After 10 years in my old trusty wheelchair, yesterday I picked up my new wheelchair.
My old chair has served me well, it is a bit like Triggers Broom in the fact that it was fully stripped and resprayed, had a new seat, back, seat webbing, push rims, several new tyres, castor wheels and footplate during those 10 years!
But despite it’s replaced parts it has done well to last that long and so a new chair was long overdue!
The Southend Wheelchair Service provide the chairs and at the end of July I had an assessment with the RGK rep Alan who I met many years ago at wheelchair basketball.
I came out of that assessment beaming like a Cheshire cat as I knew the new chair would be much better suited.
I always felt like I sat too high in the old chair, it was like I was sat on it rather than in it. I am 6′ 4″ and so that is a challenge but Alan from RGK is the same height and you could see the difference in the way we were sitting.
So yesterday was like Christmas for me, I drove the family mad with my countdown to the day!
As soon as I saw the chair when Alan wheeled it in, I knew I was going to be happy with it and transferring into it was like going from a plastic patio chair into a first class airline seat. (No TV screen unfortunately)
I am sat lower but also the seat is better suited as in the diagram above and oh wow is it comfortable. The chair is also narrower and the footplate is bigger and flat where as the last footplate angled back and wasn’t the most comfortable.
It also has a Jay Xtreme Active cushion and it has a wedge either side that keeps my legs together. Because of my hip problems I have Essex Girl legs, they keep opening! I can get away with that as I am Essex born and bred as is my wife. (well as long as she doesn’t read this)
I am also slightly in love with the wheels, my old chair had wheels that just looked like cheap bike wheels and I used to lust after the Spinergy style wheels and so I am a very happy chap with this wheel hub and spoke design!
I have also chosen a fold down back that has the leather style corners that should stop the back frame wearing a hole through the fabric.
I also chose to have removable push handles on the chair, this is something I said I didn’t want on the other chair and that was because it was my first chair. I had not long been using a wheelchair and so I was battling myself in a bid to be as independent or independent looking as I could.
The truth is I should have had them, my shoulders, elbows and hands are damaged through using NHS crutches for so many years and when they flare up I need help as I can’t manages slopes in the chair.
So as I am more comfortable now with my disability, I have made better choices!
So I now have a wheelchair that thanks to RGK and the assessment from Alan, feels like it is part of me rather than me sat on a wheelchair.
Even though it is way better suited to me and so comfortable, there will be a transition period where I will hurt more as I am sat differently, my arms are pushing from a slightly different angle and so that will take time but I know without a doubt that I will be in less pain and able to be in the chair longer!
Even though this is the basic RGK chair, it looks very nice and Jane at Wheelchair Services weighed it and it came in at 5.4kg, so not bad!
So a huge thank you to Southend Wheelchair Service especially Jane who was as usual so amazing and a huge thank you to Alan and RGK Wheelchairs.
It is now over 2 months and the chair is still perfect, the difference it has made is amazing and I cannot fully describe it. I have been more active and the pain whilst sat in the chair isn’t pushed higher as I am sat so comfortably.