Kate

31

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

I use crutches every day but there is only so far I can get on them before I get too tired and the pain in my foot, ankle and leg becomes unbearable. Realising I needed a wheelchair to help me get about more was a bitter sweet. On one hand it allows me to get out more, access more and do more with my daughter. On the other hand I was terrified and felt pretty down about using one when I first got it.

My first experience trying to use my wheelchair was shocking! I didn’t get any advice, or lessons, or even tips from wheelchair services, so my first attempt at using it was a dismal failure. I needed help! Pavements are not flat or smooth, curbs are like mountains when you’re in a wheelchair, and although my hands and arms were used to crutches they were not prepared for pushing myself in the chair. But I was determined to be able to push myself for my own independence and exercise.

I asked Stuart to help. We had several sessions out in my wheelchair down my local park and the surrounding area, before working up to a trip out around town. Stuart showed me techniques and invaluable tips; even how to push correctly! Vitally important things that I was not shown by wheelchair services. Stuart showed me how to turn corners properly, how to push in a straight line (sounds silly, but no pavement is flat or straight), how to get up and down kerbs (without falling out!), tips for getting up steeper inclines, how to build up my strength and stamina. Most importantly Stuart helped me with my confidence when in my wheelchair, that there is way more I can do in my chair than not, that I can still live life and do all the things I want to do, regardless of being on my crutches or in my wheelchair.

Stuart’s attitude to life is truly inspirational and I am so grateful for all his help!