I went to the wheelchair clinic today to see if I needed a new wheelchair. And as soon as I told the woman I had gone for advice on if this wheelchair still fits and is appropriate for me she just went "no" just like that. Which actually I totally expected but it did kind of amuse me that within about two minutes of meeting me she could tell.
So I will be getting a new wheelchair.
Apparently there is a choice of 1 folding wheelchair, 1 rigid wheelchair or a voucher.
For various reasons I've been anti-rigid wheelchairs for the last several years (mostly to do with not being able to easily put them in a variety of cars). But this time round I went with the car issue in the back of my mind but one of the lower concerns.
Anyway, the opinion of the therapist is that for other reasons the rigid chair on offer (Venus by Days Wheelchairs) is unsuitable for me. Mostly the feeling was that it couldn't be customised enough to work for me although they couldn't find the paperwork to check. She said she'll sort out and answer and let me know if it could be a possibility.
I've just realised that I forgot to ask for definite but it seemed to be inferred that so called high spec wheelchairs can't be highly customised and supportive. But I must check if I'm right in thinking she meant in general or if she was really just referring to that chair. Or if that's just ones supplied on the NHS.
The folding option which she says can be customised sufficiently and would be appropriate is the Action 3 which is made by invacare. And if I were to have one it would have quite a lot of different options to the one pictured all over the paperwork and the web. Which is good because I wasn't keen on the look of the one they brought for me to try and the changes suggested would make it look VERY different. I've been trying to find a picture of what the sideguards look like as I would have those instead of armrests but so far nothing doing.
I'm really not sure about it... I did like it, it was comfortable and it wheeled really easily. Financially too it would make a hell of a lot of sense to just take an NHS chair.
Back in 2001 I had an Action 2000 provided by Staffordshire NHS when I was at uni. I used it for two and a half years. Apparently it's the "little brother" of the one they are offering me now. And off the top of my head I can think of three times when I broke the castor at the front. Literally it would be fine and then bam, it would break and I couldn't move - the "fork" could bend pushing the castor back so it caught on the main wheel. Possibly it happened more than that. All of the repair guys (who were employed by or probably contracted more like to the NHS) told me that it was a known design flaw and everyone with those wheelchairs had that problem and everyone knew about it.
The therapist (and the engineer?) in my appt today told me they hadn't heard of that happening. Which is promising. But something I shall have to research I think.
I shall also have to send an e-mail round to various friends and relations to poll the answer to "if the backrest on my chair didn't fold down would it fit in your car?" it's not a huge issue because my parents car would take it as would the friend whose car I go in probably most often. But something to think about because if that choice is going to take me from potentially six or seven people who occasionally/regularly/not quite never but not often take me and my chair in the car to possibly only two that would suck.
The other option is a voucher which certainly as it's been presented isn't appealing.
I asked a lot of awkward questions about a lot of issues and could tell that at least one or two questions they were either surprised by or would have preferred I didn't ask. LOL. It's certainly given me a lot to think about and I'm (mostly) glad I went (it was a stupidly long day).
Now to figure out in the next few days what I want to do...