After 2 months, they finally got the joystick controller on my wheelchair replaced and I am on the road again.
In these days when I was pretty much confined to my house, I learned a lot. I learned how to get groceries delivered (Only one store in Memphis will take SNAP food benefits, Aldi’s, which often has limited stock). I became more comfortable asking for help. I adjusted. And since I was sick for a lot of September, it wasn’t as if I could go anywhere anyway.
I also learned that taking walks is a huge part of my creative process. These warm fall days have been so beautiful, but I couldn’t really stroll the neighborhood or the nearby park in that janky loaner chair they gave me. Now that I’m mobile again, all kinds of ideas are percolating.
When the service guys came to install the joystick, I told them what a terrible loaner chair it is, and asked why they didn’t have more and better chairs for when a repair is going to take a long time. They said their company services East Tennessee, North Mississippi, and East Arkansas. They have 10 loaner chairs. They go through times when they aren’t needed, then all of the sudden, all of them are loaned out. I also asked why they didn’t keep joysticks on hand. They said there were too many different kinds for different kinds of chairs, so it would be too expensive to keep them on hand, and they’d have to have a shop the size of Amazon. And the insurance paperwork delays things.
But it bothers me that they didn’t have more compassion for me and others with mobility impairments, that they weren’t able to provide me with a safe wheelchair so I could get around the neighborhood. And it bothers me that I had to ask for a loaner chair, that one wasn’t offered as part of the service. I have a manual chair, but I’m not strong enough to use it all the time. And I certainly can’t use it on these cracked and bumpy sidewalks in my neighborhood. It was a huge adjustment in my life, and they didn’t seem to care at all.
Yesterday, I got to go to the grocery store all by myself. I visited parts of the neighborhood I hadn’t seen in two months — gardens, wild growth, cute houses, decaying houses, trees I love, and, of course, road construction. Halloween decorations are up here and there — always interesting to see how and what people put up for the season. I can go in my yard and off road a little bit. This chair can handle up to 3 inches of curbs or street cracks. And it supports my back and the seat is right depth for my legs.
It felt so good.
And now I have a huge poncho that folds up and I can carry with me where ever I go, so if I get caught in a gullywasher again, I can protect my chair’s control mechanism.
I still have to wait a month to get a new cushion for the chair. But while I was using the janky torture chair (really, if a chair doesn’t fit your body and doesn’t have good shock absorbers, it can cause all kinds of old aches and pains to arise, not to mention the possibility of pressure sores), one of my patrons gave me the money to buy a cushion that helped tremendously. So now I’m using it on my chair. (What great support! My supporters on Patreon also helped because I had enough money to get things delivered. People are so kind!)
Life is good.
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