Archive for July, 2010

Technical Aids Tips and Tricks XIV

Monday, July 26th, 2010


Because of the paralysis of my legs the muscles of my thighs are flagged in such a way, i.e. flat, that they meanwhile form a quite acceptable transport table. The biggest difficulty is just to convince the legs not to drift outside when they are used as deposit for e.g. a bottle of non-alcoholic beer. The dropping rate is considerable. I am not alone with this kind of issue.
Many wheelchair drivers build a rather symbiotic relationship with their knee tray.
I have already seen a self-constructed knee tray coated with green felt, with which at night probably a game of poker is played for the small pension.
So far so good!

At the Swedes with the big yellow and blue shopping bags I have discovered an excellent

knee tray type BRĂ„DA (new name BYLLAN).

Officially it is a laptop knee table with mobile phone pocket on the side.

The shape nestles ergonomically against my

six-bake belly.

A non-slip reel has to be put on it still!
Safety instruction:
The BRĂ„DA (new name BYLLAN) is not a medical device.
No liability is assumed for falling parts.
It doesn’t have a medical device number and can’t be prescribed by the doctor. The immense acquisition costs of 14,95 € have to be completely borne by the patient and are not tax-deductible.

Translator BL

Technical Aids Tips and Tricks XIII

Friday, July 23rd, 2010


At some time somebody told me something about his

car wheelchair

I have to admit that I haven’t understood at that time why you need a special wheelchair for driving a car.
Actually it is very simple, it is all about the

Wheelchair Loading System (see older blogpost)

In the meantime, I have such a system. The wheelchair is folded, docked to the loading system, tilted by 90° upwards and then pulled behind the driver’s door.
In order to make this possible, the wheelchair should not be too long, because otherwise

it would not fit through the car door any more.

I was lucky, my wheelchair is quite short with its roundabout 85 cm length. It just fits into my

dove-shit-grey-metallic-coloured car from RĂĽsselsheim.

(translator’s note: In RĂĽsselsheim is the German head office of Opel)


Rehabilitation fairs

the loading of wheelchairs looks always so simple at the exhibitors and operates error-free.
The demonstration car is never standing at a hillside, a curb, a busy street or on cobble stone.
Have a closer look at this picture:

The footrests

were removed so that the wheelchair would fit into the car.

Have fun when you are levitating out of the car and remove and attach the footrests all the time. Where to put these things?

I doubt that even the employer’s liability insurance sponsors in addition to in- and outdoor, sport, standing and beach wheelchairs, a car wheelchair as well.

Translator BL

Wheelchair Petrol Station

Monday, July 19th, 2010


As you probably have noticed I am sometimes almost a professional complainer. One forgets to mention positively when lifts are available, curbs are lowered, or if someone really thought ahead.
Everyone can imagine that it is extremely inconvenient when you as a wheelchair driver are alone in your car, you lack of petrol and need to refuel.
The big company with the

Yellow Shell

has nicely enough re-established since a couple of years the

classic petrol station attendant

Fuel, air, water, oil and payment are “going” without saying. It is always quite funny when I roll to the station without car and want to get the air pressure of my wheelchair tyres checked.

The petrol company with the

“five legged, water shooting, black dog”

is offering a special

wheelchair service!

Sticker text: “We help – please honk!”

Here you can enjoy honking.

An error has crept into the picture, the chips cost 1,42 €.

Translator BL

50 cc Motor Wheelchair: Simson DUO 4/1

Friday, July 16th, 2010


Before my accident 2001 my hobby was the restoration of old mopeds of the former GDR (German Democratic Republic).

Amongst other things I still own a hand throttle operated

Handicap vehicle type:

Simson/Brandis Duo 4/1, year of construction 1982.

I have rebuilt the DUO a “bit” to West German standard.
The vehicle has a 50 cc engine and makes officially 50 km/h.

As you can see there are no pedals. Gears are changed with the left arm without clutch, with the right arm the handle bar is pushed for gas, and when brake is needed the whole handle bar is pushed forward.

With the Duo I drove after almost 4 years of restoration (1024 working hours) with my wife to the town hall in Frankfurt to get married.

I am still hoping that my strength and upper body stability will increase some time in that way that I can take a ride again.

If somebody needs technical support with Simson mopeds or spare parts, I still have around 600 kg.

Officially the DUO is a vehicle for handicapped .

Translator BL

Crazy Flash V

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010


The most odd stories happen to us wheelers.
Here is a great story from… let’s call her Maria:

Yesterday at the groceries:

In our shopping center there is a big supermarket,
nice staff, very helpful.
Regularly trainees at the counter who are asking
if they may pack your groceries.

I am rolling through the cashier with a

big water melon

(I could live on these tasty things, yummy!)
and a


I pay, everything alright.

Then the question of the ca. 18-year-old trainee:

“Are you OK, or shall I pop it in for you?”

I am looking at the melon and the zucchini and alternately at him…
…laughed myself into stitches… and answer:

“Neither one nor the other, thanks.”

But you may pack the melon and the zucchini into the net behind my back.

With such friendly staff you are happy to come back!

Translator BL

Technical Aids Tips und Tricks XII

Monday, July 12th, 2010


I have mentioned already several times that I am again an

active car driver.

I have already introduced the wheelchair loading system of my car, but I have completely disregarded all the special modifications inside the car.

To begin with, basically driving a car is very, very simple, if you only have obtained your wheelchair car driving licence.
(see older blogpost).

The wheelchair is placed on the side of the driver’s door of the car and one glides from the wheelchair with the help of a

foldaway slide board

across the gap called door sill to the driver’s seat. The door sills are getting wider and wider due to the side-collision protection. It facilitates the process if the driver’s door has been opened completely before.

Then as reported 2x click-clack (see older blogpost) and the wheelchair is loaded behind the driver’s seat with the wheelchair loading system!
(Well, at least roughly, if the agency for technical relief or the fire department are nearby to help.)

There are the most different

hand throttle systems,

depending on the needs of the driver. Usually the car has an automatic gearbox. A relatively common equipment is that you have a transmission mechanic near the thigh with which the foot pedals are pressed with arm and hand.
In my case it is working like this that for accelerating a perceived

door handle (hand throttle)

is pushed downwards, and for breaking the complete construction is pushed forward. This is quite fun if the “sport button” is pushed, you have 140 horsepower beneath the butt and you just have to bend your hand. This happens approximately once in 6 weeks because afterwards my butt is always hurting.

The small black switch

is pure luxury. With it you can blink, honk, activate the windscreen wipers and turn on the emergency flasher. With the second switch you can turn up the headlights. The button on the left is the fixing brake. Light and rain sensor go without saying.
For steering I am using a

steering fork,

It is comparable to a tuning fork in which I can lay my hands, and I turn the steering wheel with my arm, because I can’t grab a turning knob which is known from a tractor (see first picture above). Instead I would still be allowed to drive a tractor with hand throttle (see blogpost wheelchair driving licence).What a joke.

The modification of the hand brake

reminds a little of modern art, but works when needed. Good that my car has a “P” (parking) position.
In front of the pedals there is a removable plate mounted so that nothing happens if my body decides to kick with the legs what actually happens from time to time.

• A set of harness belts is a must due to my missing abdominal muscles.

• I have set a speed control button next to the hand throttle.

• An air condition is not bad if one can’t sweat any more.

• A remote-controlled park heating should be installed as well,
because scraping ice in the winter is quite difficult for a wheelchair driver.

In spite of these modifications any pedestrian can drive the car as well if he removes the safety plate from the pedals.

Thus the value of a boring Astra increases suddenly, and nobody notices it, if you are not “posing” with your wheelchair loading system.
A small lottery winning does not harm to help financing the car.

Translator BL

Wheelchair Tuning Part XII

Friday, July 9th, 2010


When you like me don’t belong to the desirable society of occupational accidents* it should be well-considered which special equipment is chosen in addition to the health insurance wheelchair and has to be paid by oneself of course.
The hospital wheelchair which I was using then was a new special edition and was very good to drive.
I applied for this model in a slightly slimmed-down version and got it approved.

The aluminum steering wheels were a must, aren’t they cool?

The steering wheels have hard rubber tyres and are slim.
The tyres were great in the hospital. Really smooth, such a corridor.

For someone like me who wasn’t able to move anyway and can’t ride on the rear tyres these wheels were

like hell out in the wild.

At the smallest joint, hole or best cobble stone the wheelchair abruptly stopped. I didn’t like that at all that I was sometimes faster than my wheelchair. Additionally the bearings have conked out after 6 months even though I rarely left my flat.

I changed from hard and slim 4 inch (10,16 cm) wheels to soft and broader

5 inch (12,70 cm) steering wheels.

Now even I can go to the old town to drink a coke.

Unfortunately I have to see something like this consistently!

Get a prescription for repair from your physician, and the medical supply store “should” take care about the exchange.
You don’t drive your car with bald tyres either.

* Expenses covered by employer’s accident insurance
The employer’s accident insurance pays almost everything, e.g. a carport so that you can reach the house dry-shoed from the partially sponsored car over the new ramp to levitate like a little angel through your staircase with a wheelchair suspension track.

Great society, I’ll join in!

Translator BL

Technical Aids Tips and Tricks XI

Thursday, July 8th, 2010


Many wheelchair drivers with a spinal cord injury are only able to sweat a little bit, or not at all anymore. This sounds rather nice for one moment.
No wet clothes any more, garlic as much as you like, and the deodorant stick dries from non-using in the bathroom cabinet. I also belong to the tribe of the

Antiperspirantians (Non-sweaters).

There is just one hitch:
If it is more than 25° C and I am physically active, or just standing around meaningless in the sun, my body temperature rises constantly.
From 40° C my body decides to leave the wheelchair with a floor transfer.
To counteract this we arm ourselves with a customary

water sprayer for flowers.

I was absolutely convinced that each wheelchair driver concerned would know this, thus I had never mentioned it before, but unfortunately this is not the case!

At the last World Cup pedestrians have constantly borrowed my

thermo sprayer.

It was possibly due to the fact that we covered the roof and the sides of the roofing with black plastic sheets in order to better see the beamer picture.
There were perceived 80° C, but maximum 58°C!
If you have a belt out of Velcro tape you can fix the sprayer to it.

Such a water sprayer is great, but I am warning it’s highly addictive!

Addendum, an ingenious aid: Click on tag “cooling vest and cooling cap“

Translator BL

Crazy Flash IV

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010


Die derzeitige miserable schlechte Wirtschaftslage zwingt Städte und Kommunen neue Wege zu beschreiten.
Die Kassen sind leer.
Alle neu eingestellten Mitarbeiter der Berufsfeuerwehr mĂĽssen jetzt ihre


in Heimarbeit selbst anfertigen.
Das THW hat ähnliche Schwierigkeiten.

Hier Modell “Frankfurt” mit Wegfahrsperre.
An der Feuerbeständigkeit wird noch gearbeitet.

Simply Great! Part II

Monday, July 5th, 2010


Until my accident I was working as service technician at Frankfurt Airport for a widely known broom yellow logistician.
The building is one of the largest at the airport with a great view onto the airfield.
In the topmost floor there is a big room,

The Sky Lounge

in which management meetings, press conferences,… are held.
I have been once a year in this room just to inspect a ladder.

On 24.06.2010 I received in the Sky Lounge an official


At this point many thanks again to the initiators of this event.
I still can’t believe what happened there.

I know, I am lagging behind for a few days with this blogpost, but I needed some time to let it sink in.

Translator BL

Simply Great! Part I

Sunday, July 4th, 2010


As already reported in blogpost Eigude Shame VII , the

“mirror socks” on my car

were stolen before the match Germany vs. England (4:1), and the German flag was broken off. An old friend of mine has fixed together with his girlfriend in a conspirative underground mission new

World Cup mirror socks

to my car.
Great mission. Thanks again to both of you!
Probably my mate now has his upper body full of welts like a galley slave as I was forced due to lack of parking space to park very, very close to a hedge. Such a guy from German disaster relief can’t be stopped by anything.

Everything just in time before the friendly match against Argentina.

Germany – Argentina 4:0

God is no Argentinian after all.
Bye-bye Maradonna, have a good flight, handballer!

Semi-final, go Germany…
(Behind me is not my mentioned mate).

Translator BL

Crazy Flash III

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

Eigude Shame VI – Addendum

Thursday, July 1st, 2010


As described in my blogpost Eigude Shame VI (see older blogpost) it was then impossible to worm out of a

bottle of grease

the grease for my hand cycle chain because the hole was way too small. After extensive correspondence with the supplier I was sent a

bottle of oil

free of charge. The resemblance with the

bottle of grease

is misleading. I can’t imagine that such a renowned German company sells grease and oil in the same packaging. Probably it is a manufacturing error.
I still don’t know how I can get the grease out of the bottle, but instead I can now start looking for a

collection point for hazardous material

for the bottle of grease.
This could be the destination of my next hand cycle tour .

This stuff is really

hazardous material.

I should have been informed better upfront!

Translator BL