Have you ever made a purchase and then wondered how you lived life without that item before? We have. There are certain things that come in handy when you are a wheelchair user. They are in the category of “must-haves” for most people with spinal cord injury. To keep you from guessing what those things might be, here is a list of our top picks.
- Wheelchair Gloves – If it’s not cold outside, you may not see gloves as a necessity. But think about it. If you are manually pushing your chair, how dirty are your wheels? Even when you are not pushing the tyre itself, your palms and wrist often bump against it as you push. Gloves help keep your hands clean. They also give you a better grip. If you are sweaty from heat, exertion, or nervousness, slippery hands give you less force behind each push.
- Sanitizer – Gloves or no gloves, you’ll probably still want hand sanitizer. Your hands are still a little dirtier than the non-wheelchair user’s. Whatever dirt and germs are on the ground will probably be on your fingers as well. And if you eat, blow your nose, or rub your eyes, those germs and bacteria will most likely travel to face.
- Wet Wipes – Everyone needs to carry a pack of wet wipes. But they are particularly useful for wheelchair users. My daughter often gets smudges on her wrists and the sides of her clothes from leaning against her wheels. Wet wipes can be used to wipe those marks off. They can also be used if you have any continence issues. And of course, wet wipes are great for cleaning up those spills that are caused by carrying your drink between your knees and then hitting a bump.
- Bed Frame Grab Rails – You may not need a medical bed, but adding grab rails or bars to your regular bed frame can be really useful. You can use them for support when sitting up or getting in and out of bed. They can even be used as stabilization while getting dressed. It’s just important to remember always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when attempting to install your own bed rails. Safety first!
- Wheelchair Cup Holder – Speaking of needing wet wipes to clean up that drink spill, one way to avoid spilling things is to install a cup holder onto your wheelchair. You can buy cup holders that attach to you caster wheels. They are like having an extra hand when you need to to be able to hold your drink and move around freely.
- Wheelchair Bags – Some wheelchairs come with a backpack on the back. If yours did not, you might want to invest in some kind of bag or pouch. These are great for storing medical supplies and other necessities. Make sure the bag is installed in a way that you can reach it independently. If it is easily accessible, you’ll be able to throw in your keys, wallet, phone, or anything else you have a need for.
- Tyre Patches – You may not have ever thought of this before, but what would happen if you were out of town on holiday or visiting an amusement park when suddenly your wheelchair tyre went flat. This could really be a bad situation. You would lose your independence, and you may have to be carried. Having tyre patches and a little pump can temporarily fix the problem until you can get it properly repaired.
A Spray Bottle – When you have a spinal cord injury, it can be hard to regulate your body temperature. Also, some medications you may take for your bladder can cause overheating. In the summer months, especially, you may want to carry a spray bottle. If you get hot, you can mist yourself with water to help cool down.
Author: Annie Beth Donahue is a professional writer with a health and disability focus. You can find her at www.anniebethdonahue.com