Sunday, 18 March 2007

Brmm Brmm, Beep Beep - Wave at my WAV

Thank You to Motability
for the government grant for the fan-dabby-dozy
B.........d conversion WAV -
wheelchair adapted vehicle.

Its beautiful but its not mine yet. Now that Motability have given the go-ahead, the conversion company will assign a vehicle to me and start the 'build', which will take three months. It is very quiet, a revolution in WAV design in the last five years since my first WAV which is a noisy open van, with a rattling wheelchair tie down bracket. The noise and echoing affects my Meniere's condition and restricts me in the time I can spend driving or being driven in it. Once I have the ultra quiet new WAV and ultra quiet wheelchair tie down system, theoretically I should have wider horizons. There will be no excuse (other than medical) for not visiting family in Yorkshire and once that duty is satisfied, if I survive it, I am so loooking forward to going further afield more often, to the beach, maybe even to London, for I so want to go to the Globe Theatre. I may just need a triple dose of the systemic steroid injected in my butt to achieve that, please.

Will there be room for one more in the pit with the Disabled Ramblers on their London tour?

The WAV design to my needs includes a remote ("it will fit in your handbag") operated auto opening rear door. Cool. And what they describe as "a dog lead with a bungee" for me to let down and bring up the power assisted ramp. I'll have a red one please.

I make no apology for mentioning a commercial enterprise. The company was created twenty five years ago, to address the specific needs of a specific newly cripped crip. This is my second B.........d conversion; they are the only company who lower the vehicle's entire rear floor, so that the floor is flat for its entire length, long enough for my six wheeled electric wheelchair - other WAVs have sloping floors, to accommodate the fuel tank or something, so the wheelchair passenger is permanently tilted back, an uncomfortable reminder of being in a dentist's chair, and in my Meniere's balance disorder, tilted me straight into a M's attack at the initial Motability assessment.

And B.........d do it with such style - and a CD player ! And loads of cup holders (one each for the gin, coffee and mineral water, if I was so inclined) and cubby holes for everything one ever thought one needed but forgot about once it was stowed away.

The only problem I have with B.........d is that ALL their advertising shows a man driving/pushing/loading a woman in a wheelchair. I have gently suggested they diversify a little and show the occasional variation of a woman pushing/loading/driving a man in a wheelchair, or maybe even a man/man or woman/woman combination; you know, as in real life.

I have known people who baulk at seeing £11,000-odd of their DLA mobility component disappear over the five year lease into Motability's coffers, never to be seen again, but I think it is a bargain, not just for the (stylish) independence but also for the peace of mind. For years I drove ancient cars and worried about them getting up hills/stalling in the rain/failing the MOT again.

It's perhaps easier for me. Being dependent on means tested benefits means I qualify for a full grant for the vehicle conversion, without any contribution from me. Also, strangely, I am better off without a 'better half' - being single means I qualify for an independent solution to transporting my wheelchair. Also, I live in a rural area, with just two buses a week (one to the nearest town and one back again) so public transport is virtually non existent. And no, the bus is not wheelchair accessible.

Transporting me and my wheels is one aspect of disability that works, for me, thanks to Motability.

Beep, beep, brmm brmm, zoom zoom.

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Blogger BloggingMone said...

WOW!!! That car looks great. A friend of mine is driving quite a similar car, but it is not a VW. Cant remember what it is... Anyway, she is getting into the car with a little ramp at the side door and then parks her wheelchair where the drivers seat used to be. It may be a stupid question, but how do you get to the drivers seat if you enter the car from the rear? You can't possibly jump over the back seats, can you?

Monday, 19 March 2007 at 15:02:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Bmone.
My adaptation is fairly basic - Motability assess quite strictly to ability and need and, quite rightly, they say I can 'transfer' - get in and out of my wheelchair, so the wheelchair is parked in the middle of the back row of seats, but the standard seats are removed and replaced, in my case by one behind driver's seat, into which I transfer from the wheelchair adjacent, out the side door, into the driver's seat. If I become more disbled, then I will be reassessed. The WAV adaptations are available for all needs; one to allow a passenger to remain in the wheelchair and enter via the rear ramp and 'park' into a retaining bracket in place of the front passenger seat, or a 'drive from wheelchair' adaptation, again via rear ramp, into retaining bracket in place of driver's seat. There are some excellent adaptations, for people with restricted upper limb length for example. As I said, Motability is an excellent scheme.

I don't know why but UK adapations seem to be rear door accessed, whereas in USA, and it seems German, adaptations the entry is from the side.

Thanks for your feed back.

Monday, 19 March 2007 at 20:29:00 GMT  
Blogger spotted elephant said...

That's fantastic! I'm so glad you're going to be getting one that won't make the symptoms from Meniere's worse. It's wonderful that you'll be able to use it more and get out more. :)

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 00:44:00 GMT  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Hooray, it looks fab! And it's going to be fab. Motability scheme isn't for me, but I can completely see how great it is for those it is more relevant to.

So with you with the gender thing. You see that a lot. Of course, there probably are more female wheelchair users than men, because there are far more women reaching old age than men, and various conditions (ME and MS are ones where I know this is the case) effect more women than men (of course, other conditions, like MD, effect vastly more men than women, but are rarer).

However, in language we usually cast caring roles as female ones. And indeed, women are far more likely than men to be carers for family members other than their spouse.

Uh anyway, perhaps doesn't warrant that much analysis, but it is very curious - almost as if the people (men?) making such brochures are squeamish about seeing male wheelchair-users?

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 09:08:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Goldfish.

Re the gender thing: I think it does warrant analysis, because that can lead to a challenge on an objective basis, rather than getting cross with them because of my subjective reaction to their blurb.

And yes, women are more prone to many of the physically impairing diseases (but it is often the built environment and attitudes that dis-ables them !) but generally when I am out and about, it is men who I see driving their own vehicles, mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, and where are all the women, the few I see are not representative of the ratio of men to women crips, and the females I do see out and about are more likely to be pushed in manual wheelchairs, not independently mobile. I think women, and their access to independence, is still controlled by the dominance of a male society within their own family, perhaps more so in rural areas.

Screams of protest probably resound, but this is based on my observations.

But Hell ! Cars are a 'man' thing ... engines, tinkering, oily rags, metal pliers, spanners ... yet, the men at B....d are so helpful one can't help feeling positive about them - their premises are a crip's dream; spacious loos above and beyond Part M regulations, a quiet room to recover in after the journey there, refreshments on a tray (brought by a woman !!!), loads of parking, spacious quiet showroom, big leather sofas ... but its a man's world in the automotive industry.

Perhaps I will anonymously forward this blog post and comments to B....d so they can see the sexism for themselves !

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 11:55:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thanks Spotted Ellie - I am very aware that, often, the disabilities imposed by physical impairments are relatively easy to overcome, by tinkingering with the built environment, providing the right equipment, or making laws to make disablism illegal, and that it is much harder, and often becomes impossible, when the impairment of a medical condition affects one's very soul.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 12:03:00 GMT  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

So pleased for you Sally, and I hope you do get to the Globe one day - it's been an ambition of mine for some time to get there.

Now if only Motability would extend their tinkering to semicircular canals, so as to eliminate my whirly spells, you and I could have drag races or play Second Up Hod Hill's A Chicken.

The gender thing with machinery comes down, I think, to some perception of threat - threats to exclusive power, to status. Years ago I had a colleague who drove a Morgan. She was quite a young woman, and pretty, if that's anything to do with it, and the aggro she got from male drivers was intense. All ages, she said; it wasn't just a boy racer thing. You could see the look of pleasure on their faces when they clockerd the car, change to a scowl when they clocked the sex of the driver. Evidently in some tiny minds a woman just shouldn't be driving a sports car.

Same when computers first came out. Heap big man mystery, woman no understand um, stay in kitchen, right?

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 20:32:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles - you are totally right, it is about keeping the 'wimen' in their place - and that view has additional weight coming from a man ! Thank you.

Which reminds me of an example:
I remember about, oh, maybe three decades ago, I had a repair man in to the washing machine, and he grumbled, yes, grumbled, to me the lady of the house, about all these labour saving devices, in that scenario the newly available microwave oven, which he didn't agree with, because "its the labour that keeps the wimen in the house, and what are you going to do with all that time you save". Then, being a meek 1970s housewife, I merely didn't react. Looking back on it now, I think he was actually telling me something that he thought my husband should have already thought of, and now saw as his manly duty to say.

Thank Goodness for the CDs of this world ... talking of which ...

Hod Hill is for whimps - what about Hambledon, now that is what I call a hill !

To accommodate your labyrinth's whirlygig effects, we could have a wheelie race on the straight, say one of the roman roads from Badbury Rings - my six wheeled electric -v- your manly muscle powered manual !!

Girl power ! Ha !

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 21:30:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Charles - Postscript re. The Globe. You can hitch a lift anytime, there is space for a folded manual w/c in the back.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 21:38:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Blatant Self Promotion:

For more tales of Dorset and hills, see 7th January 2007 - 'The Elusive Dorset Dragon' and follow the link to the Giant.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 23:04:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Today's sweet moment:
my site meter showed a visitor from Iran using the search term 'best s.x men and wimen'(sic) and it brought the (presumed male) searcher to this comments page.
(I use the dot for the 'e' so that search engines don't zoom in here !)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007 at 12:06:00 GMT  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Sally, I get vertigo just thinking about getting up Hod Hill.

Merely as a side issue, one of my uncles told me that in his youth, it was a favourite sport to see who could get a car up (or down) the zig-zag on the cliffs at Bournemouth. He and his friends claimed to have got an Austin Seven up there.

Thanks for the lift offer!

I was taught in my early years by nuns, my mother and aunts were formidable women, then I was in a female-dominated (in every sense of the word) profession for years. The idea of women being somehow "inferior" never got a chance to develop.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007 at 19:30:00 GMT  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

An Austin Seven was a bit long for those corners wasn't it ? We had a A30, which wasn't much longer than my wheelchair. Just thinking about those zig zags - the number of times I have had to corner sharply round a so-called access ramp and arrived reeling.

Perhaps your life education enabled a strong anima (feminine aspect of the male psyche) to develop healthily. You are one in a million CD !

Even though you won't accept an invitation to tea - holding out for a day trip to London I see !

Wednesday, 21 March 2007 at 23:14:00 GMT  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

"An Austin Seven was a bit long for those corners, wasn't it?"

Yes, and it had running-boards as well. The mind boggles.

Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 15:58:00 GMT  
Blogger Philip said...

Motability is an excellent charity which has made a tremendous difference to many disabled people's lives.

I bet you can't wait.

Saturday, 7 April 2007 at 15:38:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Yes indeed, although its important to remember that the vehicle isn't charity and has to be paid for, as I said, £11,000 over the five year lease. Motability is only a charity as an non profit making administrative organisation - we do pay for the vehicles, and claim government grants through Motability where they are eligible.

Thanks Philip, I am excited, but I do have the Kangoo WAV until the end of the lease.

Do you have a WAV ?

Saturday, 7 April 2007 at 15:57:00 BST  

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