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  • Power wheels vs Power chair

    Hello All, as many of you know I am nursing some fairly damaged shoulders and have been told to either get a power chair or wheels for part time possibly full time use. I'm having a very hard time emotionally accepting the idea of a powerchair after 38 yrs of a manual. Everything would have to be changed in my lifestyle; new lift in my house, van etc..

    I will be looking as I choose to prepare for the future to stay as independent as possible. I'm gradually accepting the fact that any mechanical device I can use to remain independent should outweigh my reluctance to use them and end up with shoulders that are completly worn out.

    Do any of you transfer from your power chair into the driver seat? If so how do you tie down that 350lb. chair. With my manual I don't tie it down after transferring.

    I'll be looking later this month. my vendor suggested the new Permobil M300
    for a p/c. Any other suggestions. The thing about the Permobils is that they are so big and bulky looking. Is there anything out there that has some style to it yet is fairly hastle free?

    The Power assist wheels; what are they like? They seems like they would be in between a manual and a power chair but are heavy.

    Any advice from those who have gone from a man. to power would be greatly appreciated.

    I will look at past posts for sure but just wanted to get this out while I have the initiative to do it. It seems very overwhelming right now. I realize it's a game my brain is playing but it still has power.

    At least I can still handcycle. I haven't been out riding for a month so that could be one of the reasons for this frustration.

    I don't feel depressed, just kind of in my cave til I come to terms and actually get to try some products. It's something I would rather not do but if it will maximize my potential with what I have left, then I choose to do it.

    Sorry for the rambling here; it's late, I'm old and well you know.

  • #2
    Hi Patrick,
    I had to switch to a powerchair after 35 years of pushing a manual, and it was a very difficult transition emotionally for me. I hated the idea, but my life was becoming more circumscribed by my inability to push and the pain that resulted in doing any extended pushing. I do transfer to the driver's seat of my van. I have a power seat that swivels so that it can be right next to the wheelchair, and at exactly the height I want it to be. I am sure that safety experts would go nuts over this, but I have no patience for spending time anchoring my powerchair down excessively, so I just put the second row seatbelt (no second row in the van) around the frame and call it quits at that. Realistically, it is a heavy chair, and once I swivel the seat around facing front it would have to be a horribly high speed crash to send the chair through the drivers seat, and at that point I probably have more to worry about than the well being of the chair. The seatbelt works well, and there have been a few panic stops over the years where the chair has swerved a bit, but it has never moved in any dangerous way. There are a ton of sort of sporty looking power chairs out there, or at least as sporty as any power chair can look, but a lot is determined by what else you might need (or not) in the chair. My first power chair was pretty compact as the beasts go, but my latest one needed the tilt-in-space feature, and it is one big chair. By the time I got the second one the benefits of a power chair had become obvious to me, so I don't really care now that it is a lot of chair. Good luck. The first time you go effortlessly up an incline your dislike of the "power chair look" will evaporate. Trust me on this!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you so much Eileen. This is, IMO, probably the most difficult challenge so far. It's almost like I'm looking at a casket rather than a pc. I guess in a way it is; releasing and grieving one way of life while accepting and embracing the new way.

      Your post was the first I read this morning and it has been very heartening indeed. I always enjoy your humor and wisdom. Thank you for being you.

      I still have some hesitation. Perhaps the power assist wheels would be a good transistion. Once I get up to Vancouver and see the products out there, I'll be more inclined to the change.

      I've been doing some reading on various models etc. and am concerned about the quality and break downs that others have had. It seems they all have a weakness somewhere.

      If I may ask what are you in now?

      Comment


      • #4
        i would try the power assist first pat. as strong and as active u are i dont know that u need to go pc. but do whatever u need too.
        Bike-on.com rep
        John@bike-on.com
        c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
        sponsored handcycle racer

        Comment


        • #5
          Why not get the ZX1 for your manual chair?
          Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
          Pete C6/'97

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          • #6
            Haven't heard back from Pat. Insurance will not pay for the ZX1 unless it has been federally tested. But we'll see Bras.

            Will do John, thanks

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            • #7
              Yes, I know. I am buying one out of pocket for my ZR2. I also bought a used iGlide that I am retrofitting to fit on an new Aero Z or ZRA series 2. I like to have the best of both worlds. I'm calling it my TiGlide
              Life's perceived journey in this PMR is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy **** what a VR ride!"
              Pete C6/'97

              Comment


              • #8
                I feel your pain Patrick. I have been using an iGlide powerassist since 2003. They were discontinued and a couple years ago, another company licensed the technology and started making the Tailwind which was an improved version of the iGlide. I thought my worries were over as far as getting a replacement but that company quickly went under because of some legal hassle over the license. However, this past year I was able to get a new computer and drive system, and new wheels for my iGlide as the iGlide staff were emptying their warehouse. Hopefully, that will keep me going for a couple years and maybe a ZX will be a possibility. I have been keeping my eye on power chairs. If I had to go to one today, I would start with looking at the the Quickie S-636. It looks like less of a behemoth than many of the powerchairs.
                You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
                http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

                See my personal webpage @
                http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks 55, I was hoping to hear from you and get your great sage advice. Its the rips, tears and ruptures that are causing the challenges. Will check that out.

                  Is there any new advances in the power assist wheels? Will, gulp, check out the S-636.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I got a quickie p222se from spinlife and a valetta (http://www.romamedical.co.uk/Roma-Me...etta-FS888.asp), neither of which I use very often, staying in my tr. I'm thinking about getting a yamaha jwx1 (http://www.steeringdevelopments.co.u...ov%202010).pdf) so I can keep using my tr. It's a better version of the efix. I don't know if they're available in usa but there is one on ebay

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey Patrick,

                      I am in the process of being switched from a manual wheelchair to a power one and I wondered about this myself. They both have their pros and cons, but the problem with power assist wheels is they don't always provide enough "omph" for lack of better term. If you could try them through your DME and see if they're enough, that might be ok, but what if, after using them for a few months you find they're just not doing it, you know?

                      The pros are that you wouldn't ned a new lift. I know for me, this is part of why we are hesitant. We have neve needed an adapted vehicle and we are unsure of whether I will be able to drive and so, we're not sure whether we should truly adapt the van or just buy a ramp because even if I do drive, my OT is hoping I'll be back in my manual by that time.

                      It is hard to need a power chair, but it's like you said, you have to be able to see it as your freedom.

                      The best thing to do would be to try both through your DME for as long as possible.

                      Hope that helps and best of luck!

                      WG

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had to switch to a power chair in '95 after 13 years because of shoulder issues. I had some adjustment issues, but soon discovered how much more able I was with the power. I could go places I never could and get there much faster. I can carry heavy or awkward objects with ease. I can pick heavy boxes off the floor and move furniture around. I can carry a glass or whatever with my free hand while driving the chair. I can park far away from a place and not worry about traveling the distance or dealing with terrain. I can hop up 4" curbs. I can park in the dirt or grass or whatever and not worry. I can go up and down VERY steep hills and not think twice. My chair doesn't slide during transfers and so I haven't taken a dump during a transfer in a very long time. And grocery shopping is a breeze, not having to push the cart around with a manual chair.

                        I think back on how many MORE things I have participated in and how much more independent I have become since making the switch. I transitioned from someone who was doing pretty well for my disability to someone who has thrived with few limits.

                        What really helped with my mental transition was two long camping trips. The first was a 10,000 mile trip in my van with my manual chair by myself. It was fun, but I always had to be pretty cautious. And there were many times when I'd have to ask a stranger for help. The next summer, I took a 15,000 trip, but this time with a Quickie P200 power. It was amazing how much more efficient I was. I could have the stove set up and be cooking in just a couple of minutes. And I went out on all kinds of nature trails. I pretty much just went and did what I wanted without having to consider in advance how difficult it would be. I actually collected firewood and made campfires in the dirt, not really possible from my manual chair.

                        When we would do earthquake drills, I used to have a plan with my students. I would designate people to assist me. Hence, I was a liability. With the powerchair, I was able to control and manage them. I was the leader again. And I thought of what happens in a fire. With a power chair, I'm pretty sure I could be escaping even while the tires are melting. In a manual chair, I might be burning my hands trying to propel myself.

                        I think the biggest issue to overcome is the feeling of being more disabled in a power chair. Part of that is the sense of how people treat you. What I mostly discovered was that either way they treat you as disabled. But, they respond to your attitude. When you give off the air of independence and capability, they respond to you that way. When you are out there flinging doors open and what not it is clear that you have taken control of your world and people respond accordingly. And when you are out there doing things that people in wheelchairs shouldn't be able to do, the self-esteem issues becomes a non-issue.

                        BTW-I also transfer to the pivoting van seat and drive from it. I feel much more stable and safer from the van seat. I haven't done anything to lock my chair in at least 15 years. But, my chair sits in the lowered floor section of the van (the van seat is on the original floor) so it is pretty limited in how far away it could slide.

                        Oh, and the palms of my hands aren't filthy dirty all the time (the worst was when I ran over dog poop) and I don't have to keep putting gloves on and off.

                        I think it is like most things with us. It is all a matter of attitude. If you were never able to use a manual chair, you probably would have adjusted to life without any issue. There are those who are disabled, and those that just happen to have a disability. You get to choose which one of those you are.
                        C-6/7 incomplete

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by amyk View Post
                          I got a quickie p222se ... a yamaha jwx1 (http://www.steeringdevelopments.co.u...ov%202010).pdf)
                          thanks for this link! Anything Yamaha puts their name is usually far superior to the closest competition. I'm a long ways off from using power, but its good to see more companies in the fray. Hopefully by the time I need it there are hover-chairs like Prof.X uses...

                          as far as powerchairs - the Quickie P222 always seemed like the one to have, it's smaller and far less obtrusive than all the others.

                          Pat, if you're investigating power would a standing chair be something useful? I've often wondered about this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
                            Thank you so much Eileen. This is, IMO, probably the most difficult challenge so far. It's almost like I'm looking at a casket rather than a pc. I guess in a way it is; releasing and grieving one way of life while accepting and embracing the new way.

                            Your post was the first I read this morning and it has been very heartening indeed. I always enjoy your humor and wisdom. Thank you for being you.

                            I still have some hesitation. Perhaps the power assist wheels would be a good transistion. Once I get up to Vancouver and see the products out there, I'll be more inclined to the change.

                            I've been doing some reading on various models etc. and am concerned about the quality and break downs that others have had. It seems they all have a weakness somewhere.

                            If I may ask what are you in now?
                            I am in a Quantum 6000 chair, which has been good in terms of reliability. It is a mid-wheel drive chair, which turns on a dime, but because of the mid-wheel feature it has six wheels instead of four, making the chair longer than my previous one. I think you need the six wheels if you have tilt for balance reasons, but if you don't need the tilt I wouldn't get it. I still occasionally bash into things with the back wheels because I expect them to be closer to my butt than they are!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mahalo Kulea, You put some great points here and it is all about attitude, which I have plenty of lol. I taught and coached from my manual also. Usually primary and elementary. I had one child tell me they liked it when I taught, was a sub, because I was as tall as they were. Miss the kids. What kind of chair are you using now?

                              Jessica, if you have a chance to drive girl, tke it. It'll open up your life immensley.

                              This is coming together. Thanks for everyones' input. It is something that we all must ponder someday. Hearing that others have the same concerns and those that umm transitioned helped.

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