This is part four I think… Of course new products become available, I become aware of different products and my needs change so this is likely to be an ever evolving list.
So, things which improve my life include…
An adaptor which turns your wheelchair into a phone charger. I have a short, multi ended charger plugged into mine so that I can charge any of my devices, my friends and my carers should the need arise. It works when the chair is turned off as well as when it’s in use.
Small wheelchair charger. Most wheelchair chargers are big and clunky and not very portable but you can get some which are more reasonably sized and I have one of these in my wheelchair bag at all times, just in case!
Period pants, which I love so much I wrote a whole blog post about them…
Now I have my wheelchair vehicle – another thing that makes my life easier! – I am going out and about in my electric wheelchair a lot more which is so much better. However, it is bigger and doesn’t let me get under tables very well which is annoying when I’m at courses and want to write notes or rest the handouts on the table. So I got a Trabasack wheelchair tray, in purple of course. Mine is the curve connect and it hangs on the back of my wheelchair but then when I need it, it fits snugly on my lap and has a zip pocket so I can pop my tablet in there.
My tablet is also an essential. I go for the lightest reasonably priced one and when I needed a new one, this happened to be the Samsung S5e. I also got the keyboard and a stylus. I also have a pen holder which is designed for books and basically is a piece of elastic that handily slides round my keyboard cover so my stylus is always to hand. Unfortunately I cannot seem to find what I mean online…
As winter is approaching, I’m using my wheelchair cosy and waterproof a lot more… For added warmth I also tend to add blankets under the cosy and if it’s really cold, then an electric hot water bottle. If it’s really really cold, then I’ll also pop a couple of hotrox in my shoes… Heat packs are also handy for warmth and soothing angry body parts.
If you aren’t as obsessed with being warm as me, then you may want to have some cool packs in your house… There are ones which turn into ice packs on opening which are useful for out and about and we also wrap small freezer blocks in a tea towel.
Actually, that reminds me, in the summer wheelchairs can get very sweaty… They tend to be black and tend to be made from plastic-y fabric. This meant that on one of the first really hot days this year, I ended up with my back drenched in sweat… And kept burning myself on my wheelchair. We got round this by using a thin cotton blanket which we draped over as much of the chair as we could.
Talking of out and about… I have a wheelchair bag which aren’t known for being exciting so I have covered mine in patches and badges. In it are the usual things like keys and a phone but also sachets of calpol, my medication paraphernalia, heat packs, ice packs, reusable straws in a totally strawsome straw pouch and a spoon with a moulded handle that I can use more easily. There’s also a 4Head stick which I use for headaches but also find it can help relieve muscle tension when my joints get angry. And also a few sachets of salt in case I feel POTsy when I’m out and about.
Back in my flat, I have a wonderful mattress (mine is a mammoth one but mattresses are very personal) and a very specific to me bed arrangement. I have two maternity pillows which help to position my upper body, a leg raiser to support the lower half and a duvet raiser tent like thing which stops the duvet from bending my feet. The latter is good but I found that it was causing a draft as the duvet wasn’t long enough to drape over the end so I have covered it with a blanket, secured by pegs. I also found that it would sometimes fall off the end of the bed so I got a kids bed rail and popped it at the foot end of the mattress. Problem solved.
And just a few odds and ends that I wanted to mention:
- baby toothbrush wipes so I can sort of clean my own teeth – I don’t like things in my mouth so it’s very hard for my carers to clean them well…
- a cup holder which is designed for prams and pushchairs but which also attaches to my wheelchair and is perfect for popping my phone or keys in
- peg boxes are great for carrying around the bits and pieces I need with me in my flat – phone, door opener, postit notes, 4head stick, nail file etc. It means that I don’t have to remember to move them from room to room and I don’t need my carers to get anything I’ve forgotten.
- a massager… I got this from Naidex and I love it. Mine is a Truviv one and I’ve found it really helps when my shoulders are tight. I do have to be careful because of my joints so I always use it on the slower speed and not for too long at a time. Just something to think about if you have EDS.
- a back rest for my manual wheelchair. This actually came free with my massager and is probably not designed for wheelchair specific use but it fits perfectly and makes the chair a lot more comfortable.
Finally, a sense of humour makes all the difference.