Working at a Center for Independent Living definitely had its perks. The bathroom mirrors were low enough that I could actually see in them while in my chair and there were plenty of handicap spots in which to park. I was also one of many people that used a wheelchair instead of the only one. Being one of many had its own set of perks, most notably, I could go to my boss or a co-worker when I needed a minor adjustment made to my chair.
At my new job, none of these things are available. I have to advocate for myself in order to get the accommodations I need. I have also had to learn how to cope with things I didn’t think much of before; such as those higher mirrors or minor adjustments I might need for my chair. So, of course, today the screw came out of the brake on my wheelchair. It has been loose for weeks, but I kept forgetting to fix it. As luck would have it, I was transferring out of my chair to use the bathroom today and it came off in my hand.
When I got back to my office and showed it to my new boss, he asked if I was going to need to leave in order to get it fixed. Although this was a nice option, the idea filled me with dread. In order to get my chair repaired at Wheelchair Seating I would have to call for an appointment, then a taxi, (making sure to request the taxi an hour before your appointment was scheduled to be sure I made on time) get to the appointment, wait to be seen, wait some more while they fix it, call another taxi to retrieve me and then wait for them to show up. Suddenly, that 5 minute fix would become a two hour (or more) adventure in Boredom-land. There was no way I was going to let one little screw, screw up my day.
Luckily for me I have this handy Allen Wrench set that I keep in my back pack, along with my other emergency essentials. Most wheelchair parts are held on by screws that take various sizes of Allen Wrenches; so this handy little set allows me to fix majority of the loose screws and make minor adjustments on my own. I have had it since my college years, when my wheelchair repair guy was more than two hours away, and it has saved the day on more than one occasion. Today, I put my handy little kit to the test for the first time on my own, (I always had someone around to help me before) and I am happy to report that my brake has been re-attached and is once again fully functional.
Though I would never attempt a major repair on my chair on my own, for fear of making it worse, going to Wheelchair Seating for a loose screw is like going to the doctor for a Band-aid. This little kit allows me to address those minor tune-ups on my own, as opposed to always going to a professional. It’s like a first aid kit for my wheelchair.