I received a standing wheelchair for my use approximately a year ago. I wrote a short introduction about it after my first impressions. On the anniversary of my wheelchair I thought to expand the introduction, because when I have used the wheelchair I have noticed that its designers have thought (almost) about everything. I also wish that this article gives for designers, salespersons and users of wheelchairs something to think about.
The length of Levo C3 when footrests are flipped up is 100 cm (about 39 inches). It means that the wheelchairs turns a full 360° round in a circle with diameter of 100 cm. Although the wheelchair looks massive it is very agile.
When using Levo C3 I noticed another very positive thing: The wheelchair does not have hard protruding corners, which would grind doorjambs. But Levo C3 can damage surface of paint while turning.
Because it is lacking protruding corners I do not have to be afraid that while turning I would break the glass doors of my closet, like happened some years ago, when the protruding safety wheels on the back of my chair punched the door.
When Levo C3 is in its normal sitting position, its back wheels give a tangible feeling of the length of the wheelchair. But the back wheels are the weakest link of Levo C3. Over the past years I have several times got in trouble, when for example a bag strap or electric cord has intertwined around an axle of a wheel.
A few months ago the wire of a charger for a tablet computer entwined around the back wheel, even though I particularly tried to avoid that happening. The tablet fell down to the floor. Luckily it survived undamaged that plunge and with some considered moves I was able to free the wire from the wheel. Just two days ago the cord of my winch modelled laundry drying rack entwined around the axle of the back wheel of my chair. Luckily I had scissors at hand and I could free myself by cutting the cord. What if I would not have had scissors? To whom I could have called in the middle of the night to ask to free me from that jam? My phone was in another room and it does not have remote control.
It would be great help, if the wheelchair would have reverse camera, which would enable the observation of the back wheels.
Levo C3 has another hidden danger in the knee support, which is attached between knees. In front of the knee support there is a bar that is open on both ends, which downright calls for different kind of cords to entangle to itself. Several years ago my wheelchair pulled a coffee machine from the table, when its electric cable entangled to a hole in the wheelchair. Fortunately the coffee pot was empty. There would have been big mess, if hot coffee would have splattered around the room.
To compensate these “holes” that make life difficult, Levo has a rail underneath the armrests to which one can mount various kind of aids that make life a bit easier. For the first time my wheelchair has a helping hand, on which I can attach my phone or tablet computer. On the rail one can also attach a handbag, toolbox or extra table, if needed.
The control unit in Levo wheelchair can be turned aside, which makes it possible to drive as near as needed to a table. At home this is no problem, because my tables are electrically adjustable, but when I go outside the adjustable control unit is a great feature. In some situations it is easier to work when the control unit is moved aside.
I received my first standing wheelchair in 2000. It was first generation standing wheelchairs. Compared to Levo C3 it was fragile and broke often and it did not give the feeling that standing is my most natural position.
But the reason for that can also be that my physical condition was bad and I was mentally differently tuned to everything. In any case, the sturdy frame and flexible functions of Levo C3 gives completely different feeling also in sitting position compared to regular wheelchair. One can drive the chair also in a standing position. Standing or half sitting position in the wheelchair feels more natural than regular sitting position.
Our success depends on how quickly we are able to adapt to new situations. Standing up forced me to look at my situation from a completely different angle. I have over-active bladder that has neurological causes. This problem has started to bother me over the last few years. When urologist examined that a few years ago in hospital, I kept diary about my liquid circulation for a week. In worst situation I went to toilet 13 times a day when I drank one cup (2 dl) of water every hour.
Even though I received medication to my bladder problems, which greatly improved my situation, going to the toilet with standing wheelchair did not feel natural. Standing requires knee support and other adjustments, but despite the simplicity of everything, it felt pointless crank just for emptying the bladder.
Women Stand to Pee
I had to find out a way to pee while standing, so that I could stand whole day and get most benefit out of it. After pondering the issue for a few days I woke up in one morning with the clear idea that I need to get a urine gutter. I immediately called to my friend, who is a carpenter and has made me several aids and instalments. After explaining my idea he told that he believes that aid like this is already invented. He recommended me to make a Google search. About search words he was not able to say anything.
I wrote to Google search “pee while standing” and several solutions popped up. In an hour I had found several alternatives (gogirl, Sheewee, pStyle, Pibella) and watched videos about women peeing while standing.
It felt as if I was watching the world from a completely new angle. It came to my mind, how this simple aid would have eased my life considerably, especially when I was studying in China.
But when considering the standing wheelchair all these aids were too short. However, I decided to try the pStyle “gutter” that could easily be extended.
We tightened to the end of it an 19 mm hose with cable tie and it worked perfectly. After trying the aid for a while I noticed that it works well in situations when bladder and continence were normal. Otherwise emptying of bladder causes unnecessary stress.
So I had to find some other solution. And actually that ‘other solution’ was already in my use. Earlier I purchased for night time use Uribag – urine bottles made of soft latex. I thought that maybe I could use the same bottles during the daytime also.
We sew a terry cloth bag for the bottles and they turned out to be a useful mobile toilet for me. Initially when I purchased the bottles I was sceptical because of the simple-looking cap, but in use it turned out to be very tight. After careful closing of the bottle it does not leak at all.
The capacity of the Uribag collection bag is 1,1 liters (about 4 cups), but when women use it in lying position, one can fill only half of it. For that reason it is good to have several of them, if you use them in lying position. I clean them by soaking them every now and then in white vinegar. Occasionally I clean the opening with disinfectant.
Standers New Outfit
After discovering the mobile toilet it also required handy clothing, which covers the urine bag. For this problem, help was provided by Super-Goofy, whose outfit, adult romper, suits perfectly for my need. A loose romper is warm and comfortable to wear. Its front part has two way zipper, which works as fly. On the back it has easy-to-open ‘ash dump cover’ for actual visits to the toilet.
Video:Stand up and pee with the pStyle