One Month

Hi there!

It’s been one month since I received CJ-3, that is what I call my power chair.

In the 11 second video below, you’ll see me cruising my housing complex, after picking up the mail. This was shot on my first time using it without tech support, OT, an interpreter and an Intervenor, oh and my wife.

The video was filmed by my main squeeze, my wife!

After a month, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Not every accessible bathroom is really accessible.
    • No automatic door, small room, activate speaker to open door, tight corners inside room…
  • Elevators, gotta love them, when they work!
  • Accessibility on transit can improve 100% (West coast express accessibility issues).
    • Not once, not twice, but three times the train stopped OUTSIDE the raised accessibility platform when a person with disabilities was using a power chair. Unacceptable.
  • Getting on the Skytrain can be fun.
    • It is easier if at faster speed than usual, stops stuck wheels. It is easier if people do not walk across path at last second. Can you figure out why?
  • About those people who dart across my path: Please discontinue this practice.
    • It follows the same principle you learn (or not learn) in Driving Ed: Do not suddenly cut in front of a vehicle, especially a big truck. They can’t always stop quickly! In the same manner, I can’t always stop suddenly. My advice: if you see me coming, and you have time, let me pass. I won’t bite.
  • Those people who are walking, with their heads in the clouds or listening to Daft Punk or TikToking; be mindful. Someone may actually be trying to pass you, someone operating a power chair!
    • Oho, I’ve had so many people walking in front of me, swaying like a dandelion in a springtime breeze, indecisively wandering from store to store, clothing rack to clothing rack…
  • Going over speed bumps, slowly, can be nerve-wracking; fast, same result!
  • Getting in taxis, must remember to “bend forward”
    • That is a Mount Everest of a climb, if chair is too far back, it could tip over backwards.
  • Popping wheelies can be fun, but try not to make a habit of it.
  • Zooming off curbs, unaware, always remember to holler “Ye-haw!” like those Good ol’ Boys…
  • Stopping can be done easily, just remove hand from joystick. For added effect, put it in reverse… whoosh!
  • Stores: some are great with wide avenues of merchandise, damn the high shelf!
  • Before CJ-3, I would stand close to the bus stop to see the route number, I was taller then, I’d step back if route was not what I wanted. Now, I’m shorter, route numbers can’t see. Need a monocular…
  • While shopping or bathroom-ing, I will get out of my chair: top shelf merch is not just for tall people, ditto for low shelves, and my aim was never good, even up close.
  • Bus and HandyDART drivers; gotta love ‘em! Some are super, accommodating, aware, others not so much. I’ve had to thrice tell a driver “I am Deaf” before they would switch gears from verbally telling me to back up to gesturing “back up… more”…
  • Zooming over gravel is lots of fun, better not tell me OT or Mobility instructor…
  • Things can fall off chair: a bolt, a cog, a phone, thank those people who picked up your trash…
  • Yes, almost forgot, when it rains… wet you will become, even more so as you are sitting!
    • Never will I use an umbrella while operating CJ-3, or will I invest in a Model-T canopy. Hell NO!
    • I will also not have a flag… As I’ve told people, my OT, if someone can’t see this big green machine, then they have a vision problem!
  • Sidewalks: the ultimate up and down balance act. I now understand why some people will, hazardously, skip the safety of the sidewalk for the uncertainty death of operating a power chair on the street. And it is not bravado…
    • When on sidewalk, you are cruising flatly, maybe a bump or two, and then, suddenly, you’re tilted at an angle, sometimes 15 degrees, sometimes more. Then the driveway ramp ends and you back to flatness. That can be unnerving, especially if you’re in a residential area… up down up down…
  • Oh yes, always wear gloves! It’s like if you have a convertible Corvette or Jeep, when the top is down, your head gets cold while zooming the streets: so you don a hat, toque or ‘do rag. Same with a power chair… if you are zooming around (on the sidewalk) your hand operating that joystick is gonna get cold, maybe even frozen. Wear gloves!
  • And, I’m nearly done, watch where you are going, not on cool three-wheeled scooters parked outside of Best Buy… my wife had never laughed so hard after I rammed my foot into a concrete pole because I was ogling someone else’s ride!

But most importantly, I learned that life is short, don’t worry about the small stuff! Enjoy everything you can! Don’t hold grudges, hold hands!

That is all, for now!

Thank you for Reading, Sharing, Laughing (I hope), Liking, and Staying out of my way as I operating this power chair

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