Before a particularly heavy night out, my friend James once said, “Lou, what happens if the wheels come off?”
Good question James, very good question indeed. Now I don’t know about you but I tend to take my wheels for granted. They’re always just there, you know? I suppose that I think about it in the same way as my body – whatever I put them through it’ll just heal.
But I know in reality that this just isn’t the case. If my chair breaks, it isn’t just going to magically repair itself. Equally, it is not just going to break when it is most convenient for me either. That is why you have to have insurance.
And there have been a few events that illuminated this to me over the years. I remember 2 chairs ago, when I had just moved to Leeds as a callow 18 year old, I went on a freshers’ pub crawl and my wheel fell off. No joke, to make matters worse, the whole club turned their eyes on me as I was left confused on the floor. I could only watch with drunken dismay as my wheel made its escape.
Luckily, my wingman Richard was there to catch the escaping wheel before it made good on its attempt. Had I been wheeling home alone, as I have been known to do – it could have made local news.
Tonight on Look North – local man loses wheel off his wheelchair and is forced to spend night on pavement.
It is always a concern in the back of mind, that ‘what if’ situation, especially as I like to travel alone. And thing that I have always had communicated back to me, when working with other people is they have the same concern. When I was working with a young lady, who wanted to go out and socialize with her friends more but she worried about what would happen if something went wrong with her electric char. Now there are number of things to consider when going out with a chair (see my top tips for pub crawls and guide to pulling), but should worst happen – you want to make sure you’re covered.
One of the MBL directors’ Danny, was kind enough to come down and see me in Leeds some weeks back. Although Danny is not in wheelchair himself, he recongnised the importance having things like breakdown cover in place for his clients and I want please to hear that it operated 24/7 – perfect protection for my next drunken adventure! They’ll even send ambulance should I need one – Friday nights are bound to be eventful now! I was also thrilled to hear that they could also cover me worldwide, which will come in handy next time I’m in Amsterdam.
Joking aside, insurance against accidents is a must for the active user and MBL offer a great range of policies. Click the banner to find out more.
I started this piece with the intention of giving fashion and style tips, and I quickly stopped myself. First things first, I am no Gok. Although I could give him a run for his money on the groovy glasses front, I only wish I knew how to look as good naked… but, I do have a little experience of making sitting down stylish.
So, the best way to write this is to probably say GO FOR IT first of all. Wear whatever makes you feel foxy, and who is anyone else to tell you otherwise? But I will share a few of my own personal faux pas. Sit back; there’s plenty to go around.
1. Low rise may as well not rise at all.
Up until my mid-teens, jeans weren’t a problem as I didn’t wear them. Instead, I had three very memorable, and equally delightful pairs of trousers to choose from. Khaki, baggy, army
pants, banana yellow tracksuit bottoms with the added bonus of navy blue poppers up the side that gave me enough self-esteem to think I was Sporty Spice, and, my personal
favourites, fluorescent pink trousers with huge tassles coming from every inch of them… classy, I know. Looking back, it’s no wonder I found the dating game a bit of a drag. I did eventually find the Holy Grail that was a good pair of jeans, but they were all low rise. Never great when you’re sitting down with them digging into your hips, deciding to slide down just as you need to transfer or crawl up a flight of stairs. Not good at all. I stick to maxi dresses and high-rise pencil skirts now. A tucked-in tummy and no builders bum. Result!
2. Dresses with zips and painful beauty.
I recently bought an incredible 1950s circle dress that I just HAD to have. This was stupid for two reasons. Firstly, it broke the bank and secondly it zips all the way up the back and I can’t
fasten the bloody thing without some help. And the cherry on top is that, although it gives me hourglass curves, I struggle to breath when sat down in it. As a result, it comes out on extremely special occasions, aka never. The only advice I can give in this situation is that, if your arms are pretty limited like mine and you struggle to use hidden zips, just go for comfy over-your-head dresses that you’ll look just as gorgeous in as you’ll be able to relax and smile.
3. Making the best bits sparkle.
I am relatively unfortunate that, unlike the familiar phrase, I actually look like I have two right feet. No matter how many times I tell them, they just won’t keep straight! So more
often than not I wear a comfy pair of converse and a long dress that will not draw attention to them. I also wear tights and dolly shoes because I couldn’t really care less what my feet
look like most of the time, but my fool proof method is there if ever I’m having a self- conscious day. I also try to go bright with my hair, make up and top or dress, so that the
attention is drawn up my body, instead of down to the rubbish bits. This tip applies to everyone: know what your good bits are and flaunt them (but ladies in chairs, watch out if
you have a killer cleavage; that 6ft guy will be able to see three times as much of it as you can…. But maybe that’s a good thing?!)