Friday 18 September 2015

Wheelchairs are NOT giving in! (CMT Awareness Month 2015 - DAY 18)

Hi guys and welcome back. Today I want to talk a little about using ANY mobility aids, whether they be walking sticks, crutches, or a wheelchair.

  Many people with chronic conditions find themselves at some point in their lives in the position of needing to use mobility aids of some description.

There are many options out there that can help people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Various leg bracing options can be available as well as the option to use walking sticks, rollators or crutches.  There is also the option to use wheelchairs in order to make getting around easier.

"But isn't that giving up?"

Certainly not! A lot of people see using a wheelchair as giving up, giving in to their condition. "I'm not giving into it; I'm not using a wheelchair".

The way I see it, anything that makes day to day life easier and more enjoyable can only be a good things right?

Until recently I had a manual wheelchair for very occasional use which didn't really see the light of day. It relied on my wife pushing me around and made the whole experience not as enjoyable for either of us.

One of the best things in my life and one that that has recently allowed me to experience the world more fully with disability is my power wheelchair.  I am still in the process of sorting things so that I can transport my chair in my car and once that is sorted there will be no stopping me!
All this is not to say that I didn't have some apprehension when starting to use mobility aids. When I initially started using a walking stick, after hobbling around for several years I did finally did " give in" and begin using a walking stick; gradually at first until eventually it was full time.  Most of my insecurity came from how work colleagues and family would view me.  Therefore I initially only started using a walking stick when out in public away from my home town and work. 

Inevitably I had to begin using my walking stick around the people I knew and of course once I did that they treated me no differently!  Since that time I have progressed from using a single walking stick to at times using a rollator and as mentioned previously a manual wheelchair.

The walking stick still of course gets plenty of use today, but now having my power chair has opened a whole new world of options for me allowing me to be more independent and less clingy! I'm looking forward to the freedom to move around and determine where I am going next. It will allow me to zip around on my own, to go shopping, to go to museums and nerdy conventions and decide where I would like to be rather than let someone else decide for me.

Seeing wheelchair as mobility and freedom instead of a loss takes a little time for some people.  The ability to stand and walk is not a matter of character and if you do need a wheelchair, you have not failed. You are simply giving yourself a different way to get around.

I will end for today by simply saying that I am looking forward to being able to get around without worrying about being knocked over or falling!  I am so looking forward to not feeling exhausted from the sheer task of keeping myself upright. I look forward to instead being able to use my energy on the fun things!!

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Do pop back again! I still have much to talk about!

To read my other Awareness Month posts, simply click on the "Awareness Month" tag at the very bottom of any of these posts!
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Again, please share these posts far and wide!

If you are interested in finding out more, the UK's official charity for the disease, CMT United Kingdom, have a wealth of information.



  1. Hi Sam, just found your blog via some of your work on facebook. I am an Occupational Therapist and work in wheelchair assessment and prescription. I often come across people with the need to 'fight' their condition so it's great to hear how you now feel about using a wheelchair. I always refer to them as labour saving devices like a food mixer, just another way of doing things. My friends teenage daughter has CMT and has been lucky that her parents have bought her a really cool lever driven wheelchair which she enjoys using. I hope your adaptations have improved your independence and you canget out and about with ease (as far as pavements and roadways allow). Helen

    1. Thankyou! You sound like a fantastic positive influence on your patients! I'm now using my powerchair pretty much full time and it's such an energy saving device and a necessity to allow me to make the most of life! Coupled with my wheelchair vehicle, I can go to most places that I want!


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