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    If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It

    I kid you not, I had been waiting eight months for a new wheelchair seat to come. And I can also tell you that it wasn’t worth the wait.

    The one cool thing was with a simple touch of the joystick (done by Herman or Terry) the whole seat platform tipped backwards including the foot rest. By tipping like this, there is no sliding or “shearing” action as when only the back of the seat reclines. This is especially important to prevent the all important pressure sores which come with sitting immobile for long periods of time (and which eventually did Superman Chris Reeves in.)

    However, my old chair seat (that I had given up to get the new “power tilt” seat) had a reclining back which allowed me to stretch and move a bit. The “new” chair seat tilted back as a unit and kept me in the same position, which was cramped and uncomfortable. There is always a compromise.

    I got the seat as I do most of my other wheelchair supplies from a company called Monroe Wheelchair. They are out of the Latham area, but the serviceman, Bob Morris, comes to my door to do what has to be done. This particular chair features an air cushion with hundreds of individual air pockets that really do feel like you are floating on air. But that could be used with my old seat platform as well.

    I actually have had the seat cushion for several months while awaiting the individually designed seat platform to be installed. The whole apparatus goes on the original base with electric motor that I had previously and the controls are all set up by computer software to cater to my needs. Or so I thought.

    Even now I have a control switch that allows me to operate this chair with my chin. It’s pretty intense what they’ve come up with these days. Now, when Herman or Terry is shopping and pushing a basket along the food aisles, I can track along on my own using the chin control so they don’t have to be controlling the food basket and my chair at the same time (which can result in minor fender benders in the market).

    With either seat I have a teal base of the chair which I selected and the “Jazzy” model name which sounds more sporty to me than the typical pedantic sounding chair names. However, after trying the new tilt seat a couple of weeks, I decided to go back to my former seat, which had a reclining mode. Fortunately, the company hadn’t thrown my old seat out and could return the new one at no charge to me.

    So my new advice is to not try to fix things that don’t need repair. I was as surprised as anyone that the “new improved” seat was not for me. Live and learn!

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com