Sunday, 6 December 2015

Indoor wheelies

I have been reminded indirectly by a lovely friend over the pond that I've not posted much about what I'm up to. So here first is something about my smart super wheelchair.

You may remember that before the summer at the MND Clinic I was enquiring about hoists in cars and the fab Jenny Rolfe exceeding my hopes. I don’t want to bore you with a long story, including my miscalculations.

With the help of our local MNDA, I eventually chose an Invacare TDX Neuro Chair, with the central drive wheels, for ease of manoeuvring round the tight corners in our house, and also with a riser. It’s actually not so good for reversing into my lift (it does wheel-spins - not good for the carpet!), but over all it’s a nifty machine, and the grandchildren enjoyed going up in the world. And it is a surprisingly useful facility, as I found on Friday 23rd October at the excellent PLS study day in Oxford (see next post).

Then it’s been a matter of choosing the car and the hoist. We’ve long liked Skodas and the Yeti looked as though its boot opening was high enough to take the wheelchair with its back tipped down. We supplied all the dimensions to the dealer and the hoist fitter who breezily confirmed that it would be fine. The full weight of the chair was 148 kg in all; the BrigAyd hoist was said to be man enough for 150 kg.  So all looked good. 

Well, it was – to a degree. When we got to the dealer’s to pick up the car complete with hoist, the fitter asked us how heavy the wheelchair was and he sucked his teeth and said, “You really need a 200 kg hoist. This is very slow.” Actually, to get the chair in you have to remove the footplates, the armrests and the headrest (which I guess come to about 15 kg), as only without them can you get it in – so it’s quite an operation both before loading and after unloading. That means it would be quite unsuitable if you’re on your own. I suspect another chair might be more streamlined and less complicated for embarking and disembarking.

The Yeti itself is a lovely vehicle. Ours is petrol; so no risk of the VW diesel wheeze! We’re a bit surprised how much room the hoist and wheelchair take up in the capacious boot. I suppose no solution is perfect. However we’ve already enjoyed the increased freedom that the imperfect has provided! So, all in all, we’re pleased and look forward to its coming into its own in the spring.

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