below, was driven with rubber drive belts that powered the large rear wheels. My modern chair (picture below the ancient 80s one) has much smaller rear wheels and no drive belts. I believe they are called direct drive wheels, the front ones are regular wheels with no motors). And as you can see, my newer chair has tilting capability. It makes dental appointments and movie watching a dream. Literally, a dream, I fall asleep really easy when laying back like that!
So if you are blessed like we are, in a country where mobility devices can be partially paid for with government programs, insurance settlements, Workers Compensation, or if you want to invest without any financial assistance- we can both attest to the fact that electronic mobility devices make life quality increase a hundred fold. Far worth it, if you can manage it.
|My dear Grandpa and me in my first power chair. (1980s)|
If you do get a power mobility device and are physically able...make sure, if you can use your arm muscles, to exercise as much as you can. You see that old saying, if you don't use it, you will lose it, still applies. Craig has relief using the wheels, but because he has "regular" muscles, he still has to make sure he doesn't become totally dependant on the power assist wheels, so he won't atrophy his muscles. Healthy muscles have a memory and the longer you do not use muscles, the more they weaken.
In my case, since I have spinal muscular atrophy, my muscles unavoidably weaken, so help like this, makes movement on my own possible. Moving what you can, in any case, definitely has benefits.
|My most recent power tilt wheelchair - year 2006 or so.|
We'd love to Hear from You.
If you are wondering about mobility devices, use them, or are thinking about getting one, we would love to hear from you! Please comment below.
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