I have not used this blog so long I had to come back and familiarise myself with it again. And using this blog because a wheelchair review would not fit the remit of any of the other blogs that I do - this is my personal blog, I ve had this for more than 6 years. I think with social media - I ve slipped into the habit of leaving little messages when it came to the personal sphere in Facebook and Twitter status messages. Blogs require more work - and personal stuff didn't seem so important.
Yesterday while I was in Boots a lady approached to say hello because I am the first person she's seen who has the same chair! And that reminded me that I had said I would write a blog review about my new power chair.
Using google with a cursory search, I found one review online. This unnamed reviewer writes:
".... I really surprised the lady at Sunrise Medical that I talked to. It is the first time that a publication like ours has approached them for a review item I guess. The Sunrise Medical Marketing Manager, Ms Jane Elsworth, was very helpful in locating and securing a demo model for me to try out for a few days to review, even though this is a very popular model at the moment, is brand new, and she is a very busy person right now. She put us in touch with Anderson Medical & Mobility who sent Stewart Taylor over to show us this new chair. Stewart was over three times in fact, once to demo the chair and once to drop one off with me and adjust it to my size so that I could test it for a few days then the day he picked it up to take over to someone else. They are very busy people and this chair is much in demand, for good reason as you'll see."
With hindsight, I see my mistake
- - I did not ask for a test
- - I did not keep the chair long enough for a proper test
My fault. I needed a replacement powerchair. I was too cocky I thought I ve used powerchairs for most of 27 years and I ve used Quickie chairs for the last 15 - manual and powerchairs - so did I need to test I thought. My local wheelchair services ha given me an assessment, my consultant had written a letter to say that I needed a riser wheelchair. My supplier (Midland Mobility) told me he had just the thing in mind - a Sunrise Medical Quickie Salsa Mid Wheel Drive powerchair and he came around with the salesman.
To be honest,I was impressed by the extremely compact turning circle, allowing for great indoor manoeuvrability. A narrow width makes it easier to navigate through doorways and confined spaces. With its mid wheel drive technology, there is a suspension which makes bumps less 'bumpy' and the seat can be adjusted to tilt up so as not to fall out. Of course I like being able to reach things but find it takes a long time for the seat to go up in height. Joy of joys I can now sit up for the conveyor belt sushi bars at Japanese restaurants and at pubs not to mention being at the same height as people you do not want to look down at you! The downside? It takes an awful long time to reach the dizzy heights! it goes slowly when you re up there - there's a built in safety lock on the speed.
But I ve had it for a couple of months now. After a week or so, I sent it back because I thought it was odd that it should lurch and they found a screw (?) missing. They thought that it must have been missing form the start because it was not something that could have work loose. I became nervous.
Problems with it:
- 1) no manual with how to use instructions - there were no instructions to go with it. I would have appreciated such a guide/manual. It would have also been good to have gone for a good 'ride' outdoors. The controls are very sensitive. Tim tried to show me how I can go over rough terrain.
- 2)the pivotal type see saw reaction (with mid wheel drive) when you re going up or down a ramp - like on a train. This is very disconcerting - I had no warning and nearly fell off the ramp at Euston a couple of times. The trick is to go down to the lowest speed when you going down a ramp and tilt the chair seat up - but not when you go up the ramp.
- 3)the creaks and sounds that come and go with no rhyme or reason but which worry me. Any sound unaccounted for makes me uneasy.
- 4)The batteries do not seem to last as long as my old Quickie - this machine goes to yellow bars after a day's bombing round town use.
- 5)My foot pedal is already losing paint at the edges and the hinge is loose.
But I really like it. I can recommend it but suggest a real trial before buying it by using it in different terrains -its good for climbing slopes.I like that the arms can be moved up, that I can tilt the chair and change the pressure points. I like the lights. I do have head rests and rear mirrors - apparently this is mandatory when travelling in public transport but I found that they really stick out and get in the way of turning corners- such as monoevring into a tight spot on the bus.
Coventry wheelchair services got me in touch with Tim Cox who says he's passionate about this particular model. He could not tend to my fears the first time and said I had to go back to the dealer. Whan I was still not convinced and rang him again, this time he came out to see me. We took the train together to Birmingham Internatiional and back and I showed him my nervousness with the ramps but he told me it was a very stable chair and that I just needed confidence. He then thought that the ramps used on the train might not conform to the standards for ramp incline for wheelchairs. (Yea, I thought - try telling the rail service that they have to change all their ramps!) He did say I should have had more instruction about how to use the chair by the people I bought it from.Could I have asked for them to have let me have it for a couple of days? I am not aware if such rights. In buying a car, are you not allowed to go off for a spon before you make a payment?
I am getting used to driving it. I need to have more confidence in it but that can only be earned. Would be good to know what are other people's views on it.