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    #16
    Gosh you guys are so supportive. I have kind of been avoiding going out so I certainly haven't been getting enough practice.

    My mom has been visiting and I have really been hiding just how messed up I am from her. I don't want to use the chair in front of her. I have this weird thing where I need her to see me as perfect so I don't ever share any of my real life with her. Only what I think she should see.

    She is leaving Tuesday and I will start taking the chair out as much as I can and trying to get some real practice and better strength.

    I am finding it hard to know when to use the chair since I can walk short distances. I sometimes think that a walk into the pharmacy will be fine but after a stand in line I am dying in pain and wish I had the chair.

    My chair for me alleviates pain so just how much pain do I want to tolerate on a given outing? It is a question I haven't answered. Leg strength in increased by walking but pain is increased exponentially.

    Maybe I am just to chicken to use the chair and have all these excuses not to? I am just staying home, hiding from my mom and tolerating vast amounts of pain. Maybe once I get the hang of it better it will be easier to use and I will go out more and be in less pain and all will be well?

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      #17
      I dunno O, If I could stand and walk short distances; I'd go for a electric scooter of some sort. There are so many different ones out there. Would save on oyur shoulders and would be much easier to haul around in many cases. Course, I do like pushing my manual but as time rolls on, lol, the shoulders go south due to overuse.

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        #18
        Sidewalk cross slope sucks big time! But, just as everyone else is saying, with time it will get better.

        Consider some upper body strength training. Your triceps and delts could probably use some building up, and that will make wheeling in the real world much easier.

        Don't put yourself down. It will get better.

        Here are some wheelchair skills videos: http://www.wheelchairskillsprogram.ca/eng/images.htm

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          #19
          Oli,

          I used to be in a similar situation to you, where I could walk short distances just fine, and even longer distances if the terrain was flat and level (read: indoor walks). If given the choice, I tended to err on the side of not using a chair. Mostly, when I did use it, it was because other people (notably my mother) insisted: I was always a slow walker, and sometimes they just didn't have the time or the patience to put up with that.

          My mother and I eventually settled on a compromise of sorts, in which I would always use the chair in situations that involved a substantial amount of walking in a public place, but never in any other situation. So for instance, I would use it for shopping in big places (the mall, going from one store to the next in the city, ...), for short trips (the zoo, a museum, an amusement park, ...) and often on family vacations (which usually involved a lot of walking too). But I never used it inside the house, in school, or when we were going to just one place (like the bakery or the pharmacy, the doctor's office or even the hospital).

          I'm trying to illustrate a point here: I think it's just about drawing a line in the sand somewhere, and then sticking to it. I drew that line at extended bouts of walking in public. Maybe your line should be 'anytime I get out of the house'. I don't know; that's a decision you need to make for yourself. But once you've drawn that line, deciding whether or not you're going to use the chair in any given situation should become surprisingly easy.
          Last edited by Saranoya; 3 Apr 2011, 2:20 PM.

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            #20
            They don't really "train" you how to push a chair. At least they didn't for me. Anyway time is definately the key word!!! As far as up hill inclines, yea they suck. If you are able to lean a little forward to give yourself a little more bang for your buck do that. If your balance isn't great then obviously don't do that . Downhill, I would drag my one hand on the rim to slow down the increase in speed and also to counteract the slope too

            But again, TIME, TIME, TIME and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. It won't get easier unless you get out and do it.

            Good luck!!

            Becky
            T8-9 according to latest scoring.......
            since 1/3/04

            I am the best at being me. No matter how that happens to be!!

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              #21
              Well, I chose a manual because I can push one fine physically (other than maybe not being in shape enough right now for slants) but I can also pop that thing in the car super easy and it can fit in almost any car. A scooter requires a lot more transporting on various contraptions and probably more expense as well. I want to keep my body working, even if it is only the upper half, for as long as I can.

              As far and walking vs rolling, it all depends upon how much pain I want to tolerate. I can walk from here to the car fine with no pain. If I stand still for even a few minutes the pain starts and it gets bad quick. If I have to walk for longer distances that require any stopping and starting it gets pretty ugly.

              Now I can, and have, tolerated this pain for my entire life. I thought I deserved it and that I was supposed to just be in pain and 'take it'.

              Recently after about 4 years of therapy I am thinking that I 'shouldn't' be in pain and that I don't deserve it and that I shouldn't have to just 'take it' and it was actually my therapist that suggested I try a wheelchair.

              I thought she was crazy but the more I walked and stood and the worse the pain got the madder I got. Thinking that I didn't want to be in that much pain any more. It wasn't fair.

              That is why I got the chair. Now I need to figure out exactly when and where to use it and how to get in shape with the upper body without totally losing the lower body and the ability to walk at all.

              Since I am still undiagnosed as to what is actually wrong with me I am trying to just wing it all on my own.

              I really appreciate everyones suggestions. I think I need to actually dedicate time to wheelchair skills that I will start once my mom is gone.

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                #22
                Originally posted by Oli View Post
                As far and walking vs rolling, it all depends upon how much pain I want to tolerate. I can walk from here to the car fine with no pain. If I stand still for even a few minutes the pain starts and it gets bad quick. If I have to walk for longer distances that require any stopping and starting it gets pretty ugly..
                Have you considered using a walker with a seat?
                ____________________

                "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
                - Barack Obama

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                  #23
                  I have a manual chair for when I feel up to wheeling myself and a scooter for when I'm not. Here's how I break it down-

                  Manual Chair- stop and go like in a store, lots of waiting in line (better seat on my wc than on scoots), level ground to a point and paved.

                  Scoots- (collapsible scooter) Long distance no stop and go (State Fair, long walks, errands around town), unpaved but mildly level, if I know I will be out all day at one or two places (outlet malls), going anywhere downtown (holy cow are the sidewalks slanted!).

                  One thing- people are nicer to me when I'm in the chair than when I'm on Scoots- it's just how it is, but something to be prepared for. Also- on Scoots I can go farther without being in pain the next day (elbows- owch!). Scoots is great for outdoors (Art fairs) and my chair is better indoors (quiet and turns on a dime).

                  I'm looking at possibly getting a pc for when I want to go to the parks and go off-road; I'm heeding the warning laid out by those that know and not taxing my arms overly much when I don't have to.

                  It gets easier to go out and use the chair and Scoots. I still get odd looks when I stand up to transfer to the car- it's just so much easier than laying down and flipping it around my big ol' belly I'm nervous about someone seeing me- what would they do? Call out 'PHONEY!" like in the Family Guy episode? I have no idea. I do know that I will smile at them and ask them where they went to med school because I'd LOVE to hear their take on my story

                  One step at a time, one skill at a time, piece by piece I know it's going to become my new normal and everyone else will adjust or they won't. I can't control that and it exhausts me to try. You're doing really well- it's only been a few weeks and you've learned so much! Imagine what you'll be able to do in six months!

                  ETA- Here is my scooter: http://www.travelscoot.com/ It folds down into a triangle and I put it in the backseat. I LOVE it- worth the price tag.

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                    #24
                    A walker is too slow and it doesn't quite help with my issue. I would still have incredible amounts of pain with a walker.

                    But I do have a funny memory of about 7 years ago while waiting in line for something and feeling like I was about to pass out from the pain... There was an 80+ woman with a walker and I remember being SO jealous of it. I was in my late early 30's at the time.

                    So far, when wheeling indoors, my pain is basically zero. I can spend an hour rolling around Home Depot and even went to a museum and Ikea and when I got home there was no pain at all. Normally I am exhausted and dying in pain and knocked out of commission for several days. When in the chair my pain level is zero.

                    That is why I am hoping to conquer this thing so I can continue to go places with no pain. I never would have thought I could go places without pain!

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by Oli View Post
                      A walker is too slow and it doesn't quite help with my issue. I would still have incredible amounts of pain with a walker.
                      How about a seat cane, do you think one of those might help you for those times you do feel good enough to walk?

                      Here's some.
                      http://www.fashionablecanes.com/Seat_Cane.html

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                        #26
                        I have been told that some people develop shoulder strains in pushing manualk chairs. You did not mention your diagnosis. Some organizations, such as the NMSS, have second hand power chairs to donate to members.

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                          #27
                          Oli mentioned not being diagnosed. I ended up in a wheelchair 4 years before my diagnosis myself, it is definetely an awkward transition! And no one is willing to help without a diagnosis.

                          I say do what you can without major pain as you can, and let your wheelchair help you do the rest. Pain causes physical stress on the body, shortens life, and shouldn't be left to run unabated forever.

                          I had a time when I could walk maybe 100 ft with crutches on my best day... and do nothing else. Instead I used a manual wheelchair, held a job, and took care of an infant. I did my own grocery shopping and cooking, and managed the house. I had a life. Standing me had no life, sitting me did. That made it a simple decision.

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                            #28
                            I am not diagnosed yet but the main problem is 'compression' on my lower back causes ALL kinds of serious debilitating pain.

                            So that means that any weight, standing straight up on my legs hurts like hell and makes me never want to walk or stand at all.

                            Walkers and canes and all that don't alleviate the compression on my spine like sitting on a super soft and supportive wheelchair seat with armrests to rest my upper body on.

                            It works great, works like a charm, works like a miracle, it works perfect. It makes it so I can cruise around all day without any back pain. No other thing can do that so far.

                            Any pain from soreness or pinched nerves in my back PALE in comparison to how my back feels when I walk.

                            I do, however, want to learn how to use the darn thing much better and get those particular muscles stronger so I can get around easier and without my hubby pushing me. I want to do it myself!

                            I have trained competition horses for almost 30 years, I shouldn't be 'that' weak! Hehe! My horses head alone weighs hundreds of pounds. It is just not the same muscles. (ps, if I could get around everywhere on horse back I would be set as I have no back pain from riding either!)

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by Oli View Post
                              I have trained competition horses for almost 30 years, I shouldn't be 'that' weak! Hehe! My horses head alone weighs hundreds of pounds. It is just not the same muscles. (ps, if I could get around everywhere on horse back I would be set as I have no back pain from riding either!)
                              You got it.

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                                #30
                                When I was at ISS a few weeks back, there was a carpeted ramp that I just dreaded going up. I'd lose my momentum about 2/3 the way up and the final 1/3 was killer.

                                The last day there, I came up on that ramp and said to myself "screw this". I stopped, walked up the ramp pushing my chair from behind, got back in it at the top, and continued on my way. So much easier.

                                How I wished I would have "given in" and done that days before.

                                It might look kind of bizzare to bystanders, but if you are fortunate to ambulate limited distances, there is no rule that says you have to self-propel up every ramp and curb cut. It won't help with those side slopes or long grades, but if you've got "poor man's iBot mode" available, use it!

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