Yesterday I fell out of my chair in pretty spectacular style. I don’t fall out of my chair often but when I do, I tend to do it ‘properly’ and this happens roughly once a year. I was tired, I’m on antibiotics (which probably come with a warning about not operating machinery) and I was on my way back to my car after an exhausting day of rehearsals for Sing for Water North.
I was in the Northern Quarter in Manchester (which has some very narrow pavements at the best of times) and I was approaching a corner where there was a signpost in the centre of the pavement. Normally there would be sufficient space to pass on the left of the post but there was scaffolding blocking this option. My critical mistake was that rather than waiting for a break in the traffic, bumping down the kerb and then getting back on to the pavement where there was a dropped kerb (just a few feet away) I decided that I would be lazy and have a go at passing to the right of the post on the very edge of the pavement.
I took it slowly, judging the available width, and decided that there was probably enough space to keep half of my right tyre on the pavement if I shifted my weight onto my left wheel. I was wrong. I half dropped off the pavement into the road, fell backwards smacking the back of my head on the kerbstone and ended up with a bloody knuckle. I was lucky, lucky that I have fallen many times over the years so was able to break my fall with my torso rather than taking the full force on the back of my head and lucky that I was with friends who cared for me and ensured I was OK; nonetheless it hurt and has done nothing for my quest to have delicate feminine hands that are not covered with grazes and scars!
Independent wheelchair skills are a wonderful thing to develop however, you must always use the appropriate skills for the situation. The moral of this story is that you should always recognise your limits (taking into account variable factors such as tiredness and medication changes) otherwise you end up hurting yourself, feeling like a twit and scaring members of the public!