Walking is a relatively subconscious activity, you don’t have to think about balance – it just works.

The same is not true of using a wheelchair, it takes time to adjust to having variable stability depending on your environs.

Another concern is maintenance, a wheelchair requires a regular service.

Mine got serviced last Friday. Upon arriving at the showroom, the guys looked puzzled, apparently my backrest was at a strange angle. After a once-over the chair got new casters and a re-adjusted backrest. I was told the backrest was now at the optimum angle. It felt very different, but I trusted the guys in the know.

Changing the angle completely changes the balance point of the chair. Just hours after getting the chair serviced I fell out of the back with very little effort. Luckily I was at a friend’s house and I got back in the chair without too much drama.

Yesterday I had a much more serious fall in a department store. I hit my head on a plinth and jarred my neck. Luckily the staff remained calm and called a first aider. Even though I was lying on the floor with my legs wrapped up in my spinning wheelchair, they then asked me what they should do.

I requested three people to help me back into my chair. The staff managed to keep the scene calm. The three guys then helped me into my chair and then into a taxi to A and E.

The doctor told me ‘you did a good job there’, confirmed there was no permanent damage and sent me home with an ice pack for a day of rest and 24-hour observation period. I am now getting my backrest adjusted from lethal to manageable.

It is quite easy to fall out my chair and when it happens in public it can be a nightmare that gets worse rather than better. There have been occasions where cars pull over, people drop their shopping and run to my rescue. While I am grateful for the concern, this is both undignified and dangerous. It would be very easy for someone who is lifting me to hurt their back or dislocate my shoulder.

There is a tried and tested technique and I’m more than happy to direct those kind souls who come to my rescue. Every disabled person knows how to be helped so please refrain from panic and ask how you can help. When dealing with a situation like this there is definitely a fine balance to be had.