It was bound to happen sometime and this past week it finally did. I tipped over in my wheelchair. After riding in it for three years now and going over hill and dale and all sorts of bumps, steps and ramps, I finally tipped over and it was on a beautifully polished, perfectly flat floor. It was quite comical really.
My Mum was here for a visit so kid dropped us off at the store so we could take a leisurely stroll. Hubs and I have figured out a very efficient method of shopping: I push a cart and he pushes me. This means I'm in charge of steering and he is in charge of braking. It looks goofy but it works. I've taught this method to my kid and my Mum and a friend of mine (who didn't quite catch on which lead to a few near misses). This allows two of us to do a large shopping trip without needing a third person in tow to push the cart around. We had great fun investigating the new store.
After an hour or so, we had finished our shopping and went through the checkout line. The bagger loaded up my reusable bags with the groceries and put them on my handlebars. This is normal procedure. I know enough NOT to stand up with even a light load on the handlebars since the chair will immediately tip over backwards without my weight in the seat to keep it upright.
We decide to get coffees while we wait for kiddo to pick us up, so we head over to the cafe area. Mum parks me by a cluster of comfy chairs and heads off to the coffee bar leaving me alone to call the kid. I get out my phone and call him. He'll be right over to join us for coffees. He is just as addicted to the stuff as we are. Putting my phone in my pocket I decide the ottomans look amazingly inviting and decide to put my feet up and have a rest while waiting for everyone to come back. I put one foot up and roll a little bit to get the to the correct distance to rest comfortably on the ottoman and then pick my second foot up. That is when I felt it: that slight shift in balance, that ever so slight shift in weight. The grocery bags suddenly took over and tipped my chair over backwards. In slow motion I watch the wall and then the ceiling move in front of my eyes as I descended backwards in a slow arc. Thankfully I landed on the bags themselves which saved me from a nasty headbump or worse from the concrete floor. As it was, I hit both my elbows on the cement and they both screamed in pain. So I lay there staring at the immaculate new ceiling in Whole Foods wondering how the heck I was going to get up. Of course I started laughing since this was absolutely ridiculous. I was very very stuck. The arms were in the way so I couldn't swing my legs around or roll out. I was at an odd angle. Finally I decided to push off the armrests as hard as I could so I could scooch backwards as far as possible. After doing that, I was far enough back that I cleared the armrests so I rolled to one side over my shoulder, karate style, ending up in a seated position on the floor. Sitting on the floor I wondered how I was going to get up, how I was going to get the wheelchair up and what I was going to do with those heavy bags. Again I was accosted by a fit of giggles. Here I am a short fat disabled lady stuck on the concrete floor of a huge shopping market. I felt ridiculous. Luckily by this point a nice young couple came over to help. They righted my chair and I used the arms to get myself to standing and into the chair. They kept asking if I was okay and when they were happy with my reassurances they left me on my own. Luckily the bags had fallen off the wheelchair handles and were now sitting on the floor. The lady must have righted them while the gentleman was dealing with my chair. I slid everything over to the ottoman trying to make myself as compact as possible. I decided I didn't want to sit in my chair and took harbor in one of the safer, more stable armchairs. I looked around and wondered why no one in the cafe area had come over to help. They had all gone back to minding their own business like nothing had happened.
Mum finally returned with the coffees and I had to tell her my tale. Then kiddo showed up and I had to regale him as well. I was the only one laughing about it. I decided that my new chair is going to have a fall arrest on it much to the dislike of my kid who wanted to practice wheelies in it.
Most of the groceries survived intact. My box of figs were the only things that bought it and had to be chucked out. The butter and tub of sour cream were smooshed but remarkably the seals were still intact so completely usable. Woot! By some miracle I hadn't purchased eggs. Double woot! And I didn't have a concussion. Triple woot!!
The next day I felt all sorts of weird sore spots on my back where I had fallen on various jars, cans and boxes of food. I'm fully recovered now. My wonderful chiropractor put me back together again. I think I had some very mild whiplash from the fall which he fixed. The sore spots all went away after a few days.
Here is a pic of the coffee and juice bars in the new Whole Foods. You can see the lovely polished concrete floor and the spectacular new ceiling. Not a bad thing to be stuck staring at. I've seen much worse in doctors' offices.