I was always very skinny growing up. And to this day I have never been a very heavy person. Perhaps because of this, my parents transferred me manually to and from my wheelchair for many years. This means they have done a lot of lifting over the 22 years of my life. Luckily, my parents have always been strong and fit. This has meant they have rarely injured themselves when lifting me. Nevertheless, there always existed the risk of serious injury. Naturally it was in everyone's best interests to look towards minimising this risk.
My portable hoist
My occupational therapist informed us an electronic hoist was the only real option for me to avoid being carried. I was about 15 years old at the time. An electronic hoist was foreign to my family and me at the time. The portable hoist and sling set we received initially confused us. It was a big learning curve for all of us as our whole routine needed to be changed.
I quickly became frustrated by the amount of time it took for me to transfer to and from my electric wheelchair. The extra few minutes required may seem trivial to most people, but for me they added up. My parents were also frustrated by the inconvenience of needing to charge the battery every night. It was also difficult to find a place to store the bulky piece of equipment when it was not being used.
I decided to try and lose some weight so my parents could carry me again. This meant it would no longer be necessary for us to use the portable hoist. This decision went against all advice, and was considered dangerous by occupational therapists and physiotherapists. It was also dangerous to my health, as I was not eating enough food.
I finally realised I was far too underweight when I started university at the age of 18. I then made a commitment to consume more calories in order to sit within a much healthier weight range. My exercise and diet regime involved the use of dumbbells and the consumption of lots of milk. When I gained muscle mass, my energy levels lifted. Unfortunately though, it was again very unsafe for my parents to lift me as I was a lot heavier.
Finding a solution
We did not want to go back to using my portable hoist and I did not want to go back to being unhealthy and underweight. A new solution was needed.
It was decided a ceiling hoist would be ideal. Its benefits lie in the fact it is always connected to a charger. We also do not have to worry about where to store it as it sits attached to the ceiling. Ceiling hoists also often raise and lower their cargo (that means me) faster than their portable counterparts, which makes a big difference when I am inevitably late for appointments. Perhaps most importantly, both my parents and I are no longer risking our health now that I am using a hoist again.