Well it had finally got to the time when I needed help with getting about. I think the OSO realised that it was time to do something when she picked my brothers and I up from school one afternoon and I said that I had fallen over in school again. This had been happening quite a lot, usually it was in the playground when I was out playing with my friends and I got pushed over my mistake. It was just that somebody had knocked me and over I went like a Kelly doll! This time however I told Mum’ the wind had blown me over’ and trust me it was only a little breeze, not gale force 9!
So off we went to Manchester to the main M.D. centre where I was supplied with a manual (push wheelchair to those not up to speed with disability speak!) wheelchair so I could use it when I got tired. I found this a great help, but I think Mum especially found it quite hard because I suppose it meant that I was getting worse.
This worked fine for quite a while, but it got to the point when I was about 9years old that I was going to need an electric wheelchair. To be honest I was quite looking forward to getting one because I was finding it very hard to walk and especially keep up with my friends when they were playing.
We already had a van adapted to take a wheelchair and the bungalow we had already adapted the bungalow so it could take a wheelchair in that the doors had all been widened and a couple of walls knocked down to make it easier for me to get around. (I make all this sound so easy, but the alterations actually took quite a lot of time to do and a lot of money. Mum and Dad had to have help to do this from their parents)
Anyway, again I went over to Manchester to a specialist wheelchair place to sort out the right kind of wheelchair for me. I wanted a roller blade/mountain bike type of a wheelchair. The trouble was they didn’t make them like that. This was quite a long time ago and at that time wheelchairs seemed to be only designed for old people, not children like me. Things, I know, have got a lot better, but then there really wasn’t much choice. However, I did get fitted for a chair and had great fun racing it around scaring the OSO nearly to death. It was very expensive, but we got help buying it from the charity Whizz Kids who helped us out with two more chairs in future years.
I thought my chair was great and it helped me get around so much better. Out in public it caused quite a stir! Lots of people did actually talk to me as if I was stupid and would talk to the rest of my family rather than me; but that was something we soon all got used to so it didn’t bother us after a while. In fact very quickly my wheelchair was incredibly popular. My mates quickly realised if they were on their blades they could all link up with each other and if one of them held onto my wheelchair then I could pull them all along in a big sort of chain! It also meant that we could all go out walking as or biking as a family again which was fantastic. Obviously we had to pick where we went, but as long as it wasn’t too bumpy a route or had any steps we got along just fine. It turned out that we could get an electric wheelchair into all sorts of unlikely places; we couldn’t always get it out, but luckily the OSO was also known as the ‘mighty atom’ so she could usually manage to extricate it, we never had to call out the fire brigade!