Monday, September 24, 2007

A Fantastic Bottin' Day

I took the doggies to the dog park this morning.
Usually I stay on the paved path. Today I put
the Bot in 4-Wheel Drive and I went exploring
on the dirt path. It was so much fun! The path
ended at the river. There was a pretty steep
and rocky path leading to the river. I was
a bit nervous to go down it, but I did it and
the iBOT did great. I even went through soft
sand. Yay! The fact that the iBOT can handle
soft sand thrills me!

After that I had to go to the shop where they
sell wheelchairs and wheelchair vans, etc, as
well as service them. I had to get some tie-
downs so that I could safely travel with the
iBOT in my van. They were ridiculously expensive,
of course. Anyone who knows about the cost of
medical equipment won't be surprised to hear
that these 4 simple lock-down things cost me
$400. It's absolutely ridiculous how expensive
being a crip is. But anyway, most of the people
who worked at the shop had never seen an iBOT
before. These are people who sell wheelchairs
and they had never seen one. I went into
Balance and the owner said, "Whoa, I wouldn't
believe it if I didn't see it myself!"

Then I went to Les Schwab because I needed new
tires on my car. I went in there in Standard
Function and I went to the counter and told
the guy what I needed. When the iBOT is in
Standard Function, it looks just like a regular
power chair. The guy left for a minute
to look at something and while he was gone I
put myself into Balance Function. The poor
guy came back and I think he thought he was
on Candid Camera or something. He stopped
dead in his tracks and his eyes got big and
he kind of shook his head. He recovered
though, and never asked me about it. LOL! Other
people asked though. It's funny how people are
very curious and I know they are shocked at
what they are seeing, but some of them won't
ask me about it. Which I totally understand.
When I was leaving the place I overheard the
people in the shop talking about it.

It's really pretty fun to see people's reactions.
I hope that in just a few years from now they
will be fairly common. I don't think that is likely
though, unless insurance companies decide to
start paying for them. And I don't think that
will be happening. It'll be interesting to
see where the iBOT is in 10 years. Will there
be anyone else making anything similar? What
improvements will be made? I know that manual
chairs have changed a whole lot in the past
29 years. Here is a picture of me in my very
first wheelchair.

What a beast that thing was! It wasn't until
I was a teenager when they came out with the
light-weight sporty manual chairs that most
wheelchair users today have. And now they've
got the super cool titanium chairs.

I'm really getting a kick out of how excited
kids are about the chair. Elementary age boys
in particular are fascinated. They always
say things like "That's so cool!". I had to
laugh today when I picked up my daughter from
school. There were a couple of 3rd grade boys
standing there and I went by in Balance Function.
One of the boys said to the other, "Oh my gosh!
Look at that!" The other boy who had already seen
it last week said, "Yeah, I know. That's so tight."

I have video from my off-road excursion today,
but I'm wondering if anyone even cares to see
it. Tell me if you are interested. Otherwise
I won't take the time to post it.


rfbdorf said...

Shannon -
It's really exciting reading about your iBot, and seeing the video clips. Going up into balance mode, it looks like what it does is that it tilts you back until it's ready to tip over, then in the process of quickly getting itself under you to prevent that from happening, it pops you up high.
The pic of you in your first chair reminded me of my mom, who had polio in I guess it was 1953 or so when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Her big ole chair is still in the basement. Although she only used it for a few years & was able to walk again, she found a transfer chair to be very convenient in the kitchen; we called it the "rolly chair." She died 2 years ago.
- Richard

Wheelchair Revolution! said...

Hi Richard!

I'll let you study it up close and in person! I don't understand how it works, but I know your brain can figure out things like that, so maybe you can explain to me how it works!!

We'll get together soon - only this time I promise I won't bring my obnoxious dogs. : )

stephanie said...

I'd like to see the videos, I really miss walking in the woods. We tried a few weeks ago, and even with my daughter pushing me, only made it a few yards in, the trail as too rough (lots of roots and erosion where we were.)

Re your old chair ..... it looks like you are sitting on a pillow?

Wheelchair Revolution! said...

It's possible I was sitting on a pillow. I can't remember, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were just an ordinary pillow.

Bummer you didn't make it into the woods further. I wonder if the iBOT would have been able to do it.

The other cool thing about the iBOT is that you don't need anyone helping you. I've been on some trails before, and on the beach, but that involved me being carried on someone's back... which I'd rather not do. Especially now that I'm old. It wasn't as bad when I was 20.