Folding wheelchair or Lightweight Rigid wheelchair? Which one suits you?
I am a wheelchair bound since January 1987 as a result of spinal cord injury when I was 17 years old. At the time I was using a folding wheelchair, which was ok for time being but I wanted to be confident and independent. It was an awkward situation and that kind of wheelchair affected my health. I had to push my wheelchair in daily life and had to manage to get around.
Unfortunately using that kind of wheelchair resulted in pelvis and spinal cord deviation. I used to keep complaining from backache, ache on my right arm, losing my balance and getting tired easily following sitting on the wheelchair for a short period of time. In addition, I was so dependent on others for doing ordinary day to day activities all the time.
In August 2006 my doctor suggested that I could stay at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London for a couple of weeks to have a full check-up, review and training as part of a rehabilitation programme. While there, my occupational therapist believed that having the right wheelchair could solve many of my physical problems. She said my current wheelchair wasn’t supporting my back and instead it was pushing me forward, making me to sit in a wrong position hence being uncomfortable for long hours during the day.
So, for the first time she introduced rigid wheelchair to me and let me to try a different one everyday. I remember the first day when I sat on the wheelchair I felt it is absolutely different. I was comfortable, having more freedom and support and did not get tired. So bit by bit I became more independent and confident. Now I could when I go out and manage to put my wheelchair into the car without getting help.
Actually, rigid wheelchair changed my life in a positive way. Some people might list few benefits of folding boxed wheelchair for you. For example they say it is transported easier than rigid because the frame can collapse, or it offers greater adjustability and flexibility. In my opinion wheelchairs must be chosen based on the priorities of the wheelchair users. If we analysis the benefits of right wheelchair; we will find out some of these benefits are much more important. This is a choice between a wheelchair that keeps you healthier and makes you comfortable or just easier for transportation! Which one do you chose? I believe the first choice is the most important priority for a permanent wheelchair user. This is my experience of being on the rigid wheelchair for about eleven years now.
All these experiences made me thinking that now why not helping my people? Especially people who are permanently using wheelchair. Therefore, I started studying, searching, expanding my knowledge, marketing and seeking advice from experts. I wanted to know the differences between rigid wheelchairs, which are made by different companies.
In my search I found Panthera and was interested to know more about their products and possibly to have a chance to test it. At the same time I started contacting them and communicating with them. They kindly and warmly replied back to me and now they offered me training at Panthera on the new year of 2017. I am glad to have the opportunity to meet their team and looking forward to it.