THE WHEELCHAIR rolled into our family life like some stygian chariot. Patti’s resistance was valiant but futile against the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.
Yet over the decades THE WHEELCHAIR has grown to mean safety, mobility and empowerment. Even color reflects the changing image as Patti’s current Quickie® LXI is bright yellow.
THE WHEELCHAIR is such a part of our lives that our 19 year old daughter has never really seen her Mom as a walking person.
Even our home pivots around it. Remodeling in our previous home was endless; we finally decided to simply build our current home from scratch. Until a WHEELCHAIR is a permanent part of your family you never realize that doors come in different widths or the height of most everyday things you need to reach.
(When you’ve been in a wheelchair as long as Patti has then enjoying some mutant moments is understandable.)
For example, a couple years ago at our daughter’s high school Patti created her own roller coaster out of an accessible hallway between three levels that rivaled a hillside. It took me most of that distance to catch up with her. No question that Patti enjoyed her wild ride and especially screeching ‘walkers’ jumping out of her charge.
At home our living space is all about rolling furniture. Inspired by the use of mobile modular furniture in Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House, Patti’s older and spare WHEELCHAIRS are the balance of the sitting décor.
Able-bodied visitors get a sample of being in and operating a wheelchair. The dynamics of the room are determined by the occupants not the furniture. Most importantly Patti is not the exception sitting in her WHEELCHAIR.
The advent of THE WHEELCHAIR as a ‘tool of the trade’ of family caregiving was ominous, but in retrospect was a milestone of surviving and even more so … about living.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer