I NORMALLY save my annual rain rant for the April showers but given mother nature’s early gift of six weeks of non-stop rain I’m bringing it forward.
I think we can all agree we are fed up of the rain. Luckily my house is perched on a hill so I am not at risk of domestic flooding but the same is not true of my person. You see the thing about being a wheelchair user is that rain brings a host of problems. I have already highlighted the woes of soggy sleeves but when it’s really chucking it down things change.
So what you do in on a rainy day?
Option 1. An umbrella. Well that is an instant no go as I need my hands to push so holding anything isn’t going to happen.
Option 2. A jacket. Hmm, this is a tricky one – most jackets are not designed for wheelchair users, problem being that in order for it work it needs to stop at my waist (or a little higher ideally), and be loose sleeved to allow me to push which means wearing some sort of ill fitting oversized number which subsequently gets caught in my wheels. There are not many jackets that fulfil this brief.
In the name of fairness some sportswear might hit the brief but one of the things about being in a wheelchair is that it’s very easy to become homogenised into a uniform. I wouldn’t normally wear a cagoule as I prefer to have more of an individual style, let’s say a duffle coat. Well as cool as Paddington Bear is, I can’t rock that look anymore, unless I get one handmade or tailored at considerable cost.
I haven’t even broached the subject of legs too – rain tends to fall vertically, when you are sitting down that means you get very wet thighs – the solution waterproof trousers. As you can imagine, getting dressed is hassle enough when you are permanently seated never mind adding a second pair of trousers.
Add to that the slippery waterproof trouser material and I ended up sliding out of the front of my chair. Soggy trousers it is then.
But most annoyingly of all is the change is my power and braking ability. You see I use my (dry) hands to get grip on the wheel rim, to both push and brake.
When my hands are wet I lose a lot of power with the loss of grip. Braking becomes a dicey affair as the rims just keep slipping through my hands despite the pressure I apply. We all hate the rain, but for some us of it’s just an extra burden in an already compromised life.