Read the story of our writer Raya Al-Jadir and how did a wheelchair bike change her life as a disabled child. Raya is a freelance writer and a member of Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Trailblazers who has written for many outlets like Disability horizons or The Huffington Post.
The stronger the wheelchair power pack and the longer a battery can last, the more empowered a wheelchair user will feel. I think it is safe to say that the fear of your wheelchair running out of power is shared by the majority of wheelchair users. It is a scary thought to be stranded somewhere without any form of mobility or having to be pushed by someone in a rather awkward situation.
What to do when the wheelchair power pack is running out of power
During the time that I have been a wheelchair user I think I have only experienced this problem twice. The first time occurred in my teenage years. I was out with my sister when the wheelchair suddenly stopped. We had no idea what to do or how to fix it. After trying everything to make it work we decided the only option was to turn the wheels onto manual gear and my sister would have to push me. Back then I had a very big and heavy wheelchair, one that was not easy to physically push alone. It took a lot of strength and ability from my sister to carry on pushing me in the wheelchair. Especially as it was not easily manoeuvred and had bad brakes.
Luckily we were not too far from our home so a journey that would take us 15 minutes by foot/wheelchair on an average day took us nearly 40 minutes to finally reach our home. I remember feeling guilty and embarrassed. I could see how tiring it was for my sister yet I couldn’t do anything to help and I noticed the looks people were giving us. This made me lower my head as I thought it was my fault, when in reality it was the wheelchair battery.
The second time was slightly different as it didn’t actually stop, but the power control light kept flashing red while I was out. Again luckily I wasn’t too far from my home so I tried to rush as fast as my wheelchair could take me to reach the safety point that is home. It is a frightening experience as you constantly keep looking at the red light, making sure it is still flashing and fighting the distance to get home before the wheelchair completely stops.
The importance of maintenance of a wheelchair power pack
After these incidents I learnt – be it the hard way – to put my wheelchair on charge everyday, have it serviced regularly and ensure the battery is in healthy shape. I am not very technical and don’t really know much about battery chargers or electric wheelchairs but I do trust the company that services it. I am quite sure if there was a better and faster battery they would have told me about it.
There is a strange kind of power that comes from having a fully charged working wheelchair. You feel not only in control but also free to do whatever you like without having to rely on someone else. Having a fully charged battery is more than just having the ability to drive, it is the key that opens many experiences. The chance to enjoy things without the fear of being stuck somewhere
The significance of the wheelchair battery
I might sound silly but a battery pack has more value than you can imagine. A wheelchair is nothing without a good reliable battery, amongst other aspects. It is your protective zone that keeps you safe and active without being reliant on people in any way. Batteries in my view are the essence of independent living, because we must ensure we never miss out by forgetting to look after every tiny feature of the wheelchair. I hope these experiences I’ve had to endure can benefit others in the future.