So on the advice of assorted helper folks I now have a wheelchair.
It’s made by Drive and the model is called Cougar. It was kind of fun to notice most chairs have model names like that – viper, pride, and I even saw one called the Jazzy.
I got it at Big Apple Mobility from a guy named Alex. He was super duper awesome.
It was kind of intriguing to be treated like this was no big deal, like I was placing an order for a burrito or something.
“Your condition temporary or permanent?“, he asked.
“Permanent“, I replied.
“Ok – so that’s a purchase and not a rental, right?“, Alex offered.
I was amazed to learn every single question was like that. From my size, to where I intended to go, to my level of experience.
Unless you are a member of the ‘wheeler club’ you probably don’t know what anti-tip wheels are – but my new chair has them firmly installed right now. Think of them like training wheels on a bicycle, I guess that’s what they are.
One important skill I need to learn is the “wheelie”, I am on a quest for my COG. That stands for center of gravity in case you didn’t know. It is awesome that wheelchair life has that in common with geek life, three letter acronyms are just the most fun.
So the anti-tip wheels prevent me for going over backward and bashing my head as I learn how to do wheelies.
The goal is to be able to pop a wheelie and hold it for 30 seconds – and then to roll while I am in a wheelie. Once I can do that reliably the anti-tip training wheels come off.
So now I am hanging out at my office and rolling around in a chair.
It’s actually pretty awesome and I’m having a very nice low pain day – which I think is the result of not trying to stand on my neuropathy legs.
I went out to Union Square today and even successfully crossed a street on wheels. Funny, but it’s actually easier to navigate the park in a chair, the crowd gives you more room.
My heart is heavy and a bit confused about all of this. I’m really glad to have my new chair, but I am also realizing that having one verifies my change in status. I’ve been disabled for quite awhile now – having my own chair makes that much more real somehow.
I wonder about how these feelings might help my heart and mind grow.
I’m a Tibetan Buddhist and I try to pray every day. Recently I changed one of my daily prayers.
It used to be: “Medicine Buddha, Please help me to heal my legs and to learn from my teacher pain”.
Now I say: “Medicine Buddha, please help me to heal and to learn from my teacher pain”.
I’m excited to learn what “healed” really is for me – and I am gratefully accepting that – in this lifetime at least – healed might not be my legs working like they used to.
Until Next Time,