Another Step Closer
As I mentioned in my last post, I arranged for Freedom Motors, the outfit that performs the X-WAV conversion on vehicles including the Honda Element I own, to send a sales rep in a converted Element to my home so I could look it over and interact with it, necessary to be absolutely sure it’s the right vehicle for me with my Quantum 614 power wheelchair.
Yesterday afternoon, right on schedule, a bright green Element festooned with Freedom Motors advertising pulled into my driveway. Andrew, the pleasant representative from FMI driving her, removed the right front seat and readied the little SUV for me to try.
I was delighted to find I could drive my power chair aboard, rotate it and be ready to go on my first try. I’d had a slight concern that my 614 with its long wheelbase might have difficulty negotiating the Element’s cabin, but my worries proved groundless, and the automated ramp and doors closed with no trouble at all.
I haven’t driven it yet, but the few questions I had have been answered. Rather than using the wheelchair in the left front drivers’ position, I’ll park it on the right side, raise the chair’s left hand armrest, and slide the few inches into the driver’s seat. Owing to my limbs’ weakness, this will take some practice, but as you’ll see in the video of the demonstration I’ve posted, there are no obstructions to hinder me and the action is similar to the sideways movements I use daily to position myself and transfer from my bed to and from my wheelchair. The only additional equipment I might need is a smooth transfer board to slide on if any difficulties arise, but I doubt even that will be needed.
It is possible to use the wheelchair to drive from, but it turns out that’s an additional $2500 modification for the device that secures the chair to be fitted and installed, and would require my going to Michigan for the fitting, since every chair requires individual attention to assure it’s exactly right for the user. No, thanks…I’ll slide over!
The one additional expense I hadn’t counted on is the relocation of the manual emergency brake, which is currently on the floor and very much in the way when I’d be transferring. Apart from relocating it, the brake will be actuated by a solenoid operated by a pushbutton, so I won’t have to worry whether I’ll have the hand strength to operate it. The $650 expense is a minor issue; if once the fundraising goal is met I come up short by that amount I can easily finance it if need be.
I’m excited, the X-WAV is everything I thought it would be, and the electric automated ramp and doors mean I won’t have any trouble trying to operate them with a dominant left hand and arm that have lost most of their function.
Well…all systems are go. I can proceed full speed ahead with fundraising for my cause with no lingering worries that this is just the right vehicle to regain my mobility.
I’m dreaming of the day when I can safely drive again without the hazard of falling that I still face every time I have to go out to get to a doctor’s appointment, and that keeps me from driving at all for any other purpose than that. Being able to take my wheelchair with me will restore so much of my life that was taken away when MS disabled me to this point, from being able to move about a park, shop at a store or dine out at a restaurant. I’ll be able to get out in public to cover events for the essays I write for the American Daily Herald, interview members of the public along with politicians and officials, and best of all, help Dr. Ron Paul’s campaign for the 2012 presidential election…IF I can get some assistance to publicize this project and get the word out to all those people I know are out there ready and willing to contribute the small amounts that in large enough numbers will Get Glenn Mobile!
Please help speed that day’s arrival by donating what you can and telling the people in your life…friends, family, coworkers…about this project. We’ve come a long way since this blog began in August, and there’s still a way to go, but with your assistance I’m confident that it will come sooner rather than later.
Bitcoin Donation Address: 1N9FWbFhTQrmTTQwMYYMBoc4ymdXBKSg5L