At the end of May I received a fabulous standing wheelchair, which enables me to work in an upright position beside my electrical adjustable working table. Most often I stand in half-standing/half-sitting position, which eases the circulation of body fluids remarkably and relaxes my feet.
Before I got the standing wheelchair I was not able to predict how much the change in perspective would require adjustments in my living space. When I arrived home with the new wheelchair I noticed that my apartment needed new arrangements.
My sitting height now is about 26 inches (65 cm) from the floor. With my old wheelchair I had to fit all my stuff to lower shelves of cupboards, but bending down to reach the lowest shelves is most inconvenient now. From middle shelf upwards all cupboard space is now accessible for me. What I saw earlier as high is middle level now, and what I considered as middle level earlier, is lower level now.
If I want to pick up something from the floor, or if I want to fill up the washing machine, I can tilt the wheelchair so that my distance from the floor is about 18 inches (45 cm). When I stand up from the wheelchair I tilt my chair so that my legs reach the floor and then I raise the chair to half-sitting position which makes standing up much easier.
Sometimes my feet become so swollen that just standing on them is painful. At those times my wheelchair tilts to lounge chair. When the wheelchair is in resting position it is easy to lift feet up, massage them or just meditate.
When I obtained my first electrical wheelchair in 1988 it was not meant to be my primary mobility aid. In that time I was walking with a crutch. My walking speed was about 0,6 miles (1 km) per hour, and it was the longest distance that I could walk without pause.
The main reason for purchasing a wheelchair was that I was accepted to the university and I had to be able to move quicker from place A to place B. Because the left side of my body is paralysed and I cannot carry anything when walking, the wheelchair increased my independence, because it carried everything I needed.
In 1988 the first criterion for my wheelchair was that it should not become a mobility hindrance by itself. The wheelchair had to be so lightweight and flexible that it did not need any special transportation. Until now all my electrical wheelchairs could easily be disassembled in a way that they could be transported in a passenger car. 1999 I graduated from a German university as a translator for German and Chinese. Wheelchair did it´s job and promoted vocational rehabilitation.
Now my situation is completely different. My challenge is physical rehabilitation and recovering of muscle strength. In my opinion possibilities are limitless, even though much time has passed since I became disabled.
When driving it feels like sliding on caterpillar tracks. After I had used my new wheelchair for a few days, I felt as if I was swinging on the top of a wobbling tree. Apparently my sense of balance was trying to adjust to my new body positions.
After two weeks I was so tired that after 6 pm I did not have energy to focus on any demanding task. Probably my body needs several months to adapt to its new conditions. The best possible outcome would be that the new chair would trigger constant change in my body, activating muscles and expanding my horizon.
My horizon expanded first when I arrived home with my new chair and I was able to see to the street while standing in front of a window.