Meet my new wheelchair!
Y’all… almost a year later and it finally happened. My new wheelchair was approved and delivered! She’s here and she’s pink. Like, super pink. She’s also got some fun new features and is a different kind of chair that I’ve never used before. If you follow me on insta, you might have already seen, but I thought I’d show her off for a sec.
She’s a Quantum Edge 3. Almost everything is different from what I’m used to in my old Invacare (or even the Jazzy that I had as a loaner). From the way it looks, the armrests, how it drives, the control box. It’s all new for me. And I’ll be honest, as much as I love it because it’s shiny and new and y’know… works, it’s also pretty uncomfortable for the time being because I’m not used to it yet.
When you spend your entire day in one chair and have a disability that affects your mobility, posture, and basically everything you can think of, every tiny change feels massive. So a brand new wheelchair is quite the adjustment. One inch of space can mean I strain my back all day trying to keep my balance. A slightly different cushion can mean my hips ache and put pressure on my legs that causes them to swell even more than usual. That’s not to say my chair will never be comfortable. It’s just going to take me some time to figure out how to get it just right. Like goldilocks. I don’t know exactly what I need, so I’ll have to try everything and I’ll know it when it’s all good. Onto the new, fun things!
I now have elevating leg rests!
I’ve tried for a long time to have this feature but it was always denied by my insurance in the past. They’re a game changer for me, though. I have terrible circulation in my legs and feet because of how I sit all day. Like, they literally turn purple, swell up, and are ice cold. Sometimes I also get blisters all over my legs. Being able to elevate them reduces some of the swelling and pain. Just being able to have them raised for 15 minutes every few hours is a big help.
New control box with digital display
My old chair just has a few buttons to switch between the different modes. But my new pink babe has a bright little screen which tells me how fast I’m going, what mode I’m in, how far I’ve travelled, the time, and all my settings. Such a small, insignificant thing to be excited about but I really love being able to check the time with my chair. I was a little nervous about getting used to the new controls, but it’s super simple to toggle between menus with the joystick and power switch.
Speaking of modes, though, I have a few new ones. Along with the elevating leg rests, I can also change the angle of the back. With those two features, I can nearly lay my chair down almost completely flat. And I also have the tilt mode that I had in my invacare that died. Tilt mode is similar, but lets me lay my chair back without changing the actual position of my back and leg rests in relation to each other. Instead of laying down as though in a recliner, the seat sort of tips back so my body stays at the same seated position but takes the pressure off my hips. Kind of like when you lean back in a regular chair and balance on two legs. I don’t know why I’m struggling to explain that, but hopefully you get the idea.
Again with the small, insignificant things. But my chair came with a phone charger. I can now plug my phone into my chair and will never have to carry a battery pack again. The future is now. And I have never felt so fancy.
I’ve had my chair for a few weeks now and I’ve decided (with the help of my mom) to name her Edna.
And Edna is great! She was having some issues for the last week. The other day I was driving forward to look for a curb cut and instead of going backward when I pulled the joystick back, she decided to keep going forward. Right off a curb and into the street. Luckily she didn’t tip over or throw me out, but not a great experience. We got her checked out to make sure she’s okay and she was reprogrammed. For now, she seems to drive much better.
I’m just relieved to finally have my new wheelchair! The process was long and infinitely more complicated than it should’ve been. Soon I’ll be writing about that process because it’s not uncommon for disabled people to get stuck in a battle with insurance and doctors. But for now, I’m just trying to stay positive. I played the waiting game for far too long, and now all that matters is that I get to take Edna on some new adventures!