The company that I bought my new wheelchair from, Sasaki, are the only retailer (at least that I’ve found, after a lot of exhaustive searching) who stock this kind of wheelchair in the UK for the UK market. There’s a Malaysian company who will ship to the UK, and I was originally looking at them, but it’s not certain that you’ll end up with the right kind of charger or plug, and buying direct from a manufacturer on Alibaba is even more of a gamble.
It’s a shame that these “hybrid” chairs aren’t more widely endorsed – chairs which have electrical controls but also large rear wheels and the option to use the chair as a self-propelled one when necessary.
I’ve heard that the NHS refuses to provide these chairs because they see no benefit to them; they’ll either give you a manual or powered chair and nothing in the middle.
There are a few reasons I’ve long wanted this kind of chair:
It’s pretty much still the same size as a manual wheelchair and won’t fill the whole width of a shop aisle like my last electric chair did.
Because there are two batteries, positioned behind each wheel, instead of one huge battery in the centre of the back, this chair folds by just lifting up the seat, I don’t have to get down on the ground and do anything to a battery that weighs a tonne.
Because of this ability to fold like a normal manual chair, it can go into the boot of a normal car and into normal taxis. When we get a car, it can be a cheap, small, normal one instead of a huge thing that would let me drive a wheelchair on.
Because of its portability I can take it on the yearly camping trip with friends, and get myself around more instead of being pushed everywhere.
Large rear wheels provide a bit more stability, especially when getting up kerbs and going over gaps to get on trains. I am much less likely to fall on the train tracks than I was in my last chair.
Another reason – which unfortunately didn’t pan out – is that the chair was meant to be slim enough to fit through the smaller doorway of this house. The measurements on the site were wrong and so I still can’t get the chair easily into the living room or kitchen.
So, even though Sasaki sell massage chairs and this one kind of wheelchair, and that’s odd enough as it is, I paid the deposit I got from selling Calpurnia, my old Enigma Energi, signed the credit agreement and will be paying off the cost of this chair for the next 3 years.
When the guy was here giving the demo, there was a brief moment that he mentioned World Ventures, but I just sort of smiled and nodded, because not only could I barely hear him, I was just more interested in my amazing new chair. He left a leaflet for them, but then asked to take a promotional picture of me in the chair. For this he gave me a blue banner to hold saying “You Should Be Here!”
I’d seen other people holding them in pictures of their massage chairs on the Sasaki site, so didn’t think much of it aside from the fact that it was probably more suited to someone using a luxury massage item and not a mobility device.
When the man left, my partner remarked on how odd it was that he had mentioned a pyramid scheme, meaning the World Ventures stuff. I agreed but didn’t think that much of it.
Now that I’m up feeling ill and I can’t sleep, I’ve noticed the WV leaflet still plonked on my desk, so I Googled them. Yep, there’s a lot of stuff wrong with that. But the thing that worried me the most? The use of the You Should Be Here! banner in their photos.
Now I’m worried that the image he took of me is actually being used somewhere to promote a pyramid scheme that I’m not even part of.
I’m not sure what the connection between Sasaki and WV actually is. I just hope everything is going to be OK with my wheelchair.