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My son is getting his first electric wheelchair

My son is getting his first electric wheelchair

My son is getting his first electric wheelchair
I've been very very busy and stressed lately. I sat the goddamn theory test, I'm almost embarrassed to say, nearly a year ago.
 
 

Every single time I attempt to book a lesson, Murphy's law steps in or that voice that tells you ‘sure ya can’t do it now, ya might as well leave it for another while’ - I'm pretty sure it's a little from column A and column B, to be totally honest. I was having a moment after the rush of my sisters wedding recently , when I thought, yes , now is the time to book that first lesson. Just do it.

And so I took out the phone and it rang. It rang in my hand.

It was Ethan's OT (occupational therapist) The OT has been trying to use some of the recently approved (yippee) funding for Ethan's needs to get him an electric wheelchair. The phone call was to tell me that an electric wheelchair would be dropped over to our house next Wednesday for a few hours , for me to get used to it. I was also advised to either sit in it myself or get a friend to, until I got used to it. Oddly, I was told to map the estate so I know which route to take when bringing Ethan out in it. I say oddly because, let me tell you folks, with this new chair I am going to have to walk 20 plus minutes to get to the park which is 3 minutes away from me. Dips in the paths don’t correspond with dips in the paths across the road --- how odd is that ? 

I nearly dropped the phone. 

There were a few immediate reasons why panic and dread were my first feelings: 
  • The control pad on this thing is like a game console ; I don’t play compter games and the last time I tried was circa James Bond on the Nintendo 64; I did however have that ‘duck’ game down to a fine art. (If you’ve no clue what I am referring too, I envy your youth ) 
  • I get mixed up with my left and right. I often look the wrong way when crossing the road. 
  • And as for my sense of direction; you’d be  better off asking my toddler for directions. 
The realisation of Ethan needing an electric chair weighed heavily on my shouldersThe reality of it all hit me as I pondered all the ‘stuff’ that will change, once again. 
Our car and how unsuitable it is , despite being a people carrier. The possible costs , made a shiver dance along my spine. Getting Ethan out and about would be very very different; all the routes and all that planning.

I needed to see the humour in it - I needed some light hearted banterI got off the phone and let my closest, most helpful , supportive friends know of my predicament. They fought over which one of them would get the spin in the chair and wondered if I had a helmet , knee pads and elbow pads all while telling me “You’ll be grand Ger, these things are for a ‘just incase’ situation ”. Yes, my friends are excellent at making these huge changes in our lives; ‘normal’ . They help me forget , forget our reality every once in awhile, as they joke about about my fantastic abilities. 

I have mapped a route around our estate and I hate to say it but I am going to have to go onto the road with the chair. I did wonder could this be classified as my first driving lesson? If I get the ‘L’ plates onto the chair and have to use the road, sure isn’t it almost the same thing?  I’m kidding; not about having to go onto the road - 2017 and still, a newly developed estate isn’t as wheelchair friendly, as I thought it was.  

I’m kidding about using the ‘L’ plates (sort of) but I have got the knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet ready for my first victim, passenger , I mean passenger. For those of you who don’t know; an electric wheelchair cannot go up and down an average kerb like a manual chair can  - making it very hard to just ‘up and go’ without a planned route.

In time, I do hope I’ll get used to it and be able to use some of my ‘rules of the road’ knowledge to get us about the place but also to give me some badly needed confidence , so I finally pick up that damn phone and organise my first driving lesson... Oh, and if any of you happen to have ‘L’ plates, hi vis vests, a spare helmet (one for me ) and have a clever way to remind me which is left and which is right; don’t be shy.

I’d also welcome tips, tricks and how to’s when using an electric wheelchair!

Wish me luck and I suppose some luck for my dear friend S ,who is looking forward to her spin around our estate! 
 
Written by Ger Renton, who keeps us up to date on her family life with Ethan & co.
Ger won best newcomer 2016 at the Irish Blog Awards!
Follow her on facebook at "It’s me and Ethan" and check out her amazing blog at geraldinerenton.com