Living in Chicago, sometimes the winter weather can be really nasty and unpredictable. It’s important to think ahead and plan for the worst when you are in a power wheelchair like me and don’t have anyone around to help.
Rule #1: Keep Your Phone with You
Keep your cell phone on you always, even if you are just stepping outside for a second. For example, I have to take Mya out to the bathroom and I always take my phone, even if we’re just going outside for a quick minute. You never know when you may need to call for help. I definitely have.
Rule #2: Know Your Limits
It’s important to know what your limits are. If you have plans and the weather turns bad, make the smart choice that is right for you, even if it means postponing or canceling. No social event or gathering is worth the risk of you becoming stranded or stuck. A situation like that could turn into something very serious.
Rule #3: Be Prepared
No matter what your routine is, it’s important to prepare for any winter storm that is coming because sometimes our paths won’t be cleared right away. For example, if you know it’s going to snow, put salt down on the path you take getting to and from your car. Or salt the path you use to take the dog out (make sure the salt is safe for your dog’s paws). When living alone and facing bad weather, the best thing you can do is just prepare in any way possible. And worse-case scenario: just don’t go outside. Unfortunately, that’s how it works sometimes.
Once a storm passes and you’re faced with snow clean up, it’s nice to know we have options like iLevel® technology, so you can raise your power wheelchair seat up to clean the snow off your car. A good tip is to leave your windshield wipers standing up so they don’t freeze to your windshield. Or, maybe invest in a windshield blanket so that when it snows, you can just remove the blanket and all the snow comes with it. It’s an ingenious invention.
So, with all these things, I’m able to manage in my power wheelchair. It’s not always fun but it’s manageable. Good luck out there and stay safe!
About Bryan Anderson: Bryan grew up and resides in Illinois. Injured by an IED in October 2005, Bryan is one of the few triple amputees to survive his injuries in Iraq. He is an ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and a spokesperson for USA Cares, which is focused on assisting post 9-11 veterans. Click here to learn more about Bryan.