The other week, I realized something was off with my wheelchair. If I leaned to the right side, my front left caster wheel would be off the ground. If I leaned to the left side, my rear right wheel would be off the ground. I transferred to my couch and looked my chair over for awhile. I couldn’t figure out what was up, so I called D Mer (my dad) and he offered to drive down after work and check it out. He got here a few hours later, and I hopped back on the couch. It only took him a few minutes to realize what it was: one of the front forks that holds the caster (The piece that holds the front wheel) no longer fit snug into the frame, it was loose. The aluminum frame was warped from the repeated stress from rolling over crack after crack.
The next day, I called the company I got my chair from (New Motion) and explained what was wrong. They then called the manufacturer of my chair. They said it was under warranty and whatever was wrong could be fixed, the chair just had to be shipped to the company. The only problem is, it would take them a few weeks and if they have my chair, I don’t. Without a chair, I’m totally useless. I can’t even get to the kitchen from my room. The customer service person at New Motion told me it would be at least 2 weeks until they could get a loaner chair for me during this repair process. Luckily, D Mer helped me get my chair into tolerable condition to hold me off until then.
On Monday, when they finally got me a loaner, I was really excited to get the ball rolling on this process. I didn’t know how many more days my chair would have been useable. Then I was shown the chair that I would be in for the next 2-3 weeks. It was actually the same model as my chair, but this one was not custom fit to my dimensions like my chair was. The guy who dropped it off made a few quick changes to the chair to better accommodate me, then he left back to his office, and I left for class. It wasn’t until I left my apartment than I realized everything that needed to be changed. It was terrible; my feet would fall from the footplate and drag after riding over two or three cracks, and the back was reclined a lot, having me totally thrown off balance. I had a ride to class, but even making it to the right classroom was a pain. It was hard to concentrate in class, all I could think about was how fucked I was for the next two to three weeks.
I always go home myself from class, but there was just no way that was going to happen with this chair. I called transit and had them pick me up, but I was not about to have to do that everyday for three weeks. When I got home, I grabbed my toolbox, hopped back on the couch, and flipped my chair upside down. I really didn’t want to have to call my dad; “I’m going to have to start figuring this shit out myself eventually. D Mer isn’t always gonna be there,” I thought. The footplate was the biggest problem. I looked at it for a good 15 minutes; “Okay, two screws here. Turning them either way doesn’t seem to do anything. Uhh, two more screws here, they’re already tightened, loosening them wouldn’t do anything,” thinking aloud. “Fuck, I’m going to have to call him.” I called him and he said he could make another trip down after work. I hung up, but was still determined to figure it out. “Ahhhh, this is how you do it!” I say out of excitement. I call him back and tell him that he doesn’t need to come after all, I got this one.
The footplate was good now, but the back still was not. “Christ, there are like 20 screws that it could be,” I say pretty worried. I glance it over a few more minutes and I think I have it figured out. I take a few screws out of slots from either side and move them to other slots. I’m kind of worried because I could be fucking it all up if I’m wrong. About 30 minutes later, I hop in the chair, and it actually feels pretty good! I fixed exactly what I needed to fix. I was feeling like a pretty bad dude at this point. D Mer must be rubbing off on me, because he does that shit everyday with various things.
The chair isn’t so bad anymore, but the frame still is not sized up to my body. It will definitely work for now, but I’m still really looking forward to getting MY chair back.