My wheelchair is basically falling apart... getting a new one from the HSE is going to be a very bureaucratic and stressful process

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My wheelchair is basically falling apart... getting a new one from the HSE is going to be a very bureaucratic and stressful process

Julie Helen.

I GOT off the bus to town last week and was making my way along the South Mall, it was rainy and mucky!

The weather had broken so I was wheeling along in my wheelchair, getting wet and seeing my non-waterproof coat getting progressively wetter as I moved.

The mudguards on my wheelchair have loosened, my chair is basically falling apart but getting a new one from the HSE is going to be a very bureaucratic and stressful process, and getting an appointment to get it started is proving challenging in itself.

I was on the footpath wondering why I hadn’t considered the rain and lamenting how uncomfortable I was feeling. My hair was lank and damp and I was just generally feeling the impact of not being appropriately prepared for the weather.

I had to laugh at myself when I thought about the state I was in, because I am hyper-careful about ensuring our three-year-old son has a myriad of beanie hats, and he has two insulated waterproof jackets which I absolutely insists he wears on his adventures outdoors. He has a whole other waterproof set, complete with wellies for his adored moments in the farmyard feeding calves with Granny.

I should have kitted myself out in a similar fashion and I wouldn’t have been in the middle of Cork city looking like a drowned rat.

My posture is very bent, so when I am walking clothes and coats that go to calf length suit best. I was wearing such a long coat but when I am sitting in my wheelchair it is a different story, it just gets caught underneath me or in the wheels and causes obstruction and restriction, not to mind wrecking the fabric of the coat.

When I got home, I went straight online to find a solution. I had recently bought a pair of earphones that were designed specifically for people who run, so they are sturdy, robust and can operate with minimal touching or adjustment. This was an ingenious move and they have been a great addition to my day to day equipment.

Being a wheelchair user, I have always shied away from active gear in general but definitely always discounted running apparel straight of the bat. I will never run so I felt like that sort of gear would be laughable.

After my success with my earphones, I reconsidered and went straight to my favourite Gym plus Coffee to find a lightweight running jacket and gloves that runners wear too.

I have a particular fondness for Gym Plus Coffee clothing as Corkman founder Niall Horgan was a classmate of mine so I was a very early adopter when the brand came on stream. Since then it has gone from strength to strength with more and more emphasis on active and sport clothing. Little did I know that sort of clothing is exactly what I need to negotiate my environment comfortably with the added bonus of keeping myself dry.

Of course, while I was on the athleisure site I noticed they now design hoodies and beanie hats for kids too so I couldn’t resist getting one of each for Ricky. The package arrived just in time for playschool and work and Ricky was thrilled with his stuff, he loves to be a cool dude. He was tickled pink to think we were both going off in our Gym Plus Coffee beanie hats - I had to throw one in for myself in attempts to keep my hair dry.

The good news is, I got all the way to my destination dry and comfy despite the rain! I am delight and stylish to boot!

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