Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges

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The latest adventure

In a series of bizarre events, the helpers who work for Ericka and who also are able to drive are all no longer working for her. This is a very undesirable set of events as it leaves Ericka even more dependant upon me and my wacky schedule if she wants to get out of the house for simple things like getting her hair cut or going to the library or whatever.

So Ericka decided that it was time that she learn to drive her van.

Now, back when we got the van, this was intended. There's a tie-down for her powered wheelchair in the driver's position and the driver's seat can be fairly easily removed to make room for her.

Shortly after we got the van, however, she broke her arm during a trip to Florida. Since then, she's been a bit phobic about traveling in the van and operating it herself was out of the question.

Today (Tuesday) however, she decided that she'd make a first step. I'd removed the driver's seat last week and it being a nice day, she thought she'd get in, go back and forth in the driveway a bit and kind of get a feel for things.

Well, she did very well going in reverse. When she put the van in drive, however, she crept nicely forward back up the driveway. Then she started going, unintentionally, into the garage. And kept going. And leaned on the hand controls to stop. And kept going.

And finally threw the van into park to bring herself to a stop. Not before clipping the passenger side mirror, pushing around and crushing some stuff in the garage and generally causing herself anguish.

She is fine, apart from some aches from the jolt of stopping suddenly, her helper who was in the van with her at the time is fine. The van has suffered minor injuries and the garage had a bit of trim broken and some stuff broken. The hook upon which my bicycle was hanging came out of the ceiling but the bike does not appear to have suffered any great damage.

After getting Ericka calmed down and out of the van (a process in itself as her chair appears to have contracted some sort of problem preventing it from moving under its own power), I let her know that what we learned from this experiment was not "Ericka should not drive," (which was her initial conclusion) but that the hand controls for operating the accelerator and brake were in the wrong position for her. (They are set for someone who would be in the driver's seat and when Ericka is in that position in her wheelchair, she sits much higher.)

So, apart from a little adrenaline overload and some bumps and aches, Ericka is fine and safe. We'll be talking to the various insurance companies to see who covers what parts of things in order to get repairs made. And then we'll see about maybe getting Ericka off to a nice, big parking lot or field somewhere for her next practice session.

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