It’s kind of hard, planning for a new life. I have no idea what I’ll want, need, have, the list goes on. The more I think about it all, the more confused I get! Aside from big, permanent adaptations like a wet room and ramps, what will my home look like in 5 years? These are the questions that haunt me.
My first aim (I think) is to make myself off-road capable. There are many products available to people like myself, from hand bikes and power assisted wheels to clip on front tyres and chunky mountain bike wheels. The problem I am facing, like anyone with a similar disability can vouch for, is that being a captive audience means you pay through the roof. For instance, one item I am interested in is a wheel that attaches to the foot plate of your wheelchair, lifts the front castors off the ground, and makes it easier to push across rough terrain. Great! A brilliant idea, an elegant solution to a real problem, and a few hundred pounds for the luxury. To make it truly versatile you need to pair it with some proper mountain bike style rear wheels, setting you back even more. This is just the entry level to the spectrum though. The product style I would really love is similar; a front wheel that lifts your castors, except this one is battery powered and has handlebars, essentially turning a wheelchair into a trike. Absolutely incredible! And once again, a small fortune for the privilege. Oh well, I’ll get there in the end. I just really dislike that items so great cost the earth making them virtually inaccessible. Perhaps one day I’ll come up with a solution and be able to help others get what they need.
Another thing I am preparing for, as previously mentioned, is getting a car. Whilst very excited, I’m also very nervous. To paraphrase Spiderman, With independence comes great responsibility. I’ll have to fend for myself, and that is a daunting prospect. It’ll be an exciting opportunity, and I really can’t wait to get out and about again, but still.
What a rant this has been! I guess with the end of my hospital tenure drawing near I’m realistic in my apporoach; my new life starts when I roll out the front doors. It’s like driving lessons and your test I guess. The lessons teach you to pass the test, but you only really learn once you pass.
On a positive note, I finally got to meet some of the firefighters on scene at my crash, and say thank you to them. I knew them in passing from my work with the coastguard, but so shake the hand of some of the guys that kept you alive against the odds is a truly surreal experience. Thank you again, if you’re reading. On that, a challenge for everyone. Next time you hear of an accident, are passing a station, or see a fire engine out and about, spare a thought for the people behind the uniforms. They truly are everyday heroes.