Coping With Ataxia After Wheelchair Van Accident

by Bob “Buz” Buzby

On my way to work on November 9th I was involved in a 2-vehicle accident at the intersection of Capitol Street and State Street in Augusta, Maine.

Fortunately, neither driver was injured and neither of us had any passengers. Additionally, had it not been for a flat tire on the other vehicle, both vehicles were drivable. In fact I drove my Ford Transit Connect the rest of the way to my place of work, Augusta Adult and Community Education, where I teach multi-level math classes on a part-time basis.

“Takes a Licking, But Keeps Going …”:

Amazingly, despite the amount of damage to the front-end [over $9000 and 56 hours labor] of the Transit Connect van [as seen below], it actually drove very well except that the shift points were off by one notch. (Drive was in Neutral and Reverse was between park and Reverse, etc.)

Before Accident Photos of My 2011 Ford Transit Connect Wheelchair Van – Click Photo Thumbnail To View Larger Image

Passenger Side Front View of My 2011 Ford Transit Connect Wheelchair Van Prior To The Accident

Passenger Side Front View

My 2011 Ford Transit Connect Van With Wheelchair Lift Deployed

Side View of Van With Wheelchair Lift Deployed

Author In Half-power Standing Chair Next To Ford Transit Equipped With Harmar AL690 Wheelchair Lift

Buz In Standing Chair Next To Transit Wheelchair Van

After Accident Photos of My 2011 Ford Transit Connect Wheelchair Van – Click Photo Thumbnail To View Larger Image

View of Left Front Damage To My Ford Transit Wheelchair Van

Driver Side Front Damage

View of Right Front Damage To My Ford Transit Wheelchair Van

Passenger Side Front Damage

View of "Hidden" Front Damage To My Ford Transit Wheelchair Van

A Look at Hidden Front End Damage

Power Chair Transportation Difficulties

For those of you who rely on a wheelchair van I recommend that you set aside a lot of extra cash to cover the rental of a wheelchair van. [About $100 per day, which would mean $70 per day out of pocket with my insurance coverage.] Since I didn’t have that kind of money on hand and since I’m required to use my power chair at work I obviously needed a different plan, so I …

♦ (1) Used my Transit wheelchair van to pre-position my power chair to the Kennebec Learning Center before turning the Transit over to Conrad’s Auto Body in Waterville for repairs.

♦ (2) Rented a Chevrolet Impala and temporarily switched back to using one rollator walker to get around the house and another to get to and from the car.

♦ (3) Arranged with my boss and co-workers to have my power chair rolled to and from the rental car when I arrived at or left work to minimize the number of times I had to struggle with hauling the walker in and out of the car.

Temporarily Coping With Other Ataxia-Related Difficulties

Below I’ve listed some other issues I have had to deal with creatively during this time of limited power chair availability …

♦ (1) Shopping has proven to be interesting. The first time wasn’t too bad since I was able to use the walker to get to a Mart Kart and use that to get around the store. However, I wasn’t so lucky the next time since all the Mart Karts were in use so I had to use the walker to get around the store – something I haven’t tried to do in over a year and boy did my arms and legs let me know about it.

♦ (2) Doing laundry while trying to hold on to a walker is much less stable then using the standing chair.

♦ (3) Using the walker this much after all this time is taking its toll on my arms, shoulders, and legs. To compensate I’ve had to increase my stretching routines and the use of my therapy cane to work out the muscle kinks.

♦ (4) Finally, I have had to forgo my weekly pool therapy until I can transport the standing power chair because I usually have to park so far away that I wouldn’t have enough leg strength left after using the walker to get to the pool to be able to walk in the pool.

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2 Responses to Coping With Ataxia After Wheelchair Van Accident

  1. msrodnt says:

    On the plus side of all your inconvience getting about you got to work off those pesky holdiay meal pounds before the food so you are already ahead of the game.lol! I like your site it gives a personal touch and ideas for others in sticky situtations.

  2. Have you any solutions for taking donates? I`d like to give a dollar

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