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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Leaners and lifts


Yesterday, we had some training at work and the trainer was someone who I had never met before. I always aim to sit somewhere near the front so that when I need to escape to the toilet, I can get out of the room without disturbing anyone else. I did this yesterday in the training but the trainer positioned herself right next to me for most of the session. At first, this didn't bother me but then, as we went on, she started leaning on my wheelchair. The first time she did it, I wasn't expecting it and my arms did that drop-reflex thing that babies do when you pretend to drop them.

I can't describe the feeling of being leaned on without warning. It feels like I've suddenly lost my balance and that makes me feel rather nauseous. It also means that every movement the person makes, gets transferred through my body.

I've found that people lean less now that I don't generally have handles on my chair. It's more difficult to find a solid spot to lean on. When someone does though, they are really in close contact with me and it feels very invasive.


I have two workplaces and one of them is on two floors and has a lift. Both buildings are fully accessible, for which I am very grateful! Yesterday though, somebody looked slightly surprised at my method of using the lift and I thought I'd share my lift tips.

Big lifts are easy - you can go in forwards, turn around and go out forwards. Small lifts can be a bit more tricky because there isn't space to turn around. I find it difficult coming out backwards because you can't negotiate obstacles, including people who are waiting. So I always reverse in so that I can come out forwards and just roll away.

I ring for the lift and while I'm waiting, I turn around and position myself so I can go straight backwards. When the lift arrives, I keep an eye over my shoulder in case there is somebody in the lift that I need to move for. If there is, it's much easier to move because I'm going forwards. When the doors open, and assuming it's clear, I reverse carefully back, being extra careful not to crack my knuckles on the sides of the door. When I get in, I put my brakes on and press the button. When I arrive at my floor, I just head straight forwards and off...

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