Progressive neuromuscular disease finally put me in a power wheelchair, and I’m loving it. I should have gotten one years ago, but power wheelchairs are two things common to the disabled experience: expensive and logistically cumbersome.
I picked a Porto Mobility Ranger Quattro XL as my chair. That’s US$3000 right there. And then there are the accessories. I’ve turned the chair into a mobile coping platform and life-support system. Some highlights:
- 300w motors x 2
- 10Ah motor batteries x 2
- 3500 lumen headlights x 2
- tail/brake lights x 2
- stereo speakers
- climate control
- toiletry kit
- tech kit
- full mobile office setup
- change of clothes
- the 10 Cs of survivability
- quick-detach first aid kit including Stop the Bleed
- quick-detach go bag
- integrated charging harness and battery for all devices
I’m not sure what all of that adds up to price-wise, but let’s call this a 5 thousand dollar rig. That’s a chunk of change. The crip tax is real.
The chair plus batteries weigh a little over 60 pounds. That’s much lighter than many power chairs, but we still need a portable wheelchair lift (also expensive) to get it in our minivan. The logistics of that aren’t fun, but it’s doable.
Aside from the expense and the logistics of travel, this chair is all upside. I love to pace. At least, I used to when I could walk. Back-and-forth, around-and-around, I’d pace my well-worn paths, thinking on the move. I haven’t been able to think on the move for years. My previous manual wheelchair required someone to push me since I can’t push it myself. I couldn’t go for a stim “walk” whenever I wanted. An electric wheelchair allows me to think on the move again. It allows me to pace and loop and drive patterns around our yard while working through the day’s thoughts and worries.
This chair is life-changing. Behold my precious: