Thursday, May 03, 2007

Power Chair Mishaps or, Beware the Chair!

You've all seen those power chair adds where everyone is tooling smoothly along with nary a mishap, right? Lies, all lies! They have been neatly choreographed, the maneuvers diligently rehearsed and my guess on takes would be about twenty. Now I will tell you the rest of the story. Power chairs are awesome, there is no doubt about it, but getting the hang of handling one is a challenge, at best. I've been using one for nearly a year and still find myself in awkward, and sometimes hilarious situations.

I'll start with speed. My chair has five speeds forward, one being a crawl and five powering me up to the equivalent of speed walking. Reverse is slow but relative to my forward motion. I usually power around the house on three, comfortable enough to feel safe, usually, but fast enough to make me feel like I'm getting somewhere. The problem here is judgement, which also raises another problem, spacial awareness.

Suffice it to say that all our door jambs are missing paint at the level of my bumpers, our kitchen cabinets have an artistic looking collection of long scuffs where I missed turning on that proverbial dime, and I managed to shear the knob off a drawer with the arm of the chair. In my own defence, our home is old, small, maneuvering is tricky, and most damage was incurred early on, which brings me to...

Backing up. I have backed into chairs, tables and footstools, succeeding in rearranging much of our furniture. Let me state here that I was a very good driver, really! My husband, who is also a good driver and can make driving a bulldozer look like child's play, thought I was being careless and decided to teach me a lesson. He hopped into my chair, turned, and with a look of male superiority, drove smack into the phone table. He no longer picks on me.

But the best was the day I was headed out of doors to sit in the sun and read. I had managed to get the door open and the chair aimed for the first ramp onto the porch, ready to roll. What I neglected to notice was that I had inadvertently hit the speed button which was now reading five. I grabbed the joy stick and, to my horror and surprise, my chair and I shot through the door like a rocket, down the ramp, onto the porch and on down the second ramp into the yard before I ever knew what was happening. After the wave of adrenalin and fear wore off, the full picture of what I must have looked like registered and I dissolved into fits of laughter.


Blogger Tammy said...

This was a priceless visual Spike! Did you do the bobblehead thing as you shot out to the yard? LOL

They tried to put me in a brand new $12,000 chair and after putting two holes in the wall, it has sat in my garage glaring at me for 5yrs.

Be careful speed racer! XXOO

1:57 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Pam - You are a hoot! I'm thinking that picture is a great 'impression' of your launch.

I've always wondered about those ads and now you've revealed the reality behind those amazing chairs. I smiled when you recounted your husband's attack on the phone table.

You writing is as visually engaging as your art. I enjoy both.

9:22 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Oh Pam--wish someone had a video cam to capture it all.
I especially love the detail about the little lesson from your husband! Nothing like experience to temper one's pride.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Oh, this is funny, and it reminds me of my days when I worked as a caregiver in assisted living. I saw a lot of those special vehicles. I was impressed especially by a woman who not only drove one, but carried her little dog on her lap wherever she went. She had a little flag attached, probably as a caution flag. But, I always teased her that she must have hit a 'hole in one' on the golf course, and came home with the trophy.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

You hot-rodder, you! Your story made me laugh so hard I snorted. I'm very glad you didn't get hurt, though.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Your words paint well and leave me grinning. Do hold on to your wonderful sense of humour.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Like KGMom I loved the part about your husband "teaching you to drive". The only person that I ever saw really master the technique of the power chair was a 7 year old. It just seemed like 2nd nature to him...kindof the same way that the kids can do all the computer stuff so much easier than we adults !

8:07 PM  
Blogger Bitterroot said...

Whoa Nellie! It sounds like the chair has a mind of its own!

Your artwork to match your story is priceless.

And your spirit is ceaselessly inspiring.

9:33 AM  

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