It all started with a road traffic accident in June 2010 when a car came round the corner ahead of us on our side of the road, I swerved to avoid him but unless you are James Bond or Lewis Hamilton swerving rarely ends well. Our car ended up on it’s side, I was cut out of the car and airlifted to hospital. The result of all that drama was a broken wrist, open fracture of the hip, broken ribs, collapsed lung and fractured and dislocated vertebrae at C5 and C6. The Spinal Cord Injury (S.C.I), is classed as a complete injury in motor function and incomplete in sensory function because I can feel some firm pressure in some parts of my body. Initially in hospital I couldn’t move anything other than my head and the prognosis was that I would probably be paralysed from my neck down. However, with physio, exercise, persistence, and ongoing hard work I now have pretty good, though limited movement in my arms, but still paralysed below my collarbone and in my hands.
Everything I read about S.C.I advocated exercise to aide recovery and rehabilitation and to be persistent, to keep trying. So that’s what I did, and that’s what I continue to do. I have a routine which helps with structure for the week and to continue to preserve some time to dedicate to my wellbeing. My week looks like this – Monday I use an electric assisted manual hand cycle bike to cycle laps on a running track; Tuesday I go to the gym; Wednesday it is yoga courtesy of Wheelpower.org.uk; Thursday it is Breathe and Recover meditation yoga; Friday I go to hydrotherapy where I swim lengths and Sundays I use the passive electric bike.
All of the aforementioned enables me to have the confidence and strength to do the other things I want to do in life like the Theatre, Cinema, travel, voluntary work for the air ambulance and of course maintain friendships and other relationships.
Having an SCI doesn’t affect your brain and therefore I still think the same way as I did before I was paralysed. I still want to experience as much as I can and see what life has to offer. I like to think that I will try most things once. I used to love travelling and now it does take a lot more planning, effort and sense of humour but we can still go abroad and have been to South Africa, Alaska, Sicilly, Madeira and Cuba to name some of our adventures.
I also have an assistance dog who I trained as a puppy to help me. The jobs he does more than any other is to pick things up for me when I drop them, open doors in the house and close them, pick up post,, and then of course to come everywhere with me be my companion and give me the confidence to go out every day in all weathers.
I have been a full-time wheelchair user for 12 years now, and am still learning and sharing in my website womenwithwheels.co.uk You can see from that the countries we have visited and the experiences I have had as a wheelchair user and I fully expect more new experiences to come.
Wheelchair User Description
As I am paralysed in my hands and have limited movement and strength in my arms, I do not have the strength to move a manual wheelchair very far outside. I have e-motion power assist which gives a battery power boost to my wheels for each push I do on my manual wheelchair to help me and use it mainly indoors, which is important to help keep me active and give me some exercise. Because I have no feeling in my hands I cannot grip the wheel rims so need to wear gloves with tacky palms to get traction to push the wheel rims. I also have silicone wheel rim covers to help with grip.
I use a power chair mostly outdoors which is particularly helpful as I have a dog who needs walking every day. The power chair allows me to go on a lot of surfaces the manual chair wouldn't be able to deal with such as gravel, fields, woods, grass and sand if it is not too soft and not too wet. I am quite adventurous and give most challenges a go, which is why I have had to ask strangers for help to be pulled out of mud and sand on occasions.
And so much more!
Favourite Custom Propel Product
Without doubt my best supporting piece of gear I have bought is the Raindek Raider which I got for hand cycling in adverse weather conditions! Though now I wear it for much more than that. This protective leg wear unlike any other wheelchair specific protective leg wear has separate trouser legs so that the bracket for the hand cycle can fit between your legs.
Before I discovered the Raider I used to wear ‘waterproof’ trousers when I knew it was going to be raining when I was going hand cycling, but they did not keep me dry in anything other than a light shower or drizzle. In proper rain, the water seeped through the trousers and in fact one rainey day after cycling I arrived home to find out I was soaking wet through to my underwear.
Also, due to the separate legs on the Raider and zips for fastening each trouser leg, it is really easy to put it on when you are in the wheelchair. This means that they are great to chuck in a bag and take with you if you are out and about all day and don’t know what the weather will be like. They are 100% waterproof, rain just runs off them and they are snug and keep you warm without being bulkey. I sometimes wear the Raider if no rain is forecast but it is a cold day and we are going for a long dog walk - oh! and it protects my clothes from muddy paw prints - result.
Social media handles
Twitter - The Winchester Wheeler@CrispinJan
Instagram - the.winchesterwheeler
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jan.crispin.jc
TikTok - Jan Crispin457@thewinchesterwheeler
Website - womenwithwheels.co.uk