Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Keep Those Tires, Rolling!

Last night as my dear husband was starting to cook dinner, suddenly, we heard a gunshot! No, not really, sure sounded like one though. Turns out it was his rear wheelchair tire that suddenly just blew out. Needless to say, it startled both of us. I, in my usual manner, went on about how he shouldn't have overinflated his tires a couple of days earlier, sure of myself, that that was why it blew. Of course, I don't really know for sure, but in my brain, logic says, when things like that happen, there must have been a way to prevent it. He does affirm that he always over inflates them by about seven pounds. (Never over pump tires because it can cause exactly what happened to him!) And yah, sometimes, stuff just happens. What did Craig think? He thought perhaps, it was a pushpin that he spotted on the ground at our local wheelchair repair shop! Sharp objects, are not something you want to see when you have pneumatic tires, but that shouldn't cause a blowout! 

After I raved on about the over-inflation thingy, and how on earth are we going to get help right now concern...with one phone call, thank the Lord, we were able to locate one of my PCA's (Personal Care Attendant)," to come and retrieve his spare wheel. A great reminder of how important it is, to have spare parts for such emergencies. Riding around on a rim can damage your wheels, not to mention, most people using manual chairs, can't transfer safely from their wheelchair without locking it.  Flat tires can't be braked.
We were quite thankful as well, that it happened once he was home. We both have many stories to tell about how "breakdowns" have happened once we were in a safe place, like at home. Be it a bent front wheel fork, blown or flat tires, failed or dying power chair batteries or a broken motor, we definitely feel taken care of.

Okay, I just have to share a couple of these stories, they are just too phenomenal to withhold. Before the age of mobile phones, instead of depending on our local wheelchair accessible transit vans, whenever the seasons permitted, I would "walk" all over our fair city. One particular warm summer day, as I was headed to a family function, my front wheel hit a curb sideways. For some bizarre reason, the fork that I had believed to be solid steel, bent so much that my wheel was seized. The break down was right in front of a street side shop that just happened to have their door open. Of course, I didn't see it as a good thing at first (no, I am not a "half full" kind of person) and fear flooded every part of my body, wondering what on earth will I do? Suddenly all the worst case scenarios left my brain and then came the "duh!" moment!  Clearly, because the door was ajar, I could yell for help. So, I did, and the kind person called the accessible cab and my family fixed me up.
Another outstanding "event" that is so obviously a, "God's perfect timing moment,"  was over fifteen years ago when a girlfriend and I borrowed my parent's van and drove from Thunder Bay to Ottawa. Since staying at the local University residence was far more economical than a motel, we stayed at Carleton University.

On the very first day, of what we originally thought would be a four week visit, Randi, on a bicycle and I in my power chair, cruised our way down town. If I have calculated it correctly, that would be about a 7-9 kilometer walk, one way only. We made it back to the residence and as soon as we entered the building, my wheelchair ceased to work! As bummed out as I was about facing the possibility of having to return home, thankfulness flooded my heart as the multiple scenarios that "could of," happened played out in my head. What if it would have...broke down crossing the four lane intersections or any where else on one of those frantically bustling streets? There would have been no trip back home for me, except maybe in a pine box, had it happened then.

Oh, and In case you are curious, one phone call home to my best wheelchair repair dude and all was well the next day, we stayed on for two weeks taking in the sights and sounds, not to mention a few trips to the IKEA store!
Those are two of many, many stories about how things (not just wheelchair breakdowns)  in my life, could have ended up far worse, had they not been orchestrated by my Lord's perfect timing. Makes me wonder why, I still feel the need to panic and fret, EVER! Sigh.
Wouldn't you know it, today, the day after, I was watching Craig's other tire and I noticed a bulge in the rubber. Now, here's a shocker, wanting to prove my point (know anyone like that?)  about over pumping tires, I "googled" the subject and lo and behold, yes, over inflation can cause a tire to burst. In all fairness to my beloved husband, he told me that he has been over pumping his tires for more than ten years now and this is the first time anything like this has happened! So perhaps, I am not as right as I think I am...yah, that's always a possibility.
Here's the thing, using a wheelchair for over thirty years, had lead me to believe that I knew everything I needed to, in order to keep everything working well and to avoid any mishaps. Turns out I was wrong! (pssst...don't tell Craig) Apparently, I have been neglecting my own wheelchair maintenance duties. Assuming that I am not alone, I thought it would be a good idea to post the web sites that enlightened my ignorance. (Just click them on)
Power Wheelchair Maintenance Tips
Manual Wheelchair Maintenance Tips 

Final note: Did you know that mobility equipment such as, wheelchairs are a blessing and not something everyone in this world has access to.  Just ask the awesome people at "Wheels for the World" (or our friend Julio in Peru). All the more reason to take care of what we have as best we can and consider supporting those who are devoted to spreading mobility around the world.

No comments: