I have not written for quite a while, the main reasons if I am honest are that I have been really busy with my court compensation case and secondly, which is probably more the case, because I have been worried about what I may end up putting on the page. For a few months now I have been up and down like a gigolo’s ass. I am quite proud of how I have coped since joining the cripple club but lately it has become a struggle resulting in some really unpleasant outburst of vocal expression shall we say mixed with some vocalised thinking that once I have calmed down, have actually made me think. One such episode happened today. My Wife had left me in my wheelchair and as settled as and sorted as I could be in order for her to attend a gym session which is her time to herself. I had needed to go to the bathroom which I did and once I had finished what I was doing I lifted myself in my chair just to adjust myself. To do this I have to lift myself by putting my hands on my wheels and pushing down thus lifting myself up. So as I have done many times over the last four years, I did exactly that but this time it all went really wrong.
As I pushed down on my wheels the right wheel gave way and separated from the chair. This obviously meant that there was nothing holding the chair and I up and so it tipped over to the right and backwards and this left me on the floor. Sounds simple right? Well, wrong! I am in my chair but tipped backwards leaving me with my bent neck leaning against the radiator. To my right was the toilet which left the detached wheel wedged between the toilet and me in the chair which is of course leaning towards the wheel meaning that I cannot get the wheel out. In front of me is the bath which my chair is also wedged against enough for me to be unable to try to shuffle forwards. As the left wheel is still attached I am unable to roll or try to escape the chair to my left. So, I am in the house on my own. The front door is locked meaning that even if I can call someone, they cannot get in. I cannot move in any way shape or form and just to add to the shits and giggles my body is constantly in spasm. All I can do is go with it and hope that the spasms square themselves away real quick.
It was twenty minutes before I was able to move any sense without the spasms locking me back up again, and so with a hell of a lot of swearing and shouting I managed to lift my left leg out and to the left of the left wheel. Next I lifted my right leg, well, I attempted to but this caused a spasm which not only put my right leg back to whence it started but threw my left leg back to it’s original place too. It was a further five or six attempts before I managed to get my legs out and to “roll” myself free of the chair. After righting myself I then had to move the chair and look at the damage or rather exactly what had happened. There are two pins that hold the axle sleeves in place in the axle tube. The axle sleeves are what the wheels lock in to. The pins were missing having obviously having fallen out over a period of time so when I pushed on the wheels, there was nothing to combat the force I was applying and as such the axle sleeve whilst still holding on to the wheel, came away. This was clearly a real pain in the ass which was going to cause me a real problem but then I saw what else had happened, and this was where round five, no six, or was it seven? Anyway, it was where the next outburst came from and believe me, this time I was REALLY PISSED OFF.
Attached to my axle tube are brackets for my anti tip bars, these as the name would suggest, prevent me from going over backwards when the chair is tipped back. These I had when I first purchased the chair so that I would not tip over backwards when learning to find the balance point of the chair. They are not something that I leave in because firstly I am more than comfortable with being able to balance on the back wheels but secondly, they are in the way when dropping down curbs. I do however use them if my spasms are really bad. Anyway, about the brackets. They had obviously been in contact with the floor when I collapsed and whilst spasms were kicking off, and I was trying to get out of the chair, they had cut and torn the lino on the floor. So now I not only had to face the expense of getting my chair sorted but I also have to fork out for new lino in the bathroom. NOT HAPPY! So after my Wife returned from the gym and helped me get back in to the chair I then had to go to Exeter to go and get the chair looked at, a temporary repair to hold the axle sleeves in whilst I await a new axle tube, sleeves and a few other things for the chair to put it right. God knows how much that is gonna cost but without the chair I can’t get around so it is not something I have a choice in. Still, although I ended up with a bang on the head, a slightly strained neck and proper painful shoulder (which brings a shit load of problems on it’s own), there is always someone worse off.
So that was today. Thought I would share so I could show an unexpected problem that whilst may seem simple, a wheel falling off of my wheelchair, but how where it happens mixed with the effect it has on my body can cause it to be far from simple and possibly even dangerous. On a different note though, October the 10th I shall be attempting to reach the summit of Ben Nevis and then on the 11th, Scarfel Pike. I was a bit disappointed when I did not quite make it to the top of Snowdon but really proud of how far up I did manage to get. So I am really looking forward to the challenge of the next two. Really chuffed as well that my Daughter also wants to take the challenge. So please, donate to my page and help me support SSAFA, Care for Casualties and ABF The Soldiers Charity so that they can continue to help the military personnel and families of those who have, like me, served in our Armed Forces. Thanks in advance.