Thursday, January 29, 2009

You can't really turn a wheelchair into the slide

As soon as my chair started sliding toward the drainage ditch, I knew I was doing something that wasn't too smart.

But the sun was shining brightly and it wasn't too cold and the light was reflected off the melting snow. It really was brilliant at lunch when I decided to walk around the pond.

The track had even been cleaned ... mostly.

I was riding on the track over the ditch that feeds the pond when I realized I was not quite heading straight but instead was drifting toward the edge of the track.

Before I go further, I want to say I probably would not have died. The track has a lip I don't think I would have glided over, and there is a little grass I would have had to slide over, too. All in all, I put death at somewhere less than 50%. I was more worried about getting stuck and having to call for help.

With some effort I managed to get to the end of the ice slick and that was fine, but my foot had somehow gotten trapped between the chair and my foot plate. If I had been able to stand up, my foot would have easily slid out, but standing is not an option. So I tugged and pushed and pulled. I decided to take my shoe off to help, and it would have helped. But I also couldn't get my shoe off without standing. Finally, I just pulled and it popped free.

I did not want to go over that ice again, so I decided to to go forward. I shortly came to four feet of snow-covered track. I tried three times to barrel through it with no luck. I kept getting stuck like 10 inches from the end.

I decided then to put my chair in the slowest speed and carefully go over the original ice. That worked not at all. I immediately started to glide toward the edge.

Back to the snow I headed, determined to bulldoze through it. On about the fifth try I succeeded. And off I headed on my beautiful lunchtime walk.

Until I got to the corner of the pond that is farthest from our building. It was like 20 feet of icy track. I was in no danger here, just would have slid into the grass.

And I did slide. Big time and almost immediately. I quickly got stuck and wished I had some sand in my wheelchair bag to toss on the track around my wheels. Finally, I was able to push myself backward using my feet and so I navigated the rest of the icy track backward. Not my best direction as anyone who has seen me exit the van can tell.

But I survived. That's the important thing. And this goes in the "another reason I hate winter" file.

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