I had a lot of problems with my wheelchair, as I’ve spoken about before.
Luckily for me, my quest for a refund was successful. However, it then left me without a wheelchair for six months. I cannot begin to describe the frustration this has caused – taking away my independence. I haven’t been able to do something as simple as pop to the shop for six whole months.
You’d think getting a new wheelchair would be easy, right? Just a case of ringing the NHS and saying ‘Hey, I can’t really walk. Can you order me a chair?’ ‘Yes, no problem, we’ll get right on that.’
No, no, no. That’s not how it works.
Okay, but social services must be able to get you one, right?
Now, the NHS does have local wheelchair services. They each have different policies. My local one has a policy that if you can walk one step, one tiny, measly little step – you can’t have an electric wheelchair. You can have a manual chair though, even if you physically can’t push it yourself, and don’t have someone strong following you around all day to push it for you. So, to be fair – they did give me a manual chair, that sat dusty in my garage because I can’t push it at all, and my informal carer, my mum, has two frozen shoulders.
So then I looked for charities that may be able to help. None of my conditions have a particularly large charity, so that was out. There are a couple of children’s wheelchair charities - that go up to age 25/26 – but have massive waiting lists.
Now lucky me, I came across an answer – Access to Work! I’d just started a job, a year ago, when I made my application. I knew my wheelchair wouldn’t last, plus my needs had drastically changed – I needed something comfortable that fit my needs.
Now, I believe Access to Work is an amazing organisation that do a lot of fabulous work, but this whole process has been bogged down for ridiculous reasons. Basically, I have an adapted Motability car, and a wheelchair that would fit my needs wouldn’t fit into my Focus. It needed to be taller to fit a more robust wheelchair hoist in. And I needed for pay for it again, and pay for all the expensive adaptations, and I didn’t have any money.
So then started the biggest circle-jerk waste of time known to man. Responsibility was passed between Access to Work and Motability like the latest contagious virus. Neither would take control, both had the answer of ‘speak to the other.’ Hence why six months later when my wheelchair finally got taken back for a refund, I was left ANOTHER six months with nothing.
It wasn’t all their fault – it took ages to find a chair that fitted my needs, and ages again to pick a car that was right for me.
But enough with the whining – I now have a lovely, amazing wheelchair. It’s the TDX Invacare, and it runs like a dream.
I HAVE MY INDEPENDENCE BACK!