Slow Down

Throughout that particular day the neon lights on my control panel dwindled. I watched as each rectangular block of battery seemed to evaporate into thin air, poof and then it became black, like it never existed to begin with. But there was too much going on! I had about 3 classes back to back that day, student club meetings, friends who wanted to meet up for lunch and then dinner, errands to run, cleaning to do etc. By the time the neon blocks were glowing a sallow yellow and then a dangerous orange, I still hadn't even gotten through half the things I had to get done for the day. Each tick of the battery indicators blew out before I could get enough done, like candles on a birthday cake before the wish had been made.

A responsible person would probably have their wheelchair charger on hand at all times. A more efficient chair (as opposed to the one I have) would probably have a secure place to keep the wheelchair charger.
But of course I am neither responsible and nor do I own a more efficient chair. So what was I to do?
I couldn't exactly drive back the seven blocks back to my dorm room to go plug in my chair. That would not only require STOPPING MY DAILY ROUTINE for some MACHINE (ugh, how annoying and self-defeating would that be?!), but the travel back to my dorm room would just waste more battery bars.
My other option was to have a friend get my wheelchair charger for me, and also have them bring over my manual wheelchair to use while I left my power wheelchair to charge. But that would only forfeit my independence, hassle someone else, and I just wouldn't feel at ease to do everything I wanted to do.

As I thought about my options I was still going about my day, playing chicken with the diminishing battery bars. When it gets down to it I am too stubborn of a person to let some machine dictate or stop my life. There seems to be so many other uncontrollable factors that impact my day-to-day decisions that when it comes to the things that I can try to control, I will give it my all! Besides, my power wheelchair serves to liberate and make my life easier and more accessible. Everything from the electric powered joystick to the seat's ability to elevate, the purpose of the chair isn't to hinder and complicate my life but to improve and make it better. So if that's what it is supposed to do, then dang it that is what I will make it do till its last dying breath!

But as the day went on my battery power started its bold red and silent glare. I told my friends that I might not be able to stay out as late with them,
"Sandy we'll just switch the gears to manual and push you!" 
As kind of a suggestion as that was, my friends probably didn't realize that pushing a power wheelchair is NOTHING like pushing a manual wheelchair. Even if the motor is disconnected and the gears are turned to "free wheel" - the lug of a machine still weighs a ridiculous amount! Needless to say I wasn't going to put them through that, besides there is something incredibly annoying about being pushed in a power wheelchair that irks me more than people pushing me in my manual wheelchair. There is something about sitting on top of a dead motor as you are being pushed that highlights the helplessness of the situation.

It occurred to me that I didn't have to let the wheelchair's rapidly vanishing battery power stop or completely derail my day. I only had to manage my time, priorities, and travel distances better. At the end of that day, I was slightly shocked at how subtly having O.I. or being in a wheelchair can show me how to live a better life -- one that shows me how to make the most of everything, even if it's by literally slowing me down.

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