I started using a manual wheelchair in 2012, after a fall from spine surgery took away the mobility in my legs. I have a connective tissue disorder that’s caused me to need multiple surgeries on my brain and spine. From previous surgery complications, I already had quadriparesis (weakness of all my limbs.). The rehab center I went to did not take my medical history into account at all and gave me a manual wheelchair to use. I told the doctors in the rehab center that I have weakness in my arms and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I remember a doctor telling me: “I’ll admit I know nothing about your syndrome, but I know REHAB!” He told me that using a power chair was “giving up” and that I needed to keep pushing to get stronger. Over time, I would eventually discover (through owning a Quantum power wheelchair) that using a power chair does not mean you are giving up.
Obtaining My First Power Wheelchair
When I got out of the rehab center, I was finally able to see physical therapists that understood my syndrome. It was pretty obvious to them that every time I pushed a manual wheelchair my shoulders were subluxing (partial dislocation). It was causing me extreme amounts of pain. They had no problem writing me a script for a power wheelchair. After getting a power chair, I began to focus on healing and physical therapy for my post-surgery injury.
The Importance of a Custom Fit Power Chair
My first power wheelchair was not meant for someone with a spinal cord injury. I was so grateful just to be able to go places without needed someone to push me that I didn’t complain. The seats were hard leather, so it pushed against and aggravated my injury pain. I just told myself that this is how it is to be in a wheelchair. just suck it up.
It wasn’t until I met other wheelchair users that I learned about gel seats and foam for spinal cord injuries. I realized that if I had had the right seat, I wouldn’t have had to put up with pain all those years.
Power Positioning on My Quantum Power Wheelchair
The Quantum power wheelchair I have today can recline. This is very important due to my POTS and vertigo. When I experienced POTS attacks while using my previous power chair, I had to learn how to slide out of it onto the ground to stabilize my blood pressure without injuring myself. It was not safe at all. With my Stretto, I can remain in my chair and recline. I don’t need to risk injuring myself because of my medical needs.
My Quantum Power Wheelchair and iLevel Technology
The elevation on my Quantum power wheelchair has given me a much better life than my old power chair. I use it for doing things independently and even use it for physical therapy. I can’t do a sit-to-stand by myself. By using seat elevation, I keep those muscles as strong as possible.
I think about that doctor who said that using a power chair was “giving up.” There is no one-size-fits-all for wheelchairs and wheelchair users. Every person deserves the correct assessment for their disability needs. Having greater needs doesn’t make you weak. If I had received a Quantum power wheelchair at the beginning of my injury, it would have saved me so much pain and grief. Having the wrong wheelchair made me more disabled and made me want to give up. Today, with the help of my Stretto, I spend my energy on enjoying life.
Anomie Fatale: Anomie is a musician who performs at shows and open mic nights in Philadelphia. She is the current titleholder for Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania USA 2022 and is passionate about helping others. Click here to learn more about Anomie.
For more great blogs from our brand ambassadors and Q Roll Models, visit lifeatilevel.com today!
Return to the Life At iLevel page