Well, thankfully out of the way and we can all get on with making a decent year. I only have one rule for everyone this year: no-one is allowed to die. Seriously. If anyone I care about dies during 2008 then I’ll fucking kill them.

So, as regular readers will have probably noticed, I haven’t updated in a while apart from the brief entry on New Years Eve. There are many reasons for this some of which I’ll talk about now.

My uncle Tony, my mum’s brother, died on the 30th of November — he was a damn good man and will be sorely missed. He was a very generous guy and helped me gain some of the independence I enjoy today by basically giving me large sums of cash — he was the main contributor towards my car, my previous power-chair and my new power-chair. He was a happy man, too, and was always always having a laugh. I meant to write a proper entry here soon after he died but I was overwhelmed with apathy (again) and it didn’t get done.

Speaking of my new power-chair: it was delivered, as promised, on Monday 17th December at about one o’clock — Stephen, the guy who demonstrated/measured/sold me the chair, seemed as pleased to deliver it as I was to receive it. Although, if I’m honest, I was all smiles and glee on the outside but was in complete turmoil on the inside — I was really stressing about it, worrying myself sick about the changes it was going to bring about. I knew that it could only be good for me what with finally having a chair that had actually been measured and made to fit my body, that could make it over the front doorstep and into the world beyond and that I could sit in for more than half an hour without my back aching. But I was panicking about the fact that it would move differently and that I was so used to my previous chair.

Let me try and explain myself a bit more clearly: my previous chair, a Stannah S201, had a relatively small base, had two driving wheels that were positioned more or less in the centre and was therefore extremely manoeuvrable — it wold turn on the spot and, with the foot supports taken off, could be driven and turned in surprisingly small spaces. My new chair, a Balder F280, has the driving wheels on the front with two trolley-like wheels on the back so, while it is still very manoeuvrable, it steers like a forklift truck i.e. the back end has a tendency to swing out and catch door frames and such if you’re not careful … and this is precisely what I did for the first couple of days: catch door frames, the bookcase, the kitchen units and the wall in the garage. Cue lots of swearing, chips of wood, flecks of paint and much internal anguish on my part.

Unfortunately, the perceived problems with the new chair weren’t the whole story — the death of uncle Tony had brought back to the surface all the feelings about the two other people we’d lost in the previous fourteen months and, while I can normally handle those feelings albeit with increased apathy, that combined with the stress I was feeling about the new chair put in a pretty bad way emotionally. I did my best to try and hide it from those around me (sorry mum!) as I usually find doing so helps me get through it a bit better — I know that may sound weird but I’ve never really been one for letting it all out. On the day of uncle Tony’s funeral I was quite surprised because being surrounded by virtually my entire family really helped a lot — I don’t mean that to sound like I don’t consider my family comforting, because that’s not what I mean at all, but I’m the sort of person who, while I do enjoy other peoples company, is also quite happy being on their own.

This is starting to get a bit jumbled and confusing so I’ll change the subject slightly and talk about the good things to do with the new chair.

As I mentioned before it’s a Balder F280 and, if you ignore the price, it’s a damned fine piece of kit! It’s smooth and fairly quiet when moving (which N is pleased about as the previous chair made a certain amount of noise as I drove past) and has many motorised adjustable bits that aid me in my comfort, posture and general getting around. It’ll raise me up so I’m eye-to-eye with someone who’s just under six feet tall (which is great for when you’re in a shop or pub), the feet supports are adjustable in length and angle and the entire chair will “tilt-in-space”, i.e. recline with the back/seat/legs staying in the same position relative to each other. The brochure says it’ll go just over twenty miles on a single charge and I’m inclined to believe it — so far it’s been at least five days between charges and some of those days have involved whizzing around Merry Hill shopping centre, walking Rocco around the estate and collecting N’s niece from the school up the road. A trip to the cinema last week proved very
successful for several reasons: a) we avoided our usual problem of trying to hold hotdogs, drinks and push my wheelchair; b) I was actually comfortable through the entire film (something that hasn’t happened for about ten years), and best of all c) they still let my carer (whoever it may be taking me to the cinema) in for free even though they didn’t have to push my chair — bonus!

I haven’t made any plans to scale the side of various mountains just yet, but I am getting to grips with the chair more and am having to think about it less and less as it becomes second nature. I am particularly looking forward to the warmer drier weather as I do intend on making some trips out and about armed with my camera — I may even get someone to drop me off somewhere like Worcester city centre and spend a couple of hours on my own snapping some photos of anything and everything, something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.

Yes, provided people stick to the rule I mentioned in the first paragraph and we get at least some decent sunny days later on, I can see 2008 being pretty good and, hopefully, a complete contrast to the previous two years we’ve had.