My Long-distance “Legs”

There is nothing more important to me in my daily living than my Pride Go Chair. I guard it with my life and find myself “uneasy” if someone else sits in it, as care attendants – and my husband – are inclined to do when moving it without me in it.

After being released from the hospital minus my lower left leg, I realized that I dd not have the stamina, balance, or general health to walk far on my prosthetic. Don’t get me wrong, the prosthetic leg is a god-send; without it I would be bed-bound a great majority of the time as transferring without it was very difficult for me and never really improved past a certain point. With my prosthetic leg on, I am able to walk and transfer short distances using a walker or rollator.

I came home and used a manual wheelchair for many months until I started to suffer shoulder and neck pain. My private insurance plan covered me for a power chair, and I spent several hours with a physical therapist being evaluated for my needs.

But here’s the catch: the insurance plan would cover a full-sized power chair but it would be impossible for me to navigate it through the hallway and rooms on the first floor of the house I lived in at the time. It also limited access to the kitchen and getting into the bathroom was never going to happen. A total remodel of the first floor which would have been required to remedy the obstacles was not an option. But the final blow was that we had no vehicle with a lift which is what would be needed to load and transport a full-sized power chair.

I was devastated…Yes, they would pay for a full-sized power chair, but I could not use it in my house or go anywhere. The depression settled heavy on my shoulders and I withdrew into a shell, thinking a big chunk of life as I had known it was over.

My husband set to work researching alternatives; his goal was to find something powered that folded, allowing him to pick the chair up and place it in the hatch of our car. The only options he found at first were folding chairs that resembled a manual chair but had a battery pack under the seat. Okay, that was getting closer, but the battery pack added so much weight to the chair when lifting or packing it into a hatch that option was scratched.

One day, in a joyous mood, he came to me and announced he found “the answer”…a powered wheelchair by Pride that was compact, durable, and broke down into four sections – none weighing more that 36 pounds each – that he could lift and pack into our car.

I was elated and could barely sleep that night as I planned to contact my insurance company the next day and ask about coverage for this piece of equipment. Sadly, my joy was short-lived. No, the insurance would not cover this item that listed at $1,500, allowed me to be mobile both inside and outside my house because no modifications to the home would be needed and would fit in our compact car, but they would cover one that would cost $3,000 plus, could not be transported, and did not even fit through doors or the hallway!

So, we were on our own. With some strict budgeting, and a little patience, a Pride Go Chair found its way into my life. As luck would have it, we went to the Abilities Expo held at the Convention Center in Boston where, upon entering the building, found ourselves face-to-face with a huge display of Pride products by a local dealer. I gave the Go Chair “the butt test”, fell in love immediately, and found out the dealer was offering the show display products for sale.

A little “coalcracker negotiating” later, we were making plans to return at the end of the show and leave as the ecstatic owner of this blue beauty. It got the first test of portability that day when we my husband disassembled it and packed it into the hatch of our tiny Ford Fiesta. It passed with flying colors!

If you asked me what the one thing is that I don’t know how I could manage without in daily living, my Pride Go Chair would be it.

If you find yourself or someone you love or care for in the same situation — a full-sized power chair just won’t work for them — I encourage you to explore the Go Chair as an option.

More Reasons I Love My Go Chair

  • Features simple frame separation that you can do with one hand. In no time, this is disassembled into five manageable pieces for convenient transport and storage
  • It has a comfortable 18” x 17”, 5 point swivel seat with height and width adjustable armrest for a perfect fit for the user. It also is rated for a 300 pound weight capacity.
  • The tight turning radius on this amazes everyone who sees me zipping along and maneuvering through tight spaces.
  • It has swing-away, under seat storage.
  • The controller can be placed on either arm.

Pride Go-Chair Travel Power Wheelchair, Blue