i got my chair about 3 weeks ago and it's made my life sooo much easier. i'm yet another one that can only manage on my crutches for very short distances before i need to sit down due to the pain, often this meant i had to sit on the floor when out and about and it got very embarrassing. i can now go a little further than i did on the sticks but the key difference being that i'm already sat down so just have to stop when i need to rest so no more stressing about where i can sit!
i still use the sticks (or crawl, which is sometimes easier) when i'm in my flat cos its small and not much walking is required.
it means i can actually get out and about now and i'm sooooo much relaxed! many people have commented about how relaxed i am and apparently you can see it in my face and posture, and i have less problems with the frequent muscle cramps i get across my shoulders. it's still there, but so far reduced that i can easily manage it now so clearly stress was making it worse (i'm naturally a crampy person so even if i had no stress i'd still get them ). today is a fab example of how it's changed my life- i was able to go shopping to my local high street! and on my own! first time in a long time that i've been able to get out like this by myself! so it's a fabulous day!!! i only bought a few cheap tops in primark (vest tops are only £2 at the moment) and a can on deoderant and lightbulbs in wilkinsons but i was alone!
i have an ultralight TiLite chair thats only about 12lbs with the wheels off and i can get it into and out of my car without any major difficulties. it's a bit tricky when my arm muscles are tired (like after i've been out and about for a while) but i can still do it without too much bother and as i'm getting stronger it's getting easier- i got the whole chair dismantled and into my car in under 60 seconds today, a record for me (although it was raining heavily so that may have sped up the procedure!
). the chair is so light that i'm becoming able to lift it into the car one handed (i put it on the passenger seat of my car when i'm driving, and in the boot if someone else is driving me).
it's given me back my independance, without the same levels of crippling pain that i used to get when i was still able to get out and about on my sticks. and although i've only had it for a few weeks my back and hand pain has dropped a lot so i'm assuming the injuries that were causing the pain have finally started to heal. the instability will always be there so the joints pop out just as often and but as the starting pain is lower, when one comes out it hurts less to fix it
i've had several people say that i would get lazy and not walk at all, but these are usually people that didnt understand my condition and once i'd fully educated them they understand when i use it. dont know how my doctor will cope cos she was the one that decided i was faking all those years (although i plan to see a different one in the future.... obviously). but to be perfectly honest- i dont care. effectively she works for me and so has no right to decide what is best for my health and wellbeing considering she has been wrong sooo many times (and i was right all those times.....). all she needs to do is give me the information and let me make the decisions. no one else has the right either- it's my life, so it's my decision.
. i need to use it and thats that. i'm not gonna loose the ability to walk as i do hours of physiotherapy everyday. most people only go to the gym once or twice a week for an hour or 2 while i do 5 hours of physio (and a little cardio a day too) every single day. that usually shuts up anyone with 'lazy' comments cos i do far more exercise a month than most of them have done in a year!
and i plan to use my chair to when i see prof graham's colleague in december- purely because i cant manage the walk from the tube station. it's a long way to their clinic from the station if you have mobility problems and cant walk more than a few meters! in fact, all my hospitals are too far away from stations for me to manage to walk anymore! so if any make nasty comments i'll just remind them of the distance!
but i LOVE my chair! it's fantastic and given me my life back! and my view is that if you're asking yourself the question of whether you need the chair or not, that answer is usually that you do! but i'd recommend doing lots of arm and upper body conditioning prior to getting one (a few months worth of it) and getting an ultralight chair to reduce the chance of breaking yourself when using the chair