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A less than joyful ride

August 15, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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In a little over two weeks, my perspective has changed. Before that, I was still trying to get used to a new power chair, which I have only had for two months. The joystick setup is different and difficult to get used to.

Things changed when I went to a doctor's appointment. It was my first outing in my new power chair with the "new to me" medical transportation coordinator in the facility's minivan. It was a hot, sultry day. I felt anxious as I pulled in the minivan and turned toward the front.

I had to make a 360 degree turn inside the minivan in order to go to back down the ramp. While turning something on the rear of my chair got caught. Though turning was difficult, I made it and was backed down the ramp

When I got back to the facility, I was hot from the 91 degrees Fahrenheit day in the minivan's less than optimum air-conditioning. That weekend, my joystick lagged, and I wondered if I had pulled something loose.

That afternoon, my aide turned on the controller to move the chair. But, the chair's controller continuously beeped, and the chair would not move. I asked my aide to look for a loose connection. But she could not find one.

On Monday, the maintenance man took a look and found the joystick wire to the controller was disconnected and had a broken contact. The vendor's technician stopped in Wednesday and said he would try to solder the connection.

I heard I would get a new joystick and hoped it would be similar. The technician came Friday around 5 p.m. when I was in bed resting. He said he reinstalled the joystick, and it was working again. But I never got to see it.

This morning, the aides helped me into the chair. I immediately noticed this new joystick is bigger and 2 to 3 inches higher than the previous one. I cannot reach it to operate the chair. So, I am back in my manual one.

Being pushed these last two weeks has made me feel even more dependent. I am forced to sit and watch the world go by. Waiting to be pushed is strange for me; I have been fortunate to have a usable power chair, most of the time – for 30 years.

I e-mailed the vendor and I hope he can come up with some type of fix.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...