Getting my wheels back

[Smiling white woman with shoulder length brown hair and glasses,
 wearing blue leggings and a green top, sat in a wheelchair.
Early on in lockdown my every-day wheelchair got a flat tyre - the kind which goes flat again within minutes of being pumped up. Not only that, but I realised that both were almost completely bald and the blue innards of the tyre were starting to show through.

This is a relatively easy fix: call to the local bike shop, and it'll be fixed within 24 hours.

Only COVID19 meant our local bike shop is extremely busy, and the demand for everything bike-related has massively increased. Including the demand for tyres.

I'm lucky in that I have 2 other manual chairs

  •  a foldable one that I can foot propel in (i.e. walk myself around with my feet) which is my usual 'inside the house' chair because it makes carrying stuff easier. It's really uncomfortable though as the seat position makes my pelvis shout if I sit in it for more than a couple of minutes. 
  • a second hand rigid frame cyclone - sturdy, with BMX tyres, over 20 years old, with worn bearings and lots of squeaks. It's heavy going to push. I rarely use it unless going off-road somewhere that I can't take my powerchair.
So life outside my house has been a lot harder - things like trips to the supermarket and going for a 'walk' to get some exercise. And much higher pain levels after going out-and-about. But I got used to it. It was much better than being completely house-bound.

And then last week I got my wheels back. All fixed. 

It was....beautiful. I had forgotten how liberating and joyous a well-suited chair is.

To sit in security and comfort, able to turn and move with the lightest of pressures. 

Have you ever roller-skated on gravelly tarmac? Where it's really hard going, and each push seems to hardly get you anywhere? And then suddenly switched to a perfectly smooth, wide space? And suddenly it is gloriously smooth and you feel like you could skate to the moon and anything is possible? Well, getting my chair back was like that. 

A moment of pure joy. Overflowing thankfulness for my chair.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have a well fitting chair. And I have back up chairs. For many people unsuitable chairs are all they have access to - in many places what the NHS can offer is so limited, even with the voucher scheme, that unless you have at least £1k to put towards a chair you can't get the right one for you.

The right wheels really are life changing.