Getting a quart into a pint pot…

As of next week I shall have 4 wheelchairs in use – and room for only 2. Plus a Class 3 scooter, currently unused.

I have a Quickie Ti (titanium-framed rigid chair), which I’m converting into a trike with a FreeWheel kit (coming tomorrow), a Quickie Life (custom-built folder), a Shoprider Lugano midwheel-drive powerchair – my main chair – and a Betterlife Aries, a very basic, rear-wheel drive, powerchair, which I’ve just put back into service after discovering the Lugano is incompatible with taxis – the midwheel configuration stops it going up the ramp as when the front casters are on the ramp, the drive wheels come off the ground. A longer, shallower, ramp is the answer, but that’s out of my control, or being allowed to take a run at the ramp, and let momentum carry me past the critical point, but the driver was convinced I’d overshoot and wreck his car!

As I’m hoping to be able to get out more using taxis, especially when this god-awful leg is gone, changes need to be made.The Aries and the Quickie trike will be my taxi chairs, the Quickie Life my home, hospital, and social life chair if, indeed, I ever have a social life again, and the Lugano my principal means of transport other than those.

The problem is that the Aries – also a folder – has to be partially dismantled (batteries and footrests removed), folded, and stashed in the airing cupboard under the shelving. I really do not have the physical resources to deal with that every time I want to use it. I can live with taking the footrests off and putting them back, that’s easy, but taking the batteries out and folding it – and vice-versa – is too painful (and once my leg is amputated, impossible). That has to change, too.

The airing cupboard shelving is attached to the walls via battens nailed to the internal studding (interior walls here are studding and plasterboard), with a leg supporting it in the centre – and that’s my target. I plan to remove the central leg and replace it with one at either end.

First, though, I needed a power saw as I have only one good hand, the left (see footnote), and a reciprocating saw (a jigsaw on steroids), is the affordable solution. Amazon have just delivered a Black & Decker KS890EK Scorpion saw. No, it’s not for cutting up scorpions…

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It’s available for a few quid less without the case but trust me, the case makes it easier to store, especially if you have kids.

The plan is to cut out the central leg, leaving it supported by the side battens. These won’t hold it forever, so I’m going to use two pickaxe handles which are almost the perfect length – just needing a sliver off one end – to make legs.

They need to be very slightly – just a couple of millimetres – over-size so they can be wedged tightly in position with the aid of a rubber mallet, one at either end. they will then be more than capable of supporting the weight currently supported by the single leg while providing unobstructed access.

Tip: If embarking on a task like this, before cutting, put the replacement legs in place first. Just in case.

Finally, if you look at some of the weird reviews and questions for this item on Amazon, you’ll see why I don’t take them too seriously at times – user error and a failure to RTFM are major problems. This is clearly – the price is a clue – a tool for fairly light DIY, yet people are talking about cutting down trees, or sawing up railway sleepers.

That’s not what it’s for, guys! The maximum depth of cut, in wood, is 10cm so – obviously – not for tree-felling or railroad-tie cutting-up. That’s chainsaw territory.

And yes, I shall be wearing a dust mask – after the week I’ve just had I’m not about to push my luck…

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Footnote:-

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I’m losing the use of my right hand. A few months ago I declined a nerve conduction test as the last thing I needed – after being advised that it was painful – was even more pain in my life (this is why). Anyway, my own belief was that the damage was caused by the better part of 30 years leaning on a crutch – something which has just been confirmed. Painfully.

Because of my leg, it’s been increasingly necessary for me to use my crutches indoors for the first time, in order that I don’t fall, as my leg is no longer very keen on supporting me (and I’ve passed out from the pain several times luckily, so far, while seated). So, for some weeks now I’ve been lurching around on crutches or, at least, my right crutch, as a result of which my right hand is all but useless now.

Yes, I know that with a right-leg problem I should use the crutch in the opposite hand, but my left hip is arthritic and my left arm weak, the result of a childhood injury, so the best compromise, if I use one crutch, is in the right hand. And my right hand, as a result, is trashed – a bizarre combination of numbness and pain. And knowing why, finally, is no consolation at all!

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