It has been a good start to 2016. After two years, I was able to get my minivan modified so that I can drive it from my wheelchair. It allows me to meet with my clients and seek new business. It’s not my first adapted car I’ve had, but my last one was starting to interfere with my independence. Age is a bitch, whether you’re a human or an automobile.
The new van is everything you would expect. And more. However, when I drove it for the first time I experienced some serious jitters.
At first I thought the jitters were a result of the new minivan being more powerful than my last. Then I thought it was a result of some of the adaptations being slightly different than my previous set up. It was holding me back and killing my confidence as a driver. It wasn’t until a week and a half ago that I discovered the real cause.
My van is heavily adapted for me to drive. People often ask how much it cost to get modified and I include in my response that it is the most expensive soccer mom mobile they have ever seen. Disability can be very expensive.
With all the adaptations in the van, I never considered that an adaptation on my wheelchair was the root cause. One night as I was getting out of my wheelchair, I noticed that a chest strap to hold me securely while driving was hanging in a way that caught my eye.
It’s not a simple strap. In a way, it resembles a figure eight when it is in use. One portion of the figure eight goes around the back rest of the wheelchair and the other part of the figure eight goes around my chest. The arrangement allows for a snug fit. But not if it’s loose.
The following morning, I asked my personal care attendant to tighten the loose strap that went around the back rest of the wheelchair. After she tightened 6 inches I realized I was going to have a glorious day.
Since that day, I have driven much. My torso no longer moves around while I drive. I now have a solid foundation from which to drive from.
Before, I felt like I was on a dock in rough seas.
Each time I drive I can’t help but hear Aerosmith’s song Back in the Saddle Again playing in my head. I’m reminded of the fact, if you don’t have a solid foundation it is difficult to move forward.