6 Things I’ve Learnt Since Using a Powerchair

Anyone looking from the outside might wonder why I have so many wheels to my name. No, not fancy cars, but my collection of mobility aids. I take no shame in needing all these, as each and every one has a different purpose.

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Life On Wheels

To keep my mental health intact, fresh air and getting out of the house is essential.

The limits my manual wheelchair were placing on me by only being able to go to smooth surfaced places, like supermarkets and shopping centres, was too restricting. I found mobilityhire.com for my hired powerchair and honestly haven’t looked back.

Mobilityhire.com – The UK’s Number 1 Supplier of Mobility Equipment on Short or Long Term Hire

I’ve learnt several things since getting my first powerchair and figured should share some of them with you all!  

Always bring a plastic bag for your powerchair joystick

If you’re in the UK, you just never know when it’s going to rain. Even in the “summer”. Inverted commas around “summer” used entirely on purpose. It seems there isn’t a complete consensus on whether you can use a powerchair in the rain but seeing as the brochure for my powerchair features 2 people using it in the pouring rain, it must be ok. And the manual talks about “when you use it in adverse weather conditions…”. I mean, you can’t expect someone to only use a powerchair in dry conditions, surely? You’d never go anywhere! 

However, the control system (where the joystick is) is obviously a set of electric buttons that needs to stay dry. I can’t imagine that would cope very well in the pouring rain. So, a plastic bag is a necessity. I always have one in my handbag, and whip it out (the plastic bag that is) and pop it over the top of the control panel. My hand holds the plastic bag in place while using the joystick. 

Your legs get cold. Really cold.  

Something I never really thought of prior to wheelchair use. Obviously you’re not moving your legs so they get cold. I’m still on the look-out for an adult sized footmuff similar to the ones you get for prams (and I was always jealous of E for using when she was a baby) but for wheelchairs. If anyone sees a jazzy looking one, i.e. not one of those boring looking ones in the mobility magazines, do let me know! 

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Why I’m Not Ashamed To Be Disabled

Dedicate a bag of sorts to go on the back of your chair.

This was the first powerchair I hired: the Horizon Gadabout.

You can’t guarantee you’ll always have a second hand free to hold something on your lap. I made the mistake of going out without the big handbag I use on the back of the chair. Big mistake. There’s no storage basket thing under a powerchair with those giant batteries in the way, so your lap is the only option. But plastic bags are very slippery! Very very frustrating journey home. 

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Life On Wheels

The control system is very attractive to toddlers

Those lights and buttons are far too attractive.

If you don’t have a child, then you’re free from this one. I’m just waiting for the day that E decides to move the joystick when I’m not looking, sending us flying. Or when she climbs onto the chair herself, she’ll give herself quite the fright I reckon. 

Dropped kerbs are really annoying. 

These are so unbelievably annoying. Mainly because they’re not flush against the road, so there’s still a bump to have to get over to get onto the pavement. Even more annoyingly, when people park over the top of them. Over the top of the dropped kerb! So round in circles one goes, finding a driveway to use instead. 

The world is not designed for wheelchairs. There are steps into pretty much every single shop and café, apart from supermarkets, making most places impossible to get into. It’s frustrating to have to plan ahead each powerchair journey, planning out where one can go (and not go as the case is). 

Related: Mummying and M.E. – Why I’m Not Ashamed To Be Disabled

But finally, the most important thing I’ve learnt is:

The powerchair is my huge symbol of independence.

When your legs burn with such force upon walking, and fresh air is hugely important to you, a powerchair becomes the only option. I’m so very grateful that mobility equipment hire companies actually exist, allowing you to try out the product first before committing to buying one. 

This is my second hired powerchair, and I love it. I don’t know if I’ll hire different ones to this but for now, this one is fab.

Readers, tell me about your power chairs. Have they improved your quality of life or are they more of a hindrance? I’d love to know more about your experiences.

mummying and me

13 thoughts on “6 Things I’ve Learnt Since Using a Powerchair

  1. THese are some great tips, Sophie! I don’t have a powerchair yet, I don’t get out enough to justify the purchase, but it is definitely on my wishlist for when I am able to leave the house again. On the rare occasions I am pushed out on my wheelchair, I always have a blanket for my legs, cushions for back and bottom and a bag on the back too. I never thought about it, but you’re right, young children love pushing buttons!!

    1. Glad you like the post Char, thank you for commenting. I definitely recommend just hiring a powerchair even for a couple of weeks just to check it out. Good idea on the cushions for the back, thank you!

  2. I have been using a powered chair since 2017 and am about to be given one by the NHS. I came across your blog because I was looking for info on the Q200 which is the chair I’ve been fitted for. I wanted to know if it would be any good for M.E. Then I can across the photo on your blog. Are you using a Quickie Q100 or 200? How do you find it? I’m worried about the lack of back rest recline because I have difficulty holding my upper body up – particularly I the right side. I am being given lateral supports but I would really like to be able to use just one wheelchair whereas at the moment I have several for different grades of sicknes/ relapse. I have to have quite long days a few times a year due to religious commitment. The little a200 seems ok for a park run with my son but nothing more. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Lorraine, yes it’s the Q200 I have (on long term hire). I really like it, it works really well for me because it’s narrower than other power chairs on the market but the seat is still wide enough for me. The narrow-ness works well to get through doorways, on trains etc. And it’s much more sturdy than the folding powerchair I had before this one. The backrest can be set at different angles but you’re right, it doesn’t recline while you’re sitting in it. So if that’s important to you then I would recommend perhaps looking at the ones slightly higher up on the scale like the Q400 etc. Hope that helps and good luck in your choice! x

      1. Thanks. I just want to say I’ve had M.E. For 26 years and I’ve read all kinds of blogs and papers and magazines over the years but I really like your blog!!! Great stuff. Just what I was looking for actually. Be nice to hear more about your day to day life and parenting. I patented with M.E. All the way through and now have teenagers but there never was enough stuff about parents with M.E. I also think it’s important that you talked about the positive effect using a chair has On your M.E. Doctors don’t grasp things point nearly enough!!!!

        Well done.

  3. I wrote a very long post and it disappeared when I clicked “Post Comment” Arghhhh!!!! Not got the energy to recreate but…🤷🏻‍♀️

    Basically, I also use wheelchair and small mobility scooter and get cold legs too! There’s a gap in the market for lovely design “cozytoes” If only I were well, and could sew brilliantly…!

    Found these in the meantime:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/BundleBean-Waterproof-Fleece-Wheelchair-Blanket/dp/B07J2KN587/ref=pd_ybh_a_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZQ13BKFX6Y70V6QSE071

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/BundleBean-adults-Wheelchair-Cosy-waterproof/dp/B01K2SRMW8/ref=pd_ybh_a_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZQ13BKFX6Y70V6QSE071

    https://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/clothing/outerwear-for-wheelchair-and-scooter-users-_-leg-covers-and-sitting-bags-p/wheelchair-leg-cover-0106838-3868-information.htm

    Flamingo, but child size if you’re short (might fit me, I’m 5 foot nothing…🤔
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/BundleBean-Child-Wheelchair-Special-Needs/dp/B01MCSVEV0/ref=pd_ybh_a_6?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZQ13BKFX6Y70V6QSE071

    And a clear joystick cover – if you’re not too attached to your plastic bag 😆
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Electric-Wheelchair-Waterproof-Joystick-Protection/dp/B07S62H4ZT/ref=pd_ybh_a_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZQ13BKFX6Y70V6QSE071

    Hope this is useful for someone 🙃

    1. Oh bless you sorry, comments look like they’ve disappeared when you write them as I individually moderate all comments so no spam / bot things end up on my site! So I’ve definitely seen both of your comments! Thank you so much for the links. I have BundleBeans now which are so amazing. Follow me on Instagram and you’ll see the pics! Thanks again x

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