Who knew that a power wheelchair could make living with a chronic illness so much better??!!
And that is why my husband and I purchased one in December of 2020.
I had many reasons for wanting to add a power wheelchair to my fleet of mobility aids. The biggest being just wanting to have some kind of control over where I go and how fast or slow I move.
A month later, and I realize that there were many more reasons that made this purchase the right one. Fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and a handful of other health issues have taken so much from my life. And today I am sharing three wonderful ways my power wheelchair restored some of what chronic illness stole.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional and nothing stated in this article is to be mistaken for medical advice.
I am once again moving about without assistance from a family member or friend!! Do not get me wrong, I love and appreciate everyone who has pushed my wheelchair throughout my chronic life. But it feels so good to be in control of how fast or slow I move, when and where I want to stop, and to no longer have to sit in a corner while I wait for my assistant to return.
My power wheelchair allows me to do more by myself. I zip around the grocery store grabbing a few items here and there and meet back up with my husband who is pushing our cart. The time we spend shopping has decreased greatly since Pinky arrived.
My Air Hawk power wheelchair allows me to join the family on walks. While pushing my wheelchair, they had to be on the lookout for potholes and curbs, whereas with my power chair, that is my job. We even purchased a pet carrier to hang on the back of my power chair for when our Chihuahua, Zeva the Diva has reached her limit.
I cannot wait for southern California to come out of lockdown so I can zip over to nearby shopping centers for lunch or a cup of coffee!
Freedom of getting out of the house without assistance or worrying if I will have the strength to make it back never felt so good!
For the most part, I am a confident woman. However, I have lacked confidence in my body’s ability since its first diagnosis of psoriatic disease in 2001. With each additional chronic illness diagnosis and surgical error made, that confidence continued to plummet.
After having two amazing years (2017-2018), the blow of increased pain and limited mobility completely shattered my confidence. Who knew that a power wheelchair would restore it? I will be honest, I didn’t expect this perk.
My restored confidence goes beyond having the ability to do more, it restored my ability to protect myself. What I mean by that is if I find myself in a situation that I am not comfortable with, I can leave! I don’t have to wait for someone to return or push me, I can leave whenever I want. It feels amazing to know that I am no longer at the mercy of others.
Not all people, but a large percentage that I’d encounter when being pushed in a manual wheelchair either looked past me and only spoke to the person pushing or spoke to me like I was 5 years old. There were times when I swore my manual wheelchair had some kind of invisibility shield. And it was quite obvious that people assumed anyone who required assistance was unable to speak for themselves.
With my pretty pink power wheelchair, I am no longer invisible. People see me! And they move when they see me coming which is amazing considering how many people used to run into me with the wheelchair.
I truly cannot express how wonderful it is to be visible again. People greet and direct questions directly to me which if freaking awesome!
But there is one more reason why my power wheelchair allows my personality to shine. It is that I am not thinking about my limitations while zipping around. When walking down Buena Vista Street at Disneyland with my rollator, my focus was on how many more steps could my body handle without falling. While being pushed in a manual wheelchair, I had to brace myself for bumps and worry about the pain I would experience when people ran into me or fell across my legs or onto my lap.
The stress all that worry created stifled my personality. Whereas my power wheelchair with its comfy ride and ability to part a sea of people allows it to shine. I may not be able to run and skip, but I can do figure eights and zoom faster with the push of a button!
I highly recommend a power wheelchair for limitations caused by chronic illness. There are many different brands and types of power chairs available. (I will have a full review of my specific power wheelchair available to read by the end of February 2021. There are a few more things I need to test out before publishing it.)
Understand that very few are covered by insurance. So when working with your provider be sure to ask what models and companies they provide coverage for. Typically, the less expensive models, like easy to transport models such as mine, are not covered by insurance. But there are vendors who provide financing or layaway programs.
If you are worried about what other people will think, ask yourself the following.
Is increasing your pain or missing out on a family outing worth someone else’s opinion?