• Sue Lamoree

Wheelchair Handling 102

Twelve years ago this November, Guy and I were enjoying our honeymoon in Cannon Beach. It’s an amazingly beautiful place. During the trip, however, I discovered a few limitations beyond my inability to walk. Apparently my wheelchair was not designed for all-terrain purposes.

The packed sandy beach appeared drivable and was far too tempting to avoid, so for several days we explored tidal pools and the abundant marine life. Unfortunately, I developed a false sense of security and couldn’t resist when Guy pointed out a bed of starfish on the other side of a narrow stream.

While attempting to cross the stream, my foot platform dug into the sandy edge of the opposite bank–I was stuck. Guy hurriedly questioned my actions, then pushed the chair while I hit the throttle. I wasn’t going anywhere–and the tide was coming in. Naturally we’d been investigating a nice secluded section of the beach. There was no sign of help in sight. Desperate to save the chair, Guy sat me against a rock and tried again to pull, push or generally manipulate the chair out of the rapidly encroaching saltwater. In the meantime, I was afraid for my life as there were all kinds of creepy looking crustaceans behind me. After several panicked moments, a woman happened by and helped Guy lift the chair to safety. Her parting words were, “you know the Surf shop has a beach wheelchair you can rent.”

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