By Natasha Lipman.
It took me a long time to come to terms with deciding to become a wheelchair user, but when I knew that I was ready it was like a switch flicked in my brain. For the first time in years, I had a ‘real job’, and even the few hours a week I went in the office were a significant physical struggle. It was like the push I needed to realise I needed a chair, and looking back I wish I’d let myself get there a year or two earlier. Think of all the pain and fatigue I could have saved myself! But I guess it doesn’t make sense to dwell on what could have been.
Once I made that decision, I had to actually start looking for a powerchair, and it was a daunting experience. The only wheelchairs I had ever used were the awfully big and awfully uncomfortable manual ones you can rent at public places, or my grandma’s old (and super comfy) manual chair that’s made for short people just like me. As much as I liked this chair, it gave me zero independence because I’m unable to self-propel due to issues with my back, shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers, as well as fatigue. Standard.
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