Getting Used to my Wheels!
If you are out and about in Sonning Common, Henley or Reading, you might see me in my new bright purple wheelchair! I am a bit of a learner driver at the moment, but I am getting the hang of it, and, more importantly, I am already benefitting from the greater independence that having a wheelchair that is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre is giving me.
Why the need for a wheelchair? I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in September 2016 and more recently with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS). The two conditions often go hand in hand. EDS means that I am very elastic, both inside and out, so that whilst my joints are very flexible and therefore often dislocate, my insides are flexible too! My veins, for example, are too stretchy which means that if I stand up too quickly or for too long the blood is likely to pool in my feet, causing me to faint. You can imagine that constant dislocations and the threat of fainting make going out for any length of time quite a challenge. I borrowed a wheelchair last year after an operation to tighten my hip joint; this was a great help, but I needed a driver (Mum!) and could not propel myself. This experience led me to make the decision to buy a wheelchair of my own.
I researched carefully and found a specialist supplier not too far away, in Farnborough. I made an appointment and was impressed by the range and options available, not to mention the array of accessories and colour choices: from standard black through to sparkly pink. Each wheelchair is made to measure and when I had identified the most important features, I was measured up and sent a quotation. Not too long after that I was able to place an order and my wheelchair arrived at the end of January.
The generosity and kindness of so many people who have donated towards the cost of my wheelchair has been overwhelming! As well as the considerable amount raised at the Christ the King 50th birthday party in December, I have received donations from several community groups and from many individuals. I would like to express my thanks to everyone: this has made such a huge difference to my quality of life. I am happy that I can continue to work part-time and look forward to whatever opportunities the future will bring. And I am, of course, looking forward to our concert in March: I hope to see you there!