A compromise for me:
I also live in a small village, up a muddy lane and face the same multiple issues: off-roading wheelchair/scooter/powerchair, indoor outdoor and town and country.
I also have SPMS C3 C4 damage with left-side weakness. I’m not going to get better!
So I thought going forward it might be better to have a full assessment with NHS Wheelchair Services and get some advice and be properly measured. All NHS chairs are made-to-measure. This is important. Think about repetitive strain issues, and safety controlling the chair on a hill, or going up and down curbs etc.,.
It’s actually really hard. I weigh 70kgs - so having the strength to control 70kgs on wheels on a slope at the hospital was dangerous for me. I caught my fingers in the spokes of the wheels trying to slow the chair. Ouch!!
So I had a trip to NHS Wheelchair Services 5 months ago now, and last week my new chairs arrived - on an NHS prescription - a manual chair and a neuro powerchair designed for folk with MS and neuro diseases:
Invacare Action 3NG with two sets of wheels which pop off. This chairs folds and goes into the car easily. I need someone to push me however.
Also a super powerchair Quickie salsa mini 2, which turns on a six-pence - so great for narrow door ways and corridors at home or out and about. It is tank like with mid-wheel drive - so 6 wheels.
The NHS put heavy duty solid tyres on it, so it is good on the grass, for going up and down my muddy lane, and bringing me home from the village shop.
I will have this powerchair for 5 years. It will remain the property of the NHS and is issued free - “on loan, for my use only” and will be maintained by NHS Wheelchair Services. I am so grateful. Thank you NHS!
My local bough council fitted a ramp to the back door, so I have access to the garden, but
I had to buy ramps for putting it in to the car - this powerchair is 113kgs and its back folds down and the foot plate folds up. So it will fit into the boot of a medium sized hatchback car.
But I need help to do this. The ramps are about 8kgs each - there are two of them called ‘Smart Ramps’. I bought mine used for £60. And you need to fit the ramps in to the car and strap down the powerchair by the four restrain ‘tie down’ points. I bought the tie downs myself.
So, it’s now possible for me to go along official country paths - the local National Trust ones - which are maintained - are fine for this powerchair. It’s also super for at home and the shops because it is narrow and easy to turn. It goes 6mph and does about 32km. I’m happy.
So, a compromise for me: I know I will get even weaker - I need to stick to the pathways - but I can enjoy the fresh air and country views. I don’t need to be pushed, but I do need help getting this machine into and out of the car if I want to go outside the village. I could however take this powerchair on a bus/train - but the buses are only one an hour.
There are no street lights in my village, so I’m going to buy some high viz extras, and some lights so I’m ready for winter.
That’s my experience.