In preparation for my surgery (or, more likely, my next emergency admission to hospital which, today, feels a bit further away than it has of late), I’ve made a pair of crutch holders for my manual wheelchair (they’ll also fit either powerchair). I don’t know how those who are actually dependent on a powerchair cope, but I’ve met with a flat-out refusal to accommodate mine – they even balk at my manual chair and I have to insist that where I go, it goes too.
That objection is even manifest in the hospital itself – nurses get monumentally pissed off finding it parked alongside my bed which might explain why I’ve never seen another patient with their own chair. On one occasion the ward sister insisted that I let them stash my chair in the store-room, until I told them in no uncertain terms what they could do with that idea. The “store-room,” by the way, was also the only wheelchair-accessible bathroom and, the one time I tried to use it, looked as if it hadn’t been cleaned for several months. Add that to the fact that the “accessible” toilets, if one is on wheels, are totally inaccessible and one could be forgiven for thinking that disabled people were not welcome – and you’d be right.
Anyway, in hospital for any reason, I need both chair and crutches and, if I’m to self-propel, that means finding a way to transport the crutches on the chair so, yesterday, I cobbled up this. Sorry about the poor pic – at ISO 400 noise begins to creep in but I just wanted a quick snap and didn’t want to dig out my dSLR and flashgun, so I used the little Canon Ixus that I use for my ulcer photos.
It’s a fishing rod tube, cut in half and with the end-caps glued in place. It’s only a prototype, the final version needs to be about 8 inches longer so the crutches sit lower. I have another, much longer, tube I can cut in half, so that’s not a problem.
It’s simply tied to the chair’s push handles with a pair of bootlaces, and held in place at the bottom with elastic under tension, attached to the anti-tip castors. It can be quickly removed and just as quickly refitted (should I have to), but is held firmly in place when in use.
Also attached to the back of the seat, upside down, is a track pump for the tyres – you can see the handle between the red end caps – a bag for odds and sods (attached by karabiners for quick removal and refitting should the chair need to be folded), and the black and red webbing slings, with karabiners attached, are to enable me to carry my hospital bag slung in front of me.** There’s also a folding walking stick. All eventualities have to be covered.
**At least it was before my ulcer achieved its current monstrous size – so large I can no longer get it all in one photo – how that will work now I have no idea yet.
I also have to tinker with the chair’s geometry, as the crutches’ weight shifts the centre of mass too far back, so I need to move the wheels a couple of centimetres back to compensate. Then I’m good to go.
For a given value of “good” given the circumstances.