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Wheeling in the caregiver’s shoes  15th September 2016

You do not know what to expect until you are walking in their shoes.  I am talking about caregivers of people in wheelchairs.

So I needed to take Moti to see his osteopath at Tanglin Shopping Centre.  I had earlier arranged with Ms. Maimunah of
The Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly to borrow a wheelchair as Moti had difficulties walking.  Thank you Ms. Maimunah for this loan and Adam for delivering it to my home.

It is a great challenge to navigate a wheelchair with a person weighing 100kg.  We were very grateful for the wonderful angels lending us a helping hand.  Thank you to the Chinese lady for holding the doors open and closing them after us.  Thank you to the Indian gentleman for showing us where the ramp is and for wheeling Moti down the slope as he saw I was struggling; and taking us all the way to the taxi stand.  Thank you to the Chinese man for flagging down the taxi and making sure no one cuts the queue and for folding and lifting the wheelchair into the taxi.

Thanks to Asha, Kanta and Dada for coming over and cheering Moti up.  And Asha for giving us a lift to Tanglin Shopping Centre.  Lucky for us Asha drove us right next to the lift lobby and we were able to take the lift to the first floor and then had to go around the corridor to take the lift to the office of the osteopath.  Opening and closing doors were a challenge, especially when the door won’t stay open when you push it open wide.  You have to position yourself and the wheelchair backwards, quickly open the door and hold it open with your backside as you manoeuvre the wheelchair through.   Tricky but manageable.

For going up the slope you need to have momentum and keep going, keep going until you reach the top.  If you stall halfway, boy, your load weighs a ton!

For going down the slope you have to go backwards.  In this way you have more control of the wheelchair as you can push it upwards and hold it steady as gravity begins to pull and slide the wheelchair down the slope.  If you do not go down the slope backwards. you will not have the strength to grasp onto the wheelchair as gravity pulls the wheelchair down hill at high speed.

Manoeuvring along narrow corridors can be tricky, especially when turning around corners.  One needs to have good spatial awareness, something which I am lacking of.  I had to ask Moti to keep his knees and arms within the confine of wheelchair width and also have to make sure that his feet are not extended too far out.  It is a pity the wheelchair does not have rear view mirrors when I am backing into the lifts.  I also have to  be careful I do not roll the wheels onto feet that that gets into my way.

All in all it was an adventure pushing a wheelchair as the person sitting in it enjoyed the ride to the osteopath.

To find out more about wheel etiquette, please click here





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