The Experts?

 

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I know, I know, I am just a poor slob who carries around my own stumbling blocks.  But I am intimately involved with those stumbling blocks.  I am in a wheelchair.  I have used a walker, canes and a scooter.  I think I am perhaps more aware of what the benefits and problems are with each aid than some of these ‘experts’ appear to be.  My scooter was wonderful.  It was comfortable, had a great basket for shopping and it is no longer available to purchase.  Why?  It is, was, the most inexpensive of all the scooters I could find, it is one of only a few scooters that has the basket attached to the body of the vehicle as opposed to the tiller.  If the basket is attached to the tiller then the weight of anything you put into the basket is transferred to the tiller.  As the tiller is used to steer the scooter, steering becomes very stiff.  Lack of control is simply an accident waiting to happen.  The ‘experts/designers’ must have realized this because the baskets are very small.  I could maybe get a carton of milk and a loaf of bread in some of them. I guess this means the users of these vehicles are not supposed to do any shopping.  Ah yes, another vote for independence.

I am now using a power wheelchair.  They do not have any baskets.  I have been told that I can put anything I buy in a bag on the back of my chair. If I were a contortionist that would be an option.  I am not.  On my first chair I developed a solution.  You see I may have a disability, but I am not without some intelligence.  There may be those that disagree but we will talk about them later, much later.  Back to the basket.  I took a bungee cord, a little one, and attached it to the chair just behind my footrests.  Then I took a basket and placed in on the footrest and on the bungee cord and voila! A shopping basket.  Now I can go shopping when I want or take it off and go without.  AND I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!  Now that is independence.  Everyone told me that a power chair would allow me to remain independent.  They didn’t mention that as long as I had someone to do my shopping.  I just added that remark to the YEAH RIGHT column and deleted it with the rest of the garbage. My second chair was modified by a friend based on my designed and is even better. A small shelf was attached to the chair just above the footrests.  When not needed it tucks out of the way.

Are you getting the impression that there is a conspiracy to keep the undesirables down?  Silly thought.  There are those who may consider me an eyesore but I do not believe it is because of my disability.  I think it is just their inability to see.  They are not blind just really, really dense.   With the cost of everything for those with a ‘disability’ so expensive it is no surprise the makers of these devices want to keep the lucrative market to themselves.  If everyone were able to purchase items that were made to last and had all the right devices on them, the market would collapse.  Yep, my cynicism is just bubbling to the surface here.  I deal with a store that services my equipment and they have tried to explain problems to the makers and were rebuffed.  Even when the makers were wrong, they would not admit it and correct the problem.  How sad.  I am sure there are good people out there but it is sometimes tough to find them.  When I find something that works, I hang on to it.

That philosophy just never worked on men!

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35 thoughts on “The Experts?

  1. scifihammy

    I sympathise with your frustrations! Like you say, I wonder if anyone who designs these vehicles Ever tests them out with those who will actually Use them? You have at least come up with workable solutions 🙂
    I find this a lot with things for women, Obviously designed by a Man! My pet hate at the moment is all the hand baskets in the supermarket. They used to have the handle attached to the middle of the long side of the basket, so you could easily carry this over your arm while you shopped, with the long side of the basket next to you. Some bright spark has changed them All by 90 degrees, so when you try to carry it over you arm now, the whole basket sticks out and bashes into everyone! Clearly never tried in practice!

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    1. quiall Post author

      I believe that because too few people complain the changes will never happen. I may be a loud voice but one is not enough. It is discouraging that something as simple as a hand basket that was fine is modified. The need for change often seems to overcome good sense!

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  2. Pamela Beckford

    I wish I had a nickel for every hack we’ve done to make life easier for my dad. He’s been in a power chair for over ten years now. Can’t use his hands for much either. (Severe RA). We have created some interesting things for him over the years. The ones you can buy either don’t work for him or are so blooming expensive. But we keep inventing things to help him maintain as much independence as possible.

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      1. Pamela Beckford

        We made a pouch thing for him so he can carry straws (he can’t lift a coffee cup) and his cell phone (which has a thing tied to it so he can pull it out). The nursing home does whatever he needs. But he hates asking for help for every little thing.

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  3. quiall Post author

    I believe that because too few people complain the changes will never happen. I may be a loud voice but one is not enough. It is discouraging that something as simple as a hand basket that was fine is modified. The need for change often seems to overcome good sense!

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  4. emilievardaman

    A few wheelchair folks should get together with an engineer and design a good chair.! Since I’m not in one, I had no understanding of the related difficulties.

    A friend was in a chair for about a year and she used reusable bags and strung them on the arms of the chair when she went shopping. She ended up with one on each arm and one on her lap, and it wasn’t a power chair! Of course, I or someone else drove her during that period of time, so she clearly wasn’t independent. She now is (she’d lost part of her leg below the knee and now has a beautiful new part-leg and foot!).

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    1. quiall Post author

      Your friend experienced the problems first hand. Unfortunately most people just put up with. There are those out there who work hard to make a difference and that does help.

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  5. treyzguy

    It’s all about incurance and liability, Red. Designing things for humans is easy but, it’s the individual tastes and preferences that bite you in the butt. It’s like being a Chef….Your food is excellent but everyone of them would say “too much salt” “too spicy” “You used cooking sherry on the shrimp instead of the Chateau Montelana 1992?!” They can’t think of everything nor please everyone. If they added an extra, like your basket say, someone would say “It’s in the way” or “I got my hair caught in it” or “That’s a stupid design” so, I believe that you have done the wisest thing by creating your own needful thing. It suits your purpose and fancy. It works for you. I bet there is a disclaimer somewhere on that chair or in the owners agreement about adding or removing something from the original chair, is a sin, and they aren’t responsible for your inadequate engineering skills! LOL

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    1. quiall Post author

      The problem is the builders know of the inadequacies but do not want to spend the money to fix them and people are afraid to complain. I do speak up and there are people around me who help. It is sad though. Thanks for stopping by Trey.

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  6. Cheryl-Lynn

    First, I love that painting you have included in this post. How I empathize with your frustrations, Pam. Working in homecare for 2 years we often would call a company that supplied items, adapted furniture etc but after a while the support workers got together and we would shop around for things just as good and less then half the price from other places…and we’d tell caregivers or clients about this. It was so frustrating to see how little was changing and we could not complain in their name…many refused to `make waves`…always afraid of being cut off disability cheques etc…

    Good for you for speaking up and glad you found a way to shop for bare necessities…good gosh, it’s not as if you were looking for a support to grab a case at the LCBO 😉 You rock, kiddo!! 🙂

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    1. quiall Post author

      You have seen the frustrations from all sides! I know it sounds like things are awful but it never bothers me for long. I just look at it as a challenge that must be surmounted. I’m a woman, I always win! hahahah Thanks Cheryl-Lynn, it’s always good to hear from you.

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  7. Jill Dunbar

    Love it, Pam…..I expect if you really tried and smiled that beautiful smile, you could reel in the men ): xo

    Your chair appears to have everything you need – YOU are the expert!!

    Looking forward to the warmer weather and lack of snow you will be able to get out – sure miss you, my friend. XO

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  8. Catherine

    Brilliant idea for your basket! Independence at hand. Despite some being rather unkind, you never know how your beautiful smile might brighten their day (inside mind you)! 🙂

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  9. scottishmomus

    What’s that old adage? ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. I can’t count the number of times irritations that hinder become challenges to solve. Either I come up with one myself or ‘I know a man who can’. Hubs is very good at innovating when it comes to needs must and why pay for it. In every case I can think of offhand what has been created lasts longer, serves purpose better and instils a sense of satisfaction at obstacles defeated. The one most readily coming to mind is garden furniture. Large family, pieces of crap purchased almost every year, falling apart in short term usage. So frustrating and mind-numbingly wasteful. I moaned a bit, hubs built a massive table from old roof beams, designed benches that don’t fall over when you lean back and it’s still going strong years later. I couldn’t buy it if I wanted to. Low maintenance, recycled and serves purpose beautifully. Stuff is designed not to last – planned obsolescence – keep the customers coming back. Unfortunately, hubs can’t make kettles and washing machines. The whole thing drives me insane with how wasteful it all is.
    Even if they did listen to you, Pam, as you say, they would charge a fortune for the souped-up version. Keep on with the complaints but keep right on with the innovations. It’s in the experience and the need where the ideas come from. I bet if there was someone handy mechanically they could take the basic model and refit to requirements and your direction. Find that man or woman. That would be a business worth pursuing. One in the eye for planned obsolescence and mercenary corporations. I hate waste. And being manipulated. Go for it!

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    1. quiall Post author

      You are so right! My apartment is full of changes I have made to accommodate me. And yes the feelings of self satisfaction make it even better. I think you and I would have done well as pioneers! With the appropriate support staff of course!

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