Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Jo Blogs' Block-O-Wood

22 Feb 2012I have created and just finished uploading a video that I’d like to share with you all….

I’ve come up with what I think is a rather snazzy invention which enables me to get up the gutter outside my office, when I get to work. You see, to continue having the luxury of being able to park right outside my door, I have to park on the road.

At first, I was getting out of my chair, pulling it up the gutter, then, hopping back into it. But it was getting to be a bit of a pain, and not everyone is capable of doing this, so I began thinking about what I could do to make my life easier.

It came to me as an idea, but I wasn’t sure if it would work, so I headed off to my local hardware store to see what I could find. I bought a thin plank of timber, and drilled holes at either end, and put a piece of string through the holes, knotting them at each end, so they don’t come through the other side of the holes. To make it more simple to imagine, picture the string being like a handbag strap, and the plank of wood, the bag part. Got it? If not, you’ll just have to watch the video…

I lay the piece of wood in front of the gutter, on the road side, and it acts as a bit of a lift, making the step less high. The piece of string is so that once I’m up on the gutter; I can easily pick up the wood to put it back in my car, without actually having to get out of my chair.

The first time I tried this, I was a bit nervous, and had to get a co-worker to watch me, to make sure I could firstly get down off the gutter without assistance, by going down backwards, then I had her watch me to make sure I could get up with no problems.

I’ve since learnt that the key is all in the positioning of the wood. If it’s too close to the gutter, the wheels don’t actually touch it, and if it’s too far away, you’re still stuck with the problem of the step being too high. But it takes a bit of time getting used to it.

For about the first week, I had to take a few tries of getting up and people would run from everywhere to come and ‘help’ me, but I had to turn them away, letting them know that I needed the practice (even though some didn’t listen and helped anyway).

So now I’ve got it all down pat and can do it in the first go, which you can see in the clip. I’ve always wanted to buy a portable ramp to help me up small steps or gutters, but most of them are made out of heavy steel, and are very expensive, so I think this is a great and cheap (at 60c for the wood!) alternative to what’s available on the market. I definitely recommend giving it a go! But, please be careful, and maybe have someone with you for the first couple of tries.

I’m always trying to come up with helpful wheelchair tips, and am interested in anyone else’s, so if you’ve got any, please share them, I’d love to hear/see them! I really hope you enjoy watching my invention and it ends up making your life a little easier too. To watch it on YouTube, click here: http://youtu.be/RJzd4-f6tyI


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