Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back in the driver's seat

I have my latest wheelchair project for oldest nephew.

This is the same nephew who helped me rig up a sail on my manual wheelchair so I could glide effortlessly across the deck at a rented beach-house.

We attached the sail (a towel) at the top of the chair to get the most wind. Unfortunately, some idea of physics eluded us, and we neglected to consider that this would make the chair real top heavy, which it did. It did glide a few feet, then it flipped me over backward right in front of the big window where most of my family was sitting.

I say physics eluded us, but to be fair it eluded just me. He was like 10. I was near 30.

I can't say physics is on my side this time either but I just read about someone doing this: I want to move a vehicle with my power chair.

In the classification of rare diseases with familiar ones, Friedreich's ataxia is Muscular Dystrophy's cousin, and I could not ask for a more generous relative. Well, I could but that would be ungrateful. The Muscular Dystrophy Association gives me money to refurbish my chair annually, it holds clinics and they send me a magazine.

I generally just flip through the magazine, make sure some medical miracle has not been discovered (it never has, slacker doctors). But I always make sure to read the first-person columns they run by people in chairs. I admit that mostly I read them so I can think "dummy. I am so much more clever, cooler and less sappy than that."

That probably is not true in general, but it definitely is not true of the last column's author. In fact, I may have a new crush: Angela Wrigglesworth, the writer and, I just learned, a former Ms. Wheelchair Texas. She has spinal muscular atrophy, which isn't relevant, but one of my sisters has a friend whose daughter has SMA, so I had to give another sucky disease a shout-out.

I'd link to her story, but the magazine, Quest, doesn't post its stories in a linkable way. But it is here, on p. 64, the "Rolling with Laughter" column.

In the story, Ms. Wrigglesworth sees a broken-down car at rush hour, persuades the dubious and obnoxious driver that she can push his car with her chair, and then does - all the way to a service station.

I guess the only question now is: What kind of car to start my pushing career with?


Anonymous said...

oh Matt, I'd give anything to see you involved with someone named Wigglesworth.

Matt said...

Um, superhuman feats of strength and you giggle over a name.

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