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How My Wheelchair Helps Me in the Kitchen

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I often get asked questions regarding my cerebral palsy, and recently one such question ignited a spark within me and really got me thinking. I’m not really the type of person who has focused on my cerebral palsy because there’s a lot more to me than my disability. I suppose if I’m honest, I’ve never wanted to be known as “the girl with cerebral palsy,” I want to be known as Chelsea. So I’ve never really spoken about it before.

The question was: “Is there an everyday task made more difficult by your condition?”

Despite my cerebral palsy, I’m a very independent individual. I live by myself in my own flat, I can walk short distances using elbow crutches and use a wheelchair for long distances and traveling. But making drinks and meals is the task I find most difficult with my cerebral palsy. For example:

You would like to make yourself a meal and a drink and eat it while watching TV. It’s a task you may not even think twice about doing – you may take it for granted as it’s a fact of life. But it’s different for me.

I remember when I first moved into my flat, my old wheelchair was too big to be used in the house which meant I relied on my crutches. And what a pain it was! Everything took much longer. I’d have to use a stool and sit and eat my food or have a drink of juice at the window ledge, as it was the only place low enough for me to reach comfortably. My flat isn’t fully adapted for my disability. It really frustrated me because I couldn’t watch TV or read or anything while eating or drinking, I’d sit and stare out into the garden day after day at mealtimes.

Earlier last year I decided to purchase a new wheelchair. I never thought four wheels would be so instrumental to improving my life, having previously used elbow crutches mainly all the time. When I lived with my family, I never had to worry about making my own meals, so it never really dawned on me just how time-consuming and sometimes difficult this daily task would be without a wheelchair.

My wheelchair helps me out a lot when making food and drinks because I can easily pour hot contents into crockery without worrying about burning myself. I found this increasingly difficult without my wheelchair. I had to also think about my balance and make sure I wasn’t going to spill anything or consequently burn myself. Because my wheelchair allows me to sit down, I find it easier to open packets and boxes – pasta for instance would often go flying across the kitchen as I’d open the pasta too firmly and the bag would burst.

Having my wheels means that not only are these tasks a lot easier for me, I can get them done a lot quicker than I could before. My wheels have made such a big impact on my life in many ways and have vastly improved my confidence. I think I’d be lost without them now.

Getty image by Didecs.

Originally published: May 8, 2018
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