STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.
WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility.
I was chatting away to BigP today and she mentioned how one of her client’s had been given a wildly unsuitable wheelchair after being assessed by hospital staff. How could this happen, we pondered?
Loads of us wheelchair users complain about how uncomfortable we are in our chairs. Why don’t we say something?
Those who work in the disability industry deal with huge numbers of us. Why aren’t they better at their job?
Well, we concluded, it’s like learning a foreign language, isn’t it? The professionals speak the language but have forgotten that the newbies don’t ... and don't want to!
We, newbies, recognise the language but are just not interested in it. Pidgin wheelchair is all we ever thought we would need... and we do not want to know any more!
When we buy a wheelchair, we say, ‘I want a wheelchair.’
They say, ‘do you want ambulant, self-propelling, sports, light-weight, fold-away, aluminium, steel, electric, manual, bariatric, rigid, sports wheels, hard tyres, soft tyres, leather, fabric, flexible, rigid, head rest, detachable foot plates, swing-away arms, gel cushion, seatbelt? Do you have a budget?’
We say, ‘my back hurts…and my legs…and now, my head. I want a black one.’
We get a black one but our backs still hurt…and our legs…and our head.
Parlez-vous…wheelchair? I was always crap at languages!
On 9 Mar 2009, at 13:06, Robin wrote:
Hi Ellie, loved the website...but do want a bright chair !!
I am looking into getting Balder for use as drive from wheelchair option and wondered if you have any advise, aas I noted you may not be using yours in that mode, I am also stuck between front or rear wheel drive..at these prices you just gotta get it right.
On 9 Mar 2009, at 16:20,eLle replied:
Thank you for your kind words on my site and do keep dropping in for the new stuff. Re the Balder:
I love my Balder wheelchair as it is the most comfortable, flexible, robust chair that I have ever been in. It is expensive but I have had mine for about seven years with no serious problems and it is still going strong. I have found the people at Balder great but they were taken over last year by a company called ETAC. So far, I have seen no changes in service or product and most of the people are pretty much the same - a good thing, I think.
I do not use my Balder to drive but have been a passenger in it, in the Kia Sedona. For me, it provided a more stable driving chair to ride in than the manual wheelchairs I have otherwise been driven in. You know how you get that double movement effect in a car - the car moves AND so does the wheelchair frame...not always in the same direction?! It can make you feel a bit seasick! I had much less of that in the Balder because it is just more stable and substantial and, with the capacity to adjust the seat position and height, I was able to find my own comfort level. I think this flexibility of seat position and height would be a great help if I were driving too as it just increases access to the surrounding area. Of course the down side of its' substance - weight - is that the Balder does not have such easy access to some places as a lighter wheelchair once you get where-ever - bit more tricky to get up a step or two. From all the discussions I have had during my - so far unresolved - search for a WAV, Balder's lock down mechanism for their chair is second to none for safety. You may know that Balder have been exploring 'drive from car options' and may be able to let you test both chair and driving - definitely worth chatting to them about this to explore possibilities...not that it worked for me - my experience with Balders drive option here http://www.stilettowheels.co.uk/lifestyle/swlstylesept07.html - it was a Volkswagon G or T5...and I hated it! I also suspect my neurological deficits are too widespread to make driving a reality for me! And you should bear in mind that I am the most pathetically cowardly wheelchair user on the planet!
Finally - and you thought I would never end! - my chair is rear wheeldrive. I was advised that this is the best option for easy maneouvring and I do find it pretty easy. It makes it a bit like driving a car and I tend to reverse around corners and into tight spaces. As the wheels spin to change direction, you do need a little wiggle room. I do have a few marks on the paintwork but, on the plus side, the house is still standing. And, although, I am a black kinda gal, I think they will light you up in a funky colour on request.
Good luck, hope this helps... I am in my chair all day and every day, pretty much and I have no complaaints to make. The Balder totally rocks for me so, on balance, I would strongly recommend it, despite the horrendous price! Let me know how you get on and, more importantly to me, what WAV are you going for? All the best,