The Kindness of Strangers

Ang and vikki with wheelchair
Victoria pushing her mum at our wedding, 26th of August 2017

From infancy we learn how to speak and how to walk, Motor Neurone Disease takes those that we take for granted in our everyday lives away. Angela has all but lost the ability to speak and her walking, though still mobile has been affected to the point that she uses a wheelchair when we go out. At the moment, Angela has a manual chair that was provided by the hospital, it is fine, and I love pushing Angela in the chair, but it places a lot of strain on me.

With my issues of sight loss, I have to really concentrate when we are out in Leeds or anywhere I am unfamiliar with simply because there are people rushing around us and I don’t want to hit anyone. There is also the problem of pavements in that drop pavements are not always flat to the ground, I have problems in that I don’t always see them until it is too late and have many times hit them with the chair.  As much as I love pushing Angela in her chair I know that there are limits to what I can and can’t do.

This is where the heading of this blog ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ comes in, Victoria is my wife’s daughter from her previous marriage. Victoria called us a couple of weeks ago to say that her partner’s parents wish to purchase a wedding present of a power wheelchair for Angela.  We have not met them yet; however, we will meet them when we make the journey down to London next month.  We can thank them in person for their generous offer. A power-chair will make life so much easier in many ways, it will take the strain off me and Angela’s other daughter, Hannah, when we are out in the town and it will give Angela some independence.

Anyway, we spent the day yesterday in Crossgates Shopping Centre in Leeds looking at power-chairs.  We need a chair that has dual controls so that Angela can have that bit of independence and control the chair herself and I would be able to take over and control the chair from the back when she is tired.

The issue is that the dual control can’t be fitted to a captain’s seat; this is a seat with a high back and a headrest. We were told that it could only be done if the seat has a bar running across the back. As we know with Motor Neurone Disease it affects the muscles.  There will come a time when Angela needs the headrest for support. There is also the issue of cost, for an extra control to be fitted to the back; it would add an extra £300 to the bill.



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