When I first got a wheelchair in 2019, I didn’t think that I would need another one for a long time. Me and my manual chair have been to many places. Because of it, I could do a lot of things that I couldn’t do before. Losing control of parts of my body took a huge toll on me mentally, as it would anyone, but having my manual wheelchair gave me that independence back and my mental health was on the mend. As my body’s needs changed again towards the end of 2020, I found myself filled with anxiety all over again at the thought of what my future would be: having to use a power chair.
In the beginning, I worried that getting this new piece of equipment would actually hinder my independence. I worried about a few things when it came to power wheelchairs. The size and width of ones I had seen before made me a bit anxious. I wondered how I would maneuver a power chair within my house. The power wheelchair also had to handle well, so my fiancé could load it into the van without trouble (my second-hand power chair at the time had MAJOR issues with this task). Most of all, the chair had to accommodate some of my needs, such as being able to tilt back and help distribute my weight needed. Little did I know, I didn’t need to worry about any of this.
Fast forward to early 2021 to the day when I received my new Quantum® Edge 3 Stretto Power Wheelchair.
The Narrow Base
Sitting in my living room early that morning, I watched my wonderful tech from my provider drive the new chair up my ramp. I was sweating beads hoping that he would fit it through my doorway. I swear, I looked away for one second to check my phone and when I looked up again, he was already through the door! I almost did a double take.
One of the deciding factors that made me choose the Stretto was how narrow the base is. I really didn’t comprehend that it was actually true to the description until I saw it in person. No more hurting my hands going through my doorways in my manual chair, which was much wider! So, I sat in the Stretto as they taught me how to maneuver it. Then, we moved out into the kitchen.
Using iLevel® in the Kitchen
As we went over the various functions on the Stretto motorized wheelchair like raising my legs, and the tilt function, we then tested one of the most useful features: iLevel®. With the push of a button and the tilt of my joystick, I went from being at seated level to elevated 12 inches! I remember this part of the day very well. For the first time in a long while, I could reach our cabinets and grab a glass of water at my sink without the assistance of another person. This brought a smile to my face. I now had the ability to reach our appliances and cook for my fiancé once again.
Using iLevel to Communicate
I discovered that iLevel has many more benefits than just being used within my home. Going out into public, I noticed a lot of the time that random people who interacted with us would speak exclusively to my fiancé and not me. I read a recent testimony from another Quantum motorized wheelchair user who said that when someone sees an individual in a wheelchair, they might assume that something is not right with you and won’t interact with you. That hit pretty close to home. I agree with this person. Since I began to use iLevel in public, people have been more willing to interact and engage with me, as opposed to the person I am with. While elevated at iLevel, I’ve also noticed that people back up and give me space, as opposed to being very close and looking directly down on me.
Maneuvering the Stretto into My Van
A bit later in the day, we went to the local park so I could really get a feel for my new wheels. Remember how I was worried about how the motorized wheelchair would handle being loaded into our vehicle? My fiancé had absolutely no problems, driving up our 8 foot ramp and into the back of our van.
Making the decision to switch from a manual to a power wheelchair, has been one of the best things I have done for myself. Not only has it increased my comfort (the tilt function alone has been SO helpful), but it has helped me to be more independent than I was before and could have ever been in my manual wheelchair.
About Chrysanthemum Chan: Chrysanthemum is an award-winning cosplayer and Quantum brand ambassador. She enjoys fashion, cosplay and music and has a TikTok channel with over 380,000 followers. Click here to learn more about Chrysanthemum.
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