Today, November 3, 2016, I was blessed with the kind donation of a second hand power wheelchair.
Oh let the fun begin!
As it was not new, the machine needed some getting used to. I needed to gain confidence and experience using a joystick that had seen its better days. In essence, I was in for a rough ride, to say the least!
Before I get to that, on Facebook, I alerted my friends of my good news, this being the donation of a power chair! Say thank you!
I also posed a riddle: what has six wheels, flies, and can break a glass doors in a single lurch? Well, that is what happens when… wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!
Let me start at the building where I got the donation, I zoomed it on the side street towards the busy street, I wanted lunch, and I wanted it now!
My intervenor told me what is close by and I decided on a West Indies restaurant, I never did get the name. Good thing too!
We zoomed to the restaurant, and it looked like it just opened, but everything smelled great and I was hungry! There were two glass doors, one facing the street, which was closed, and one at a right angle, this one was propped open. Smooth sailing, I could envision myself zooming through those doors with ease!
I manoeuvred through the first door, being held open by my intervenor, then attempted to zoom through the second doorway. Yet, the machine (I really need a name for it, Wrecker comes to mind) didn’t turn as quickly as I thought it would and, instead, barreled through the glass door!
No no, that is an over-exaggeration! Wrecker didn’t barrel through, it smashed the glass! Pure and simple! While I was sitting there in shock, I had the intuition to adjust Wrecker’s speed gauge from gazelle to turtle!
Wow! Not even riding for 20 minutes and I already have learned a valuable lesson! Slow down in tight environs!
After eating a great lunch at this West Indies place, great food! The owner tried to guilt me into paying for the door… something about insurance and deductables. Whatever, I feigned deafness, pretty easy when I am Deaf, and vacated the establishment, abet slowly!
Was that the end of my learning to control Wrecker? Not a chance!
My goal for the day was to get used to Wrecker, which meant taking it from West Toronto, Queen street, to my home in East Toronto, Kingston and Warden area. Without using a bus, because I am not confident yet using those tiny spaces while everyone is looking at you; “Hurry up!” is their usual reprieve. I would go from Queen to Bloor, then get a subway to Victoria Park and zoom home!
Now, before I got started, I needed something at the local Dollarama (and not, according to my wife, a mask to cover my embarrassment of cracking a window!) which I found unaccessible. Door that are not automatic, boxes all over the floor (shelving), are just some examples.
After I got my Gatorade and cheap sunglasses, I go outside and start on my way on the sidewalk. I’m just thinking of speeding up from turtle to a gazelle, when there is a lurch, a loud bang, and I’m sprawled on the ground thinking I ran off the curb! Well, I did, in a way! I didn’t see the single step in front of the store! Yikes! I got off Wrecker and tried to lift it, but before I could muster the strength, two police officers rushed over, gently pushed me aside, set Wrecker on all six wheels, and helped me get back in! It happened so fast!
The lesson that was imprinted to my mind after Wrecker tipping was to always make sure you can see the lay of the land! Which, undoubtedly, I will fail, being unable to judge distances!
The rest of my journey to Bloor Street West was uneventful, other than hitting a pole, which I didn’t see until I was half way up it! Another fault of my shoddy vision!
Getting on the subway was of no problem and getting off was also a breeze!
Now that have all five methods of locomotion; Wrecker, Walker, Cane, White Cane, and incognito, I am free to choose which to use and when. I will use Wrecker quite a bit, through it takes a bit of planning and foresight to get Wrecker around without getting stuck.