Sometimes, life throws you curveballs. I had to get my wheelchair batteries replaced early last week in preparation for my trip to DC. When wheelchair batteries start to go bad, they start draining really quickly, and mine were barely getting through a normal work day. I was nervous about going to DC with bad batteries, so they squeezed me in to get them replaced before I left. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems! To replace the batteries, the wheelchair has to be taken apart a bit, and in doing that, another, more serious problem arose. Every time I tried to drive my chair, I got a flashing error message, and the chair wouldn’t actually drive.
The service technician was able to rig it to drive well enough so that I could get home, and another technician was able to come to my house the next day, and he was able to diagnose and fix the problem. And then ANOTHER technician came out to my office the next day when another problem with my wheelchair made it stop working when I got into the elevator at my office! So, I didn’t have to cancel my trip, and I’m very grateful that the technicians were able to make time for me and that the issue was fixable!
What people may not realize, though, is that when my wheelchair is broken, my life basically stops. I had to stay home from work, missed class, and had to miss a session of my fellowship. Everyone was very understanding and accommodating, but it’s still frustrating to feel so little control over your life. Without my chair working, I am stuck. There is no backup – my wheelchair is so custom-fit to provide the support I need that there isn’t really a viable loaner chair. I can’t rent a chair to use like you can rent a car when it’s being repaired.
It can be hard to deal with problems like these, that pop up so quickly. I definitely get annoyed and frustrated in the moment, but after the initial moments of frustration, I try hard to focus more on the positives. I knew I had a busy trip to DC coming up, so the forced time at home came, at least, at a good time! And I was glad that my chair broke before I went to DC, rather than while I was there. There’s always some sort of silver lining, and focusing on that, rather than the negative, will make life a whole lot less miserable.