Sweden Journal #2

had good skiing today and yesterday, was very tiring and cold but great fun. We tried to get a system where I could steer with my shoulders but this hasn’t worked yet. Lots of fast and bumpy runs and watching snowboarders in the snow park.

on the first day we were kitted out with the right equipment,waking up at 615, transferring into the shower chair with a hoistWhich is a bit unstable and not designed to support the upper body like I need. After washing I transfer back into bed, one or two people dress me and I get up into my manual chair again with the hoist. We head down to breakfast around 8 AM which is a feast of sausage bacon eggs cold meats cheese rolls etc.
We get into the van at 830 via a rear access lift, get locked down and then arrive at the slopes 20 minutes later.
After all un loading into the sitski school cabin we meet our instructors, I have been paired with Simon a young skiing professional.
He selects the right cushioning and skikart and I get loaded in via another hoist. I get tucked up and supported by straps and off we go.
We ski until lunch and then I am back on my manual chair and then continue after lunch until about 330. We get back into wheelchairs and warmup in the cabin before going back to the hotel.
The afternoons and evenings are spent enjoying the leisure facilities, sauna/Jacuzzi etc with everyone helping out and non-standard transferring techniques executed carefully.
This is all accompanied by very good food and drinks.

Today, Wednesday, we will be travelling down to the town afterwards for apres ski drinks.

Sweden Journal #1

I am now in Sweden in the holiday club hotel at the bottom of the Are ski resort. The journey was interesting, everything much easier than I had expected apart from the predicted difficulty with the weight of the wheelchair and negotiating with baggage handlers.
The hotel is great, the ski slopes look great, there is so much to do including swimming/sauna. I still can’t help feeling a little melancholy about not being able to exploit these activities as I used to, especially snowboarding, I miss it so much. Seeing so many people come back after a good day’s ride makes me sombre, I guess I should be grateful that I have had the experiences, that’s why I miss it.
Tomorrow it’s an early trip up the mountain to prepare for riding in the ski kart, not quite the same as riding it, but on the way there. I should imagine I’ll have a few moments of feeling “what the hell am I doing back on the slopes” but then I think I would regret not taking opportunity to confront my yearning and nostalgia.
The cold makes it hard, that’s the only physical difficulty.BMI airline were incredible help.
Love to all and thank you backup trust.

January update

My chair has been fixed, one of the actuators for raising and lowering the chair was not working due to a faulty potentiometer/sensor. This has been broken for the Christmas and New Year’s period which was difficult.

We have been enjoying the snow and it is very beautiful.

Work has started in earnest with the new challenging project to get my teeth into, very exciting. Working on 4G networks (a development called LTE-long-term evolution) which is based on improving the data rates of the cellular communications access networks. A huge project which has been going on for many years and so I’m starting at the bottom.

I have been unable to get out much for walks etc because of the snow recently and when I have I have got stuck quite frequently. The chair is not very comfortable on grass and uneven surfaces even without the snow so I have decided to try to purchase an off road chair sometime soon. The permobil X850 seems to be a good option because the head control will already be available for it (although I think it should work with any penny and Giles controlled chair), I will try to find funding for a second-hand version if I can find one. This will enable me to accompany people on walks and access previously inaccessible places, something I’ve been missing for a while.

If anyone feels like helping me in purchasing this off road chair please let me or dad know: whizz2000@hotmail.com.

Alternatively anonymous donations can be made through the Pavillion trust account, details of which are given below:

Here is PavilionTrust bank account no- 91392654
HSBC Summertown, Oxford, sort code 40-35-35

I am trying to decide whether to take the expensive chair to Sweden, insurance is expensive but might be worth it to avoid having to use a different chair.

… new photos on Flickr account

happy New Year to all