Friday, 23 February 2018

Say Hello To My New Powerchair

Last year after months and months of struggling with a powerchair that did not fit my needs or my body, I began fundraising to get me some new wheels which would hopefully enable me to participate in daily life without unbearable pain and discomfort. Never did I think that I would be writing this post so soon, we raised the funds in an incredible amount of time and even now, months on from when we hit that important goal, it still hasn't sunk in.


I thought I should start off by gladly telling you that my old powerchair was donated to a very good home just days after I received my new one. It's gone to someone who was in a similar position to me nearly 2 years ago; using a manual wheelchair pushed by family. I am confident that it will make a big difference to the person's life.

I've only had my new powerchair for a few weeks but already it has enabled me to do things that for years had seemed impossible. I recently took my Mum to see Les Miserables in London, she's wanted to go for as long as I can remember and for years I have promised I'd take her. We both spoke about how odd it felt for me to be out the house all day, without any pain induced tears. Neither of us could remember the last time a day like that occurred. The small things matter just as much though, like not having to rush to my bed to lay down after a trip out the house, now I can stay sitting up with my family for a while, I can ask them about their day, spend time with my nephew. I can go on trips further away from my home, without worrying about finding somewhere to lay down or needing to hurry home to do so. I can say yes to more invitations to speak at events, work with charities and do the activism work I love so much. Doors are opening that I'd presumed would stay shut forever.

I've already filled my social media with photos but I knew that I wanted to book in to shoot with Kaye again as soon as I could once the powerchair had arrived. My first shoot with her filled me with so much confidence, whilst I'd already embraced my disability I felt it helped me to look at myself and my powerchair in a totally different light. My old powerchair didn't fit my body or needs though and that was reflected within my self-esteem and body image. Someone said that I look like I could take on the world in these photos and that is exactly how I feel now.


My powerchair is a Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0 and has electric recline, legs, tilt and an electric rise function which brings me up to eye level with people standing. The electric tilt has proven to be more invaluable than I predicted and you can see in these photos that the seat is slightly tilted back, being able to drive in a tilted position is doing wonders for my pain. The electric recline and legs combine to allow me to relieve my pain in an almost flat position, a little like a bed on wheels! The 10 inch rise function is the one that has gained the most attention, I've had many strangers tell me how impressive it is whilst out and about. It allows me to reach things on higher shelves, sit at higher tables and be at the same level as people standing, it can be a little isolating being lower down than everyone during social interactions so it makes a big difference to be able to rise up and join in with conversations with ease. It gives me independence and endless social benefits, I so wish the NHS would consider funding this function as it would make a huge difference to so many lives.


The seat is oh so comfy and everything fits my measurements, compared to my previous one size fits all powerchair! The backrest doesn't come all the way up to my neck as my fused spine supports my posture quite well and the gap allows me to reach round to the back of the chair with ease, something that is important to me for independence. On the back are push handles, for if I should ever break down and the chair needs to be pushed manually, and small clips to securely attach bags to, no more hanging bags off my armrest! It's small accessories like that which appealed to me when trying out the powerchair. I have also have phone holder and cup holder attachments which connect to the end of my left armrest, you can see the phone holder in the photos. Both are extremely useful! The controller and joystick, this is what I use to control the powerchair, can be swung to the side to allow me to get close to tables as well. Another small feature that makes a big difference.

I went for all black for the colour, I wanted a sleek look, and I'm so glad I did! I feel like I would probably grow bored of a bright colour eventually, black never goes out of fashion after all. One thing that I've talked about a little is how I'm able to wear heels now, it's a minor point that doesn't hold much importance compared to the life changing differences that have been made to my life, but it means something to me nonetheless.

One of my favourite things about this powerchair compared to my old one is that there are so many small adjustments that can be made easily. I can change the armrest height and angle, footplate height and more just with an allen key! Small adjustments can make a big difference and it's even better that I can do them myself, increasing my independence further.


I really could talk about this all day, it's been more life changing than I dreamed. Sometimes you don't know how bad your situation is until you've got through it and can look backwards. I was missing out on so much, convinced myself that I had no interest in the things I was missing out on but now that more doors are open, I find myself wanting to do everything possible. I just have to remember that I still get fatigued easily and I still have chronic pain! I can see how it will be easy for me to over do it now that I have the right tools to help me. I've got a lot of catching up to do though!

I really cannot say thank you enough to everyone who made this possible, whether you donated or simply shared the link, it all got me to this point. The support I received was truly overwhelming, I convinced myself that no one would want to help after having to fundraise just 18 months prior but I was proven wrong very quickly. You've all given me the greatest gift I ever could receive and my family and I are grateful every single day.

Dress: Daisy Street | Bag: Monki | Shoes: ASOS | Jacket: New Look

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5 comments

  1. You look so confident and fierce Shona! The chair looks awesome and suits you - sounds like a weird thing to say, but I think because it’s made to your measurements!

    I’m so proud and happy that so many people gave a shit and helped out. I’m excited to see what you do in the future with regards to your activism, now that the world is more accessible to you.

    Xx

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    1. Thank you so much Tiffany! It makes such a difference when your wheelchair is measured exactly to yourself xx

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  2. The chair looks awesome.It fits you so well! I have recently been given the go-ahead to have a power chair and although I can't wait to get it, it does look very bulky and does not fit all my requirements totally. I really hope to get a chair like yours in the future. I also suffer with accute pain as well as my SCI and truly need the freedom that a chair like that would give me. Anyway I wish you all the luck in the world with your new chair and hope it brings you great independence and happiness. x

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    1. My old powerchair was a one size fits all model so I'm really glad to have something that fits my measurements now! Is this an NHS chair? I really wish they would branch out and use other companies, instead of using the same companies and same chairs. Our needs vary so much, we should have access to the whole market!

      Thank you! I hope you get something that suits your needs too x

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  3. The chair sounds amazing & I’m so glad that it is helping you with you day to day activity’s & feeling like you are now more confident when your out & about.
    Take Care

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