|Bela perched on my back circa 2009|
I open it up and begin to unpack. Wheels wrapped in clingwrap. Wheel locks packed in bubble wrap. Chair cushioned with a variety of packing materials. No cushion, but I wasn't sure if the seller would remember the question I posted on the previous listing on the chair. A bit of a surprise that the chair is a dark blue and not black like it looked online. Boxes moved out of my kitchen and I start to put the chair together (since it's a rigid frame, this isn't a big deal at all).
And...it fits. Since the chair is two inches wider than the transport chair I have, it feels different to roll it. The center of gravity is in a place where I could actually use it to dance and do active things in (you know, other than rolling around campus and for shopping). I did my first wheelie and squeed. I'm wondering if it's a little too wide, but upon further inspection it looks like there may be a little play in the axles to get the wheels closer to the seat. I'm going to get it outfitted with side guards that keep clothing away from spokes, so when I talk to the medical equipment supply place I'll ask them about the axle.
Now I just have to get someone to help me get it out of my house and into my car (it may only be 20 pounds, but my apartment is inaccessible and I try to not carry things up or down the stairs for fear of falling or making the spine angry). I also need to get the transport chair out of my car and either into my house or sold. I really don't forsee needing it or wanting to use it any longer as it's mostly impractical for my lifestyle.
I'm glad that it fits my dimensions pretty darn well. The seat back is at a height where it's high enough to support my lower back but low enough to not impede movement. The distance between the seat and footplate is damn near perfect since I don't need a calf strap (and this will make grocery shopping easier). I really couldn't be happier with the chair....although I do need to admit that the seat width thing has been a concern.
The transport chair is a bit snug, and I remember the medical supply store telling me that you want a chair that's as narrow as possible to put less strain on your shoulders (as shoulders aren't designed for that kind of consistent stress). I've been worrying about the new chair, wondering if two inches wider will be the ticket with the new chair. I had diet culture crap circulating in my head because of it, even though I know that diets don't work and generally end up in making a person bigger in the long term (plus making a less healthy body). I've seen this in my own body. Not only am I fighting myself, but I'm fighting a culture that thinks that if I would just become thinner, I would become abled. Before I became involved in the Health At Every Size movement, I actually tried. I was at my lowest adult weight but still having pain and nerve issues. I was also less muscular and less healthy, both physically and mentally.
Hopefully having a properly fitting chair will help me find joy in a body that sometimes doesn't feel joyful. If I can find ways to dance and move that don't put me in tears or cause me to injure myself, I think I win.