In January 2004 My wheelchair finally arrived. It is a "Quickie 55s" made by Sunrise Medical (www.sunrisemedical.com
). The "s" variant means it is faster and according to English law (it is made in England) it has to have a full set of lights. All the functions of the wheelchair are controlled by the joystick that I control with my chin and a button that I can reach with my head. At first it was going to be
a puff/suck controller, but I cannot control my breathing, so we (me and the physiotherapists) went for chin-control. As you can imagine this control method is quite difficult, especially when you remember that I have no trunk control. If the wheelchair rocks (like on a pothole) my body rocks with it and since my head rocks with my body I involontarily move the joystick sideways, which makes the wheelchair rock even more. At this point the only way to stop this rocking motion is to stop completely the wheelchair by letting go the joystick and letting everything settle.
One of the first things I did was to change the bracket
holding the controls. This was necessary as the original bracket was too low and the rod holding the controls was hitting my shoulder. The new bracket was made by a friend who owns an engineering works (George Mallia who owns Kamoy Engineering). The new bracket is about 65mm longer.
Then it was fitting a 4-point racing-type harness to the chair to keep me as rigidly as possible in the seat. For this I ordered a custom-made harness from England (from www.willans.com
) and drew a plate
to hold the belt on the chair's back, that was made by the friend who owns an engineering works. The belt was not a total success - for it to work really well, one would have to tighten it a lot - which would hurt me eventually.