Monday, December 10, 2007

Fighting with the Freezer Door

I was at the grocery store on Friday, getting something
out of the freezer. I had the freezer door open all the
way. The item I was getting was as far away from the
opening as possible. So I opened the door (all this was
while I was in balance) and I had to lean forward to
get the item. Although I'm not quite sure what happened,
I believe leaning forward caused my footrest to tilt
down a bit, and the iBOT to move forward. I grabbed
the item and when I tried to move backward, I was stuck.
I'm pretty sure that the footrest was caught on the
bottom of the freezer door. This was a bit scary
because I was afraid that either the freezer door
would come off (the iBOT is really powerful), or I
was afraid that my feet were going to get crushed.
I was unable to transition from balance to 4-wheel
because that would make the iBOT tilt back, which
was the last thing I wanted. It wouldn't let me
turn to the side. I was totally stuck. Suddenly,
with no alarm warning, it dropped me from balance to
4-wheel. It was jarring, but it didn't hurt. I was
relieved to be out of that sticky situation. :D
An employee working at the store saw it happen and I
think he just about peed his pants. I assured him
that I was okay.

I called IT Tech today to tell them about it and to find
out if I could/should have handled the situation differently.
They documented it. I asked if there was some way to
*make* it drop from balance to 4-wheel. She said no. I
suggested that they make this an option. I have no idea
if this is something they will consider.

She said there wasn't anything I could have done to get
myself out of the situation and that in the future I
should make sure there is enough clearance.

Incidents like this sort of make me stop and think, geez,
do I really want to risk possibly getting seriously
hurt by this powerful machine that is still very new?
But then I think of how much I would lose if I wimped
out and stop using the iBOT. I can't do that. Honestly,
I'd be devastated if it were taken away from me.

There are 3 safety issues that concern me about the iBOT.
1. Going through a theft detector while in Balance
Function and having it tip over forward.
2. Crushing my feet. The BOT is so powerful. I
think I should have some kind of foot protecter made.
3. Stair function. It's just plain scary.

1. I wish IT would figure out some sort of shield so
that I didn't have to worry about going through theft
detectors. I talked to someone in Tech Support last
week regarding this. He said as far as he knew, there
were no plans on possibly fixing this issue. : (
2. Have some sort of foot protecter made. Not sure
how something like that could be made without it being
incredibly ugly. I suppose ugly is better than crushed
feet though.
3. Just don't use the stair function. Which is basically
what I've done.

Don't get me wrong. I love my iBOT. I wouldn't ever
want to not have an iBOT. There are definite risks
though. I suppose it's like driving a car. Risky? Yes.
Hard to live without? Yes.


P said...

Geeze that sounds like it was terrifying! I'm glad you are ok. Shows how much I know I don't really think of the iBOT being that powerful.

Catplus said...

let's practice on stairs...

Wheelchair Revolution! said...

P, it's really powerful. Which is good in some ways, bad in others.

Lise, I'm skeered to do the stairs!

Anonymous said...

Check out page 7-8 in your User Manual. I think this procedure could have worked in your battle with the freezer door.

rfbdorf said...

Here's my interpretation & guesses as to what could be done in that situation -
The chair wants to keep your center of gravity directly above the wheels. So when you lean forward (or pull on a banister), the wheels will rotate so as to move them back under you. When you were pressed up against the freezer, the chair still sensed that your c.g. was in front of the wheels, so continued to try to move forward to get directly under it. Possibly moving your arms and head as far back as possible would bring your c.g. far enough back to cause the chair to cease trying to move forward. So might asking someone to pull backwards on the chair, gently (I suspect this is listed as a no-no in the manual).

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, you must overcome your fear of the stair function. It worked flawlessly on the "test drive," remember? That one little mishap was because I did not remember all the steps. Now that we know, it MUST be done. You must use the thing to its fullest potential. I mean, that is like getting a cell phone, but not using to send text messages... oh wait.

Wheelchair Revolution! said...

Yeah, well, text messaging doesn't have the potential to kill me. Golly.

(G says hi!)