Here's a funny thing about push handles- I never wanted them on my chair. My previous one didn't have them and if I had my way- the new one wouldn't have them as well. Luckily, on the wheels I just retired last week it wasn't even an option. I've had a "lowback" while this one is a full-back. When I picked the specs eleven years ago it was intentional and I did it for a number of reasons. I was hoping having a smaller area to lean against would improve my posture, strengthen my back muscles and force me to sit up more. Unfortunately, as I learned to slide down from it it didn't quite work. I also hoped it would look more like an active, mobility device and be less "wheelchairy" as in something other people push around. Because having other people easily pushing me was the last thing I wanted to happen. It doesn't mean that on some occasions it wouldn't be efficient if they did or that there weren't times when I actually needed help. To me, someone coming up to push me, often just doing it without asking, meant overriding my independence. I didn't want to equip my chair with a tool giving other people this power. If the bars are just there, they look so inviting, right? On one level in interfered with my self image. To me, having a wheelchair that other people get to push is in direct conflict with the image I was trying to project. It was becoming more like one of those things with wheels you see in hospitals I've dreaded on my life. On another level I feared that if I gave others an easy option to push me, I'd rely on it way to often. Not having that to fall back on made me more driven, able and resourceful. I was also very happy with my Varilite custom upgrade back. So when my parents were picking out my new chair, this is a topic we discussed at great length, back and forth, back and forth. To her, bars serve a utilitarian purpose. If someone needs to push me, they should be there. I'm not quite sure who she imagined doing that and why. I don't think she can truly understand what it means to me and why I oppose it. I guess, what others see simply as equipment is more than that to me, and I don't even know how to explain it. My parents found a very nice, high end wheelchair, so I gave in on that point. I still wish the back was lower, you can hardly see me sitting in0 it from behind. And I wish I could take those handles off. Yes, you can fold them a bit, but I know they're there. but at least I have a white and shiny Tilite chair!
I look forward to seeing the new chair, the next time at the Hipp. SvenReplyDelete