Self-propelling a manual wheelchair is not as easy as it appears to a normal people. My older brother (the actor) discovered that when he played the role of everyone’s second favourite ‘Wheelchair Boy’ Artie in a production of Glee. Even without a disability that affects the muscles, he struggled to push himself all day and now understands why I choose to get pushed everywhere. It’s not just me being bone-idle. You have to be very strong and have the stamina to push yourself 24/7. This is something that I am working on. Hence my regular trips to the gym.
For the first time yesterday, my use of the weight machines seemed worthwhile. I propelled myself around Sainsbury’s with relative ease and didn’t get tired or out of breath. Normally, I find it hard and have to stop for a rest but for some reason I found it quite easy. Granted the floor in a supermarket is extremely smooth (like me after a wax) and I’d probably still struggle on a cobbled street for example but it’s start. At least my arm muscles are beginning to take shape.
The reason I want to push myself is because (weird as it sounds) I feel quite normal. Let me explain. When I get pushed around, it sometimes feels like I am a baby in a buggy with members of the public acknowledging the person pushing and making faces at me down below. So, I hear you cry, why don’t you use an electric wheelchair like you did before? Firstly, I cannot drive as friends and family will testify. Secondly, I was fed up of feeling like a bit of a robot, different to the rest. Plus it’s easier to get in and out places.
A manual wheelchair can be folded and easily transported whether is a car, public transport or even on a plane. It can also be bumped up a step if, for some absurd reason, a building doesn’t have an accessible entrance. What I meant regarding ‘feeling different’ is that using a joystick to move feels strange personally whereas using my arms feels normal. In the same way, that able-bodied people use their legs to walk. I can’t so the next best thing for me is to use my upper body.
Bye for now!