What an interesting few months it has been! Being in lockdown since March 17 has certainly made the summer of 2020 a very different one, to say the least. People everywhere have been forced to alter or cancel their hopes and dreams for the summer, and find new ways to adapt on the fly (which I can say I am no stranger to as a person with a disability). Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to receive my Quantum® Edge 3 Stretto® narrow wheelchair only a few weeks into the whole COVID-19 ordeal…and let me say, what a game changer it has been!
As someone who is diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy Type III, a disease which seriously hinders an individual’s overall movement and mobility, it’s important that I have an extremely reliable mobility device that I can depend on.
My fiancé (who is also my primary caregiver) and I, for the past year, have been residing in the same house, located in Southern Ontario. Although it’s a very beautiful house that we like very much, it happens to be an older house and certainly not the kind that you would consider wheelchair friendly. Or at least, certainly not manual wheelchair friendly.
For the past three years, I used a manual wheelchair as my primary method of mobility. While I was able to propel a manual wheelchair around the house in the roomier areas, it was impossible for me to get around corners, through doors (such as the bedroom and bathroom), or to get myself outside in order to enjoy the yard. This meant that for most of my time while I was at home on my own, I was limited to where I could go and what I could accomplish. Certain cupboards, or shelves in the fridge were also unreachable to me as well. Yet, I was under the impression that my manual wheelchair was doing its job in providing me with an acceptable degree of independence.
Enter the Quantum Edge 3 Stretto narrow wheelchair with iLevel® technology! I knew right away that this power wheelchair would change the way I live my daily life, but I completely underestimated exactly how much it would help make things easier. The Edge 3 Stretto has given me back so much of my freedom and independence in so many ways, it would take forever to go over them all. So, here’s a few examples of how the Stretto has made the COVID-19 lockdown much more manageable.
Getting Around the House
The Edge 3 Stretto motorized wheelchair has given me the freedom to enjoy and utilize my entire home! I can come and go as I please from room to room, navigate the tight corners and hallways, and even get myself into our small bathroom (which was almost impossible before, even with help)! I am no longer stuck in one room, waiting for someone to get me items I need from other parts of the house – I can get them myself!
Enjoying the Backyard and Neighbourhood
My favourite change with this power wheelchair has been the ability to get myself out of the house independently and enjoy the summer weather in my own backyard. I am able to scoot out the back door and down an elevator lift to the yard, and roam as freely as I like. I even started gardening this summer and tended to my own plants without much assistance at all. I can even navigate the uneven terrain in the yard, something I never thought I would be able to do on my own. The Stretto has also given me the freedom to roll around the neighbourhood to get some air. Prior to having my new motorized wheelchair, if my fiancé and I wanted to go on a “walk and roll” (as we call it), she had to push my manual chair the entire time. The Stretto has made these adventures around the neighbourhood much more enjoyable.
Cooking and Eating
Finally, another major game-changer for me has been the ability to retrieve items from our fridge and access the stove and BBQ, giving me the freedom to make meals and eat whenever I want. Before I used any sort of mobility aid, cooking was my favourite thing to do! The Edge 3 Stretto and iLevel technology has given me the independence and ability to enjoy cooking once again, without having to rely on others to retrieve me items from the fridge or cupboards, or help with almost every single task related to the job at hand.
All in all, this chair has made the lockdown much more manageable for myself and others, and I feel as though my independence and freedom has come back in full force! It is the best feeling in the world!
About Jared Wayland: Jared is a graphic designer and lives in Ontario, Canada. He uses an Edge 3 Stretto for mobility and enjoys cooking and spending time with his fiancé. Click here to learn more about Jared.