Often when I go to local sporting events I end up giving rides on my wheelchair to the children of people I know. I believe it helps them be more comfortable with and understand a little better what it is like to be disabled. The initial reaction however is usually “This so cool or awesome.” In order to help them understand what it is really like I ask them to think about what would happen if the chair stopped working and how I could be totally at the mercy of others or worse yet alone.
This has actually has happened to me when I’ve been home by myself. One time I went outside to empty my bag and my chair malfunctioned. All of a sudden it stopped running because of a short in the wiring system. So here I was late in the afternoon sitting out on my lawn, with the proverbial storm moving in, and no way to get help. I was beyond the range of my LifeNet and was some distance from the neighbor’s house. Talk about feeling helpless and disabled. It was a rude reminder how vulnerable I really am and pretty scary. As a result of occurrences like these and because of my need for certain supplies during a normal day I have attached a small storage bag to each of my wheelchairs. It is called an Armrest Organizer which I purchased from Case Logic online. I prefer to call it my “male bag" for obvious reasons. The bag attaches to the arm of my wheelchair using a Velcro strap and hangs down on the outside of the arm out of the way. When you want to use it, you flip it onto your lap and it lands right side up. It opens very easily, however, while there are some interior organizational features I am unable to use them because of my hand configuation.
The contents of this “bag” must provide for my needs in any number of different situations. The bag contains a loud whistle on a lanyard, for signaling, an Electrobond “tool”, a light weight device which will pick up many dropped items, an LED flashlight, my Emergency Medical Sheet which contains all my vital medical information and information on Autonomic Dysreflexia which is a life-threatening condition I can develop very quickly. Also included are a container of extra medication, trail bars and several GU energy gel packs, money, my voice activated cell phone, a small pair of folding scissors, a Telescoping Magnet and sunscreen. Where ever possible the objects have been modified for easy pick up. Of course the contents will vary depending on individual needs.
1 Magnet 2 Washer 3 Whistle 4 Pills 5 Flashlight 6 Folding Scissors