I received my Edge® 3 Motorized Wheelchair with iLevel® technology on February 6, 2020. California, where I live, was put under a shelter-in-place order on March 19, 2020. I have several disabilities and chronic illnesses that put me at very high risk for becoming critically ill if I contract COVID-19. So, I was essentially homebound until I could access the vaccine. I don’t mean to complain. I am incredibly lucky that I have a job that can be done entirely from home. Plus, with two young kids in the house, I never got bored.
Because of the pandemic, I had to wait to fully utilize my new motorized wheelchair and its many capabilities. I am slowly getting out more, although I am still somewhat cautious to protect my kids who are too young to receive the vaccine. As I venture out into the community, I’m appreciating the functionality of my motorized wheelchair.
Reaching Credit Card Machines
It has always been a challenge for me to reach credit card readers at stores and coffee shops. With iLevel technology on my power wheelchair, this is no longer an issue.
When I need to travel for work in the future, I anticipate iLevel will be quite useful. Many times, hotel light switches are out of reach. Now that I can elevate my power wheelchair up to 12 inches, reaching light switches won’t be a problem anymore.
I’ve had my share of canceled flights and long layovers. I slept in an airport more than once. I can tell you that sleeping in my Edge 3 Power Wheelchair will be a lot more tolerable than sleeping in my old chair that didn’t even recline, never mind perform the kinds of seating acrobatics that my Edge 3 can.
Sitting at High-Top Tables
It’s common for conference networking events to be held in establishments with bar-height or high-top tables. This was always quite alienating for me. I know I will be more comfortable speaking with my colleagues who are standing if my wheelchair seat is elevated. Also, I wonder if I will be more approachable when elevated? I sense that my wheelchair’s ability to elevate may even be an ice breaker.
At the end of the day, as the country slowly emerges from the isolation of the pandemic, we all have a lot to look forward to. For me, this includes really using my “brand new” wheelchair.
About Joe Stramondo: Joe is an assistant professor at San Diego University and is extremely active in the disability community. Joe uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair to maintain his mobility and independence. In his spare time, Joe strives to be the best father he can to his children. Click here to learn more about Joe.
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