Sep. 11th, 2017 05:07 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I went into Rochester for lunch on Saturday. Parking was a nightmare, but when I finally found a place I cut through the High Street via the small disabled car park as usual. For unknown reasons (it's not any of the local festivals I can think of, and I couldn't dig up anything on their website) the Council had the paved area at the entrance covered in stalls - one of those square garden gazebo things with a folding table under it and various vendors at each. Then I got onto the High Street, and the footpath is covered in stalls for as far as I can see. And those gazebo things are the full width of the pavement. Look left, and the pavement is completely blocked, look right (where it's very slightly wider), and they have a stall sitting on top of the kerb cut. The only part not blocked by the stall is the slope, and the customers are standing on that. In just the 100m or so I could see, the footpath was completely blocked to wheelchair users in at least 3 places.

I managed to squeeze past and onto the kerb cut, but no chair wider than mine could have done it, certainly not a powerchair.  Okay, the High Street is pedestrian-only on Saturday, so the road was usable, but to get into any of the shops you need to be on the pavement and that pavement is really difficult to wheelie up onto from the road. In fact it's impossible in my chair if I have the anti-tips out, and wheelie-ing is exactly when I'd want the anti-tips. I did manage to get back up the kerb cut on my way back to the car, but I'd seriously expected not to be able to as you would normally want to run straight up the slope to the far side of where the table was and then turn, not crab up the side-slope between ramp and pavement level.

And then the elbow I'd banged while I was away decided it wasn't up to pushing up slopes - guess which way it was all 400m back to the car. Waddle, waddle, waddle....


Not too surprising that I fell asleep on the couch at 8PM, though sleeping through until midday Sunday was unexpected.

I was sarcastic about the stalls to the council's  twitter account. Apparently they'll "raise this with the town centre manager". I may go dig up the relevent councillor and copy them into the thread - the High Street's an obstacle course at the best of times, never mind if  the council start merrily blocking the pavement every 20 metres.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Left house for lunch at 2:30, home at 7pm.

Lunch first (see previous post) then I drove over to Wickes to price up some replacement roofing felt for my shed (the existing stuff half ripped off in one of the spring storms), plus loft boarding, passing an accident which had just happened on the way (one car had t-boned another - no injuries, but sitting in the middle of the main road). Passed by a police traffic car with sirens blazing as I parked at Wickes - 'I know where you're going!' Their felt was 50% more than at Homebase for the identical brand, similarly for the loft board (I'd checked there earlier in the week), so back up to Homebase, queueing to pass the accident again, now with police in attendance. Get the felt, drive back past the accident again. Drop off the felt, head up to Asda, getting to the accident just as the recovery vehicle arrives, waved past by the police for the third time in an hour. Do my shopping, head back, and at least this time the accident's been cleared and I'm not waved past by the police, who must have thought I was taking the piss.

Dump the shopping and immediately head out for my daily waddle, because once I sat down I wasn't moving again.

Got a hundred metres, turned around and came home again. Changed into ankle braces (AFOs), headed out once more. I was fairly certain too much time on my feet was provoking the intermittent drop foot issues I've been having, but today was all chair, and  the foot drop was the worst I've seen. My left foot was catching literally every step, my right about half that. Definitely time to talk to my GP about actually getting this looked at and AFOs officially prescribed and properly fitted (as opposed to bought from Amazon), but also important to know it seems to be fatigue-linked, not activity-linked, which makes it much harder to avoid. Passed one of the regular dog-walkers while on the second attempt: "You're definitely walking faster!" he says. Didn't have the heart to explain why.

So tiring, but useful.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Had the classic huffy "I was only trying to help!" in town earlier.

The entrance to the George Vaults has the door a step up, with another step inside, so the only way to do it is to get out of the chair, push the door open, cant the chair back and bump it up a step at a time, which I'm quite capable of doing.

First off someone sitting outside smoking offered to help, which set up the rest of it as fending her off (holding the door open from outside makes the doorway too narrow) made me forget to fold up the anti-tips and blocked me from my normal angle. Which led to the chair jamming half way in as I couldn't cant it far enough back and I'd hit the door frame.

As I'm figuring out what's gone wrong two people from inside decide to intervene. The woman pulled the door out of the way, which actually was helpful, the guy decides he needs to be manly and pick the chair up by the footplate. Which would, of course, have thrown the weight of the chair onto me and my dodgy shoulders, rather than leaving the weight on the step. So I said "Don't!" and started to explain why he shouldn't do it that way. (Amongst other issues it'll often leave you holding a footplate and not a lot more.) Which provoked the huffy "I was only trying to help!" Clearly more interested in being seen to help than actually helping!

And of course when I went to leave, which is easier than coming in, someone came rushing to hold the door (and get in the way).

"My boy's like you," he says. I wonder if he rolls his eyes as much as I did.

On the brighter side I was serenaded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as I wheeled back to the car as they did their soundcheck for the Castle Garden concert this evening - Scherezade, I think.

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
A couple of belated shots of my chair with the new back. Yes, just that bit between the uprights retails at £507. Mind you the seat cushion is £400 on its own. Expensive things, wheelchairs

The back of my wheelchair

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Successfully fitted the J3 to my chair.

This wasn't in fact difficult:

Unvelcro existing sling back - this was actually one of the least easy bits as I wasn't entirely sure where and how it connected under the seat, in the end it unvelcroed itself and fell off in my hand.

Unvelcro tension straps.

Unfasten extension tubes and push handles - I didn't actually realise the chair had extension tubes on the back uprights until I got the tension straps off. In retrospect the top of the tube being a different colour to the bottom was a bit of a clue.

Install clamps for J3.

Drop J3 in place.

After taking it up and down the street I decided I wanted it a bit higher, so reinstalled the extension tubes and push handles and clamped it onto those instead.

An unexpected bonus is the back will still fold without needing me to disconnect the J3 (which only takes a couple of seconds anyway), and in fact the J3 makes it easier to see if it has unlatched properly.

Looking at it now, it's giving me an additional two or three inches of support up my spine I didn't previously have, plus a noticeable amount of lateral support that I didn't have at all. I may possibly want to shift it back, or angle it back slightly, but those are slightly more involved, so I'll give it a day or two before I try that.


Jun. 2nd, 2017 11:11 am
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Jay J3 wheelchair seat back (mid-thoracic, mid-contour), with the mounting hardware, for £51 off eBay (that's including £10 P&P). Normal retail price £506. I saw it at £29 with 3 days to go and thought 'that price has got to go up', but it never climbed higher than £34, so I sniped it with 20s to go with a bid for up to £55*, and a last second counter-bid only pushed my bid up to £41. Utter bargain.

* I'd have gone higher, even waist-height J3s normally go for about £150 on eBay. but the pics weren't clear on the state of the upholstery, and the description only gave width, not precise model. Parcelforce just delivered it and the upholstery is about as I expected, used and a bit fuzzy in places, but should perk up with a turn through the wash - I just downloaded the owner's manual to check settings.

If I was buying new, I'd probably go shoulder-height and deep-contour (a snip at £572), the same setup I tried on [personal profile] kaberett 's chair. But for now, this is an incredible bargain.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
So if you're wearing an unfastened denim jacket, turns out the bottom button is at just the right height, and just the right size, to get caught between your wheel and your pushrim, at which point you aren't going anywhere until you've managed to jiggle it loose....

And of course it happened while I was at a till. So I'd no sooner moved new toolbox onto my lap and pulled on my wheelchair gloves to move off than I had to move it back onto the counter and pull the gloves off. I thought I was going to have to slip the jacket off to get to it, but it finally came free once I could get unpadded thumbs at it.

Apart from that the classic denim jacket turns out to be exactly the right length for wheelchair wear. (Today was the first time I'd had it on, it was my brother-in-law's, but I'm not sure he's ever worn it - having someone who's a bit of a clothes horse, and the same size as you, in the family can be advantageous) .

And finally, three full months into the year, I've managed to make my regular Saturday lunch date for the first time. It's actually just me at the moment as the friend I normally would do it with is caring for a family member pretty much full time, but I was a little concerned at how difficult I was finding it to get out of the house. (Admittedly I have caught every bug going since Christmas, if not September).

I was slightly disappointed with my lunch, it was a very nice tuna nicoise salad, but when the waitress warns you the tuna will be pink, which usually means rarer than most Brits would prefer, and it turns up solidly pink, not the gorgeous semi-translucent pinky-purple I was expecting (having had it there before), then it's a bit of a let down.- 8/10 not 10/10.

I picked up the tickets for my trip up to Durham next weekend from the station, then spent an hour pootling around Homebase (big DIY/gardening store), which is where the jacket-pushrim mishap happened. I got the toolbox and roofing nails I was looking for, but I'm not paying £20 for a hammer! I'll have another look and see if I can find where mine has gotten to, it might possibly be in the shed. Nor could I find a bath plug in the appropriate size. There's a little old traditional ironmonger's in Rochester, so I'll probably be able to find what I'm looking for there.

And as if to prove it's April, I got showered on twice, though just enough to be refreshing rather than miserable.

Ah, Spring!

davidgillon: Dina Meyer as Oracle, sitting a manual chair in front of a clock face (Oracle)
The first thing I saw in one of my hypermobility newsgroups post flipping the chair was someone saying she's training as an OT and needs to create some sort of aid for one of her courses.

So I suggested an airbag for wheelchairs.

(Or I could just remember to put the anti-tips out)

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

The other day I received a letter letting me know that Kent and Medway Wheelchair Services is being privatised (they were worried about this happening when I went through the system last summer). Now in theory it shouldn't make any difference to the service I receive, but, as I noted on Twitter, it does mean someone now expects to make a profit out of my needs/my wheels.

Today the new franchise holder followed my twitter account. Now admittedly it's a new account, but they're following a grand total of 7 accounts, only two of which are individuals, and the other one is Tanni, aka Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, parliamentarian, multiple paralympian and the most famous wheelie in the country.

The scary thing is I didn't mention where I lived. They must have pulled it out of the #wheelchair stream from a week ago, figured out I was talking about them and made a note to follow me once their account was up.

Of course that's not remotely likely to intimidate someone from freely discussing the service they depend on.

Nope, not one bit.

(Well, not if you know me, but other people...)

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Virgin Trains just emailed me and asked how my journey went yesterday and whether I was likely to recommend their service.

I gave them 3 on 10.

We're sorry that we didn't deliver a great service for you.  Could you tell us, in your own words, why you gave us that score?

I travelled as a wheelchair-using passenger in the Standard Class wheelchair space. (Coach F). The wheelchair space on the left side of the carriage places me in line with the aisle as it passes the accessible toilet, making my space a bottleneck. Passengers were continually brushing past me and with no door between carriage and vestibule space the environment was so noisy I could not hear announcements, safety or otherwise. The right hand Standard Class wheelchair space, which does not have these drawbacks, was occupied by a non-disabled passenger for the entire trip. (And passengers were being encouraged to place bulky luggage in the space a chair would have had to occupy had one boarded at York).

Additionally the accessible toilet was out of service for my entire trip of almost three hours, including the nearly two hour fast section between York and Kings Cross. I recognise that mechanical failures will occasionally happen, but none of the on-train staff thought to check whether the lack of a an accessible toilet was an issue for me. Given that a disabled passenger being forced to wet themselves through lack of an accessible toilet had been national headline news within the past week (even if with another TOC), this reflects poorly on Virgin East Coast's standards of customer care.

If it is not already policy that train staff should check with wheelchair using passengers if the accessible toilet is out of action, then it needs to be made so urgently.

I would also suggest that if a train has a wheelchair passenger due to board, and an out of service onboard toilet, the message be passed ahead to station passenger assistance staff and the passenger offered the options of i) being boarded in the other class if the wheelchair space is available (obviously with a refund in the case of a First Class passenger forced to travel Standard Class), ii) travelling by a later train, iii) opting not to travel and receiving a full refund.

It rather boggles the mind that on a previous journey on-train staff specifically approached me to offer to fetch and carry for me as the trolley service was out of action, but on this trip didn't even speak to me when the accessible toilet was out of action, no matter that at least two interacted directly with me during the ticket check.

If you have any other comments or feedback please type them in the box below.

On my prior journey to Darlington I received an offer of an upgrade to First Class for £20, with instructions to approach the Guard on the train to see if space is available. There appears to have been no thought to how this offer would work, or rather fail to, for a wheelchair-using passenger. By the time I have boarded it is impossible for me to upgrade to 1st Class because I cannot move through the train, nor can I move through the train to locate the guard to enquire if there is space for me to take up the offer.

As there is only a single First Class wheelchair space, in comparison with several carriages of non-wheelchair First Class spaces, the overwhelming likelihood is that wheelchair passengers are much less likely to be able to avail themselves of this offer than non-wheelchair using passengers.

Equally, to the best of my knowledge there are two Standard Class wheelchair spaces, but only a single First Class wheelchair space. If both Standard Class wheelchair passengers have received the offer, the Guard could be faced with two people requesting upgrade to the same single space at exactly the same moment. There appears to have been no thought whatsoever as to how the offer would function for a wheelchair-using passenger.

The offer can only function in a fair and equitable manner for wheelchair-using passengers if they have the same likelihood of being able to access it as non-wheelchair-users. It cannot work for them at all if they must wait to contact on train staff, and needs to be modified so that they can approach station passenger assistance staff instead in order to be boarded in the appropriate carriage.

As the system stands, Virgin East Coast are running offers that can only be used by non-wheelchair-using passengers, which constitutes direct disability discrimination and places the offer in violation of the Equality Act 2010.
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

My trip North was decidedly mixed. I got over to Rochester station okay, in fact the taxi was at my front door before I got it closed - he said he was passing my road as the call went out - and had time to do a couple of things I wanted and still catch the train before the one I had planned on. First negative hit 5 minutes outside of Rochester, I was reading my Kindle and suddenly felt travel-sick. A quick bit of experimentation confirmed head-down=travel-sick and escalating neck pain, head-up=fine. Fortunately I'd packed a collar (in one of the underseat bags[personal profile] kaberett

  recommends, though I was too cheap to buy an actual Black Box), first chance I've had to use it and definitely worthwhile. Thankfully the collar mostly solved the travel-sickness and neckache+headache (and a couple of ibuprofen fixed the rest), though not being able to bend my head forward made reading slightly more of an issue. I suspected it was an issue last time I caught a train, though I was hoping that was purely down to it being a Pendolino on the West Coast Main Line, which is a tilting design, but this time it was the Kent Coast Line and the East Coast Main Line and non-tilting Javelins and 225s. So looks like that may now be a thing - the wheelchair tech pooh-poohed the idea I needed a headrest, not happy to be proved right! (Though fortunately it's limited circumstances where it applies).

The transfer from St Pancras to Kings Cross was fine and I was chatting away for a while with the guy doing passenger assistance, which may have been responsible for him announcing, when he'd been off and found the guard, "Change of plans, we're putting you in First Class" - fine by me, I'll force myself to suffer people trying to ply me with free food and drink. The chicken caesar wrap was tasty, but more wrap than anything, the white wine was very nice and I'd have had a second glass if they'd offered it before York rather than after, given I was getting off at Darlington in 20 minutes.

And it was Darlington where things went very wrong, They got me off the train fine and I was sitting waiting for the 15:54 Bishop Auckland train when I overheard the platform staff taking a message that there were major signal problems at Middlesbrough, which is where the Bishop train comes from. The woman who was doing the passenger assistance came straight over and repeated the bits I'd heard, plus that it might be 18:30 before they got anything moving. They waited 30 minutes, then made the decision to put everyone in taxis, which was about 25 of us. If they'd asked I'd have pointed out I can transfer and that the chair dismantles, but they didn't and a wheelchair taxi quickly turned up. Assuming they'd want to squeeze the maximum number of people aboard I stayed in the chair (plus I'd not travelled in the chair by road before and there was a novelty value). I wish I hadn't, it was worse even than the Pendolino, not helped by there only being one front clamp for the chair, which the driver didn't bother with. I spent the journey with my foot tucked under the seat in front to stop the chair tipping backwards every time he accelerated. I'll pass in future.

But for all that I was only about 45 minutes late, and that included pushing from the station to home as there was no point trying to ring for a taxi when they were likely all half-way to Darlington with the people who'd been waiting at Bishop!

Hopefully the return trip will be smoother!

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
Heading North for three weeks in the morning. I deliberately haven't ordered a MIFI SIM, so expect updates to be intermittent as my folks don't have net access and I'll need to wander over to my sister's if I want to get online. I decided against MIFI in the hope of encouraging myself to make some serious progress on the WIP.

Actually booking the train ticket to get there was an exercise in frustration. I've had enough of trying to book through SouthEastern (my local train company), who always seem to have an issue with me booking the wheelchair space, so I thought I'd try with Virgin instead as it's the Virgin East Coast Main Line segment I need the wheelchair space booking for. I'm also switching to travelling from Rochester rather than Chatham due to better access - the new Rochester station has level access between taxi-ramp and platform, Chatham is more 'Oh my god, oh my god, can I stop in time?!). On checking Virgin's online booking I found that it would actually let me book wheelchair assistance as part of the process. Score - no need to phone them! So last Monday I tried to book, got all the way to it contacting my bank for payment, and my anti-virus decided to throw a spanner in the works. So of course I needed to wait to check it had definitely failed and I hadn't been charged. And similarly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as I tried different options to persuade the AV software to behave, including changing browsers. Eventually I disabled the AV software for the transaction, only to find 1) I could now only pick up the ticket from the station (which I was expecting) and 2) it was telling me I couldn't do that. That seems to have been purely an issue with overnight maintenance, so Friday I went to finish the process.

Enter all the assistance data yet again (it wanted home number, mobile number, email, and wheelchair dimensions(?!?)), all ready to book and I thought I'd better check the seat reservations, which turned out to be the middle of the wrong carriage, both ways. and you can change to any seat but the wheelchair space), so now I have to contact Virgin online, who tell me it's because of people trying to book it for luggage and prams (except you can't book it for luggage or prams) and that I need to phone passenger assistance to book the wheelchair space. So that means I can use the online system to book all the assistance I need to get on and off the train in the chair and save having to phone assistance, but not  the wheelchair space itself. (What happens if I then find all the wheelchair spaces are already booked I have no idea). {Roll Eyes} {Headdesk} {Roll Eyes}

So eventually I got the ticket booked and picked it up from the station, but I started the process Monday evening, and finished Saturday afternoon. I knew travel would be more complicated when I switched to the chair, I had no idea it would be this unnecessarily complicated and just plain irritating!

And of course I have to hope nothing goes wrong tomorrow (current odds based on exising data of being forgotten about , not expected. or assistance turning up at entirely the wrong station, c50%)
davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

I managed to give the new wheels a decent test drive on Saturday, and they're so much better it's ridiculous. It also helps we're finally having some decent weather, though a touch too sticky.

I ended up parked in the further of my two regular parking spots in Rochester, which is about 700m from our regular Saturday haunt on the High Street, so a decent but not excessive push, with a helpful downhill slope going (the height difference is about 40ft). So it's about 50m on the road I park on (no handy kerb cuts to get on the path), across a busy junction into the Vines, a local park, 200m on its paths, which are tarmacced but not exactly flat as the avenue of trees has some major roots under them. Then out into the precinct at the back of the cathedral for about 250m on bricked roads (the paths are partly possible, but the heritage flagstones make them worse than the road and there's one stretch where neither side is passable for a chair), then out onto the main road between Castle and Cathedral, a quick cut through the disabled car park (which you can never park in - only 6 bays, and which they now want to sell for development - grr!) and on to the High Street

I'd realised the chair was significantly better than either the clown chair or the eBay chair as soon as I pushed out of Wheelchair Services on Thursday, but this really showed it off. I'd expected it to be better than the clown chair, that was the whole point of moving to a rigid frame, but not that it would be markedly better than the eBay GPV, which is another rigid. I'm tentatively putting that down to inflatable tyres vs solids (which were an unpleasant surprise on the eBay chair, but at least I didn't end up paying for them). Rolling resistance appears to be significantly less, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres seem to have quite a narrow contact area, in fact I was a bit worried about slowing down at that first junction, which has quite a sharp descent into it. It was fine in the Vines, though I nearly lost it coming out of the park and onto the road behind the Cathedral - there's a driveway I've been using as a kerb cut, but if I'm hitting it that little bit faster then I need to be taking it at closer to a right angle, which means slowing down however I do it.

I'd say the ride on the bricked road was actually better even than the GPV. In the clown chair (which is now back with Wheelchair Services, presumably to be refurbished as a fleet chair) it was literally tooth-rattling, the GPV smoothed that out to a rumble, and with the XLT it's barely even that. Not much to report on the ride past the Castle, apart from motorists who see a wheelchair on the road and freeze like a rabbit in headlights, nor really on the high street, though people who erect scaffolding on the pavement and then block the way through it with barriers for no reason are not my favourites! One definite advantage to the new chair is that I don't need to fold it to get it through the doors of the George Vaults, I still need to get out, two steps up inside the door, but the XLT is light enough to pick up and lift in if I want.

On my own for lunch unfortunately, one set of friends are in France, the other has a sick family member, but no problems getting a table, and I took a chance on the special (a chance as the waitress's description was a bit garbled) and oh, boy was it worth the wait - chicken breast (the bit I heard) on a bed of freshly made ratatouille, with a smear of pesto (the bits I didn't). The ratatouille was absolutely gorgeous.

Back to the car was a bit more of a chore, 40ft uphill rather than downhill. On the bright side I made it almost all the way without stopping, the first time I've actually managed that, though I was close last week. It's pretty clear my shoulders are a problem on even fairly slight upslopes, though there's a slow improvement. And the 'almost' is effectively a mandatory stop, there's a 10m stretch of path that's too steep to safely wheel going uphill. Especially if you've forgotten to put the anti-tips out....

I'm still figuring the best way to fit the dismantled chair into the boot of the car, there may even be a way to do it without dropping any of the back seat (the boot in my Yaris is pathetically tiny), but I need to spend some time experimenting.

Next stop was PC World, checking their ink prices - £10 more than HP? Thanks, I'll pass. I've actually taken all three chairs to PC World to try them out on a decent-sized  flat surface almost as soon as I've gotten them, and the XLT is just a pleasure on that kind of surface (so long as salespeople don't step out in front of you!).

And at least I didn't have to demolish any displays to get into the aisles this time, he says innocently ;)

Then up to Asda for some grocery shopping. Thankfully the XLT will connect to their wheelchair trolleys, the GPV wouldn't, the vee front is too narrow and I was worried I might have to revert to online orders only if the XLT wouldn't fit them. Of course they were a) in the middle of restocking, with pallets of stuff blocking my way everywhere I went, and b) they'd decided to rearrange all the aisles so no one could find anything, which made it a thoroughly irritating experience. But at least the chair was a non-issue; well, until the trolley broke free as I wheeled to the car and pivoted out into the roadway. So only just connects, I guess.

Back home after that, and asleep on the sofa from 7PM til Midnight, sigh. My body is all too predictable in its reaction to exertion.

New chair!

Jul. 7th, 2016 05:06 pm
davidgillon: A pair of legs (mine) sitting in a wheelchair (GPV)
New chair! Picked it up from Wheelchair Services this afternoon.

Far better than the old chair, you can tell that the moment you start to push, but with a couple of minor niggles. The back is higher than expected, nearly as high as the old chair, where I have to use it folded, but as it's the correct width, that isn't quite such an issue. And the cushion set-up isn't ideal, the lower part of my thigh isn't properly supported.

We've agreed I'll give it a couple of weeks in the current setup before doing anything, but if I want they'll chop the uprights and push handles off level with the top of the upholstery and/or swap me to a three inch cushion rather than the two inch they've given me. I'm pretty certain after sitting in it for a couple of hours and getting uncomfortable that we will be going for the three inch cushion. I've temporarily added a one-inch underneath and that seems to be better, but I can't really tell if it's a complete solution until the discomfort wears off and I can start from scratch.

Getting it into the car is slightly more complex than the old one (cushion off, skirtguards off, fold back, wheels off, lift), and needs part of the back seat dropped as my boot is tiny and it's a rigid frame, but the weight to be lifted is trivial compared to the lump that was the old one.

Side-on view of a rigid framed wheelchair

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

I was actually planning to ring Wheelchair Services today and chase them up about my new chair, their 65 days to deliver being about up, but they just rang me to say I've an appointment next Thursday to pick it up.


* Yes, I'm like a kid with a new bike.

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)

Having bought a set of hex keys (thanks to [personal profile] kaberett for the Gorilla Grip recommendation) I finally took the eBay chair apart and put it back together to suit me (well, as much as a chair two inches too narrow can be made to). Hopefully it'll no longer wheelie if I breathe in too sharply, and both the brakes now grip the tyres, rather than just one and a bit.

Took the upholstery off too, and gave it a bit of a clean. The back definitely seems to have been meant for a chair with a back twice as high, and there was so much dirt and leaf litter in the velcro I think they must have been using it on a farm! I've left the side skirts off for the moment, they were being forced outwards by the cushion I'm using, so weren't really working and I think the extra bulk at the back was making the upholstery fit worse - both they and the back had padded sleeves to go over the uprights, and you could only use one at a time, so the other ended up folded under.

The front castors still need either replacing, or a new set of tyres, but hopefully I should be able to use it now without it wheelie-ing every time I try to go up a kerb cut or wheel up a slope. Which does not help!

And hopefully Sods Law means Wheelchair Services will promptly ring me to say the new custom-built titanium chair is ready to pick up ;)
davidgillon: Dina Meyer as Oracle, sitting a manual chair in front of a clock face (Wheelchair)
So last night I found out that there had been a breakdown in communication and the wheelchair vendor had in fact paid for return postage a week ago.

But that just showed up another issue, eBay expect me to take it to the Post Office.

It's a wheelchair, it's large, it's bulky, once it's wrapped it won't even roll.

I'm a wheelchair user.

How do they expect me to get it there? Balanced on my head?


I was particularly unhappy with the eBay phone operator's ''But who looks after you? Who gets your groceries?' Seriously?

Equally unimpressed by 'Put me through to your complaints department." "We don't have one" (Yet then gave me an address at the end of the conversation).

*grumble* *mutters darkly*



davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

I have, after 9 months, managed to send off a request to Wheelchair Services saying assess me, dammit!

It took so long my GP, who told me to send it, retired between the first draft of the letter and the final one. Fortunately the new one agreed too.

Now I just have to wait and see if they turn me down flat like they did the first two times. Though I think 'your wheelchair* is so utterly inappropriate it's making my disability worse' probably ensures they'll have to do something.

*Yes, they refused me an assessment, but dumped the cheapest of cheap wheelchairs on my doorstep.

davidgillon: Dina Meyer as Oracle, sitting a manual chair in front of a clock face (Wheelchair)

I stumbled across a rather good 5yo titanium 'chair for sale on ebay at the end of last week, with about £1000 worth of extras on board, say £3000 to buy at current prices. I wasn't looking with intent to buy there and then, more idle interest while otherwise bored, but that was a good enough chair, and close enough to the configuration I've been planning on that I would have been stupid not to bid. So I checked it out with [personal profile] kaberett and we agreed it would definitely suit me as an interim main 'chair/long term spare,

I worked out what I was willing to spend, put a bid in, and was the leading bidder right up until about 90 seconds before the auction closed, when someone pipped me. I upped my bid a bit, but they instantly outbid me, and I wasn't about to get into a bidding war with someone's clearly pre-emptive strike, so I let it go. Someone got a bargain for £560. :(

But that did clarify in my mind that I want a rigid-framed chair sooner rather than later, my current non-rigid chair is almost a pastiche of what a good chair should be (I've taken to referring to it as 'the clown chair', that's it in the icon). So I was poking at several different auctions over the weekend, trying to find a chair that met my requirements for a reasonable price. Nothing quite fit, too small a seat, too far away to collect, and so on. Then I checked again Monday morning, as I couldn't sleep, meaning to have another look at the Quickie GPV with the too small seat and figure out if there was a way around that/if I could tolerate it, and found two new GPVs had gone up last night, both with Buy Now prices (and blue frames, not purple, definite plus - c.f. my accidentally purple laptop). I checked a couple of details with the vendor, the front castor set-up is a little weird in the pictures, but that's reconfigurable, and the tyres were caked with mud, making it impossible to tell the state of the tread, but the answers were positive (nearly new tyres), and so I'm now the owner of a GPV.

It's not as good a chair as the one I first bid on, aluminium rather than titanium frame, and without all the extras, but it is about £1400 worth of rigid chair for £250 including postage, which is less than I'd have to pay for one of the mass-market non-rigids. And so now I'm waiting for delivery (probably for the end of the week, depending on when the vendor gets it couriered), and of course the damned brain weasels are circling, throwing out scenarios for everything that could go wrong. But hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a chair that will do a reasonable job of meeting my needs until I can persuade Wheelchair Services to give me the precise configuration I need, or at least give me enough of an assessment I'm confident enough to go pay full price to buy it privately.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

September 2017

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