I wanted to try pushing my wheelchair outdoors, so we went to this section of pathway near Edworthy park. A path straight and sloped slightly downhill, so it should be great, right? Not so much. The pathway has a slight sideways slope to it, and I’m not strong enough yet to be able to keep going in a straight line. I needed continual help with steering to avoid rolling off the side of path. After going 300 m, I decided to call it an evening. This is the farthest I’ve pushed my wheelchair outdoors, so that is a good start.
I think next I will try pushing the chair in an indoor shopping mall. I may have more luck with that.
One of the unexpected pleasures in my life after my accident is to have someone like Amanda come into my life. She has been a valued mentor as well as a shining example of determination. Though she was injured at the T5 level and her injury is classified as complete paraplegia, that is to say she has no sensation or function from nerves below her injury-level, she has made remarkable progress. In this photo, she is out for her daily walk! Some days she has walked up to 1 km distance. She does this with the aid of braces that stop her legs from collapsing and provide support for her trunk. By leaning slightly from side to side, she is able to get each leg to advance slightly. Why go through this laborious process? She says: if you want to walk again, then walk.
Amanda is also using my FES bike several times a week to build up muscles in her legs, so this gives me lots of opportunity to pose questions and ask for advice.
By the way, here is her bio.
Until now, I have been pushing my manual chair from my room to the dining room and back again. I am averaging about 6 minutes per lap, for about 30 meters in tone. Not very fast!
The total length inside the house is considerably longer: from one end of the hallway to the far end of the opposite wing is about 40 meters, as measured by my GPS.
On Wednesday evening, I started a new circuit, rolling from one end of the building to the far end and back again. Now the laps are about 80 meters . In about an hour and a half, I completed 8 of these larger laps, for a total of about 650 meters. That’s a third further than I have previously rolled! My next goal will be to work my way up to pushing one kilometer. After a day or two of rest, of course!
On Tuesday evening I managed to surpass my previous mark, and complete 15 laps to the dining room and back. I estimate this amounts to about 450 meters.
The following morning I tried pushing my manual chair outside and could get absolutely nowhere. I guess my arms were warn out!
Up until now, I have been pushing my manual chair indoors: that is, on a nice hard laminated floor with no bumps or irregularities. Well, I notice every tiny incline or slight bump, but most people would be impervious to them. I have been curious as to whether I could push a manual chair outdoors, that is, in the real world. Out there , services are not flat, nor smooth. So today, I ventured outside for the first time.
The original plan was to find a nice smooth section of river Pathway, but most of the pathways are closed due to flooding, and in addition my vehicle’s battery had died. So I settled for trying to make a lap around my residence.
With a great deal of effort, I was able to push my way all around the building and back to my starting point, a total of 140 meters according to my GPS. However I needed quite a few course corrections as the paving stones had a slight sideways lean to them. And one 5 meters stretch was too steep for me to push my way up. Next time, I’ll try going around the house in a counterclockwise direction, as that will take advantage of my stronger right arm.
I don’t think I’ll be jumping curbs and rolling onto a city bus with my manual chair anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that eventually I might have an alternative to just rolling up and down inside the house.
Last night I got some more practice with my manual wheelchair. In an hour and a quarter, I completed 13 laps from my bedroom to the dining room and back, making all the turns at each end by myself. In this video with two segments, I am turning around at my bedroom door and then pushing down the hallway. This may give you a sense of how difficult it is to move a manual chair when you are a high-level quadriplegic instead of a paraplegic. But hey, it’s all good: I don’t think any of the stuff at the hospital would ever expect me to push a manual chair at all.