Do-gooders are everywhere, eager to make a big show of helping whether you need it or not. Here’s how to handle it.
Some of these inventions for wheelchair users undoubtedly already exist, but I guarantee that some of them don’t (generally because they are outlandish or endearingly impractical), but each of them puts a spotlight on one of the small but troublesome dilemmas that plague my particular corner of the disability universe. I am guessing I am not completely alone. And the more small problems that get solved cheaply, easily and practically, the more time we disabled folk have left over for higher level functions.
The Wheelchair Front-Plow
A wide, V-shaped flexible plow that easily attaches to the front of your chair, like a snowplow but for light-duty use. Made of stiffened rubber or some durable, flexible but strong plastic, it would hug the ground and push all manner of objects in your path out of the way. It would have to be wide enough to direct items beyond the reach of your back wheels so you don’t crunch them on your way through. All those years of navigating a living room strewn with Lego pieces after the kids went to bed would have been a lot easier with this implement. A corollary design might have brushes, allowing you to sweep the floor like those drivable lawnmowers handle a field, and you would just make a long, systematic pass through your house to clean up.
The Back Hook Implant
My wheelchair and I are in the back of a small, crowded lecture hall, wedged to the right of the door, in the oldest building in the University of California system. Another wheelchair user brackets the other side of the door. To someone walking in, we might look like charioteer sentries, except we’re facing […]