Back on the Beach

James Wood

When I got hurt at work, one of the first things that hit me was that I would not be able to do some of the things I used to do.
Having to use a wheelchair means that I just can’t physically get to some places.

One of these places is the beach. Sand and wheelchairs don’t go well together, so I had resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably never be able to get back on the sand.

But a little while back, I had the opportunity to purchase a Magic Mobility Extreme X8 off-road power chair.

After I got it home I used it a few times, around the yard, up to the local park, I took the dog for a walk occasionally, but I never really took it “Out”.

I’ll admit I was a little embarrassed to be using a power chair. I mean I’ve pushed my own wheelchair for over 30 years, a power chair is only for people who can’t push their own chair right?

Last weekend my daughter went to the beach with her friend for the weekend. The adults they were going with said “Why don’t you come down for the day?”

Normally I would have said “No I don’t do the beach” but instead I said “Okay.”

Vanessa helped me to load “Camo” into the back of my ute and we headed down to Inverloch beach, unloaded the chair and I hopped in. I was tentative at first, as I had never been in a busy public place in a chair that I didn’t have to push myself.

I got down onto the sand and made my way towards where our group had set up a spot. I was surprised how easily the power chair coped with the sand.

Once I got to our spot, I just sat in the one place and took it all in. I watched the kids play, the other beach users, seagulls, boats and jet skis passing. All things I had never seen from the shoreline and usually just observed from the car park or from a path high above the beach.

But then I decided I was going to see how far I could get in my new “Freedom” machine. So I set off up the beach on my own. I met up with Vanessa who had been for a walk with the kids and we decided we would continue up the beach for a while.

Okay, this is going to be hard to put into words, but I had the most amazing time on the beach that day that I’ve had since I got hurt. I was on the sand, metres away from the water, seeing, smelling and feeling things that I thought I never would again.

We walked past a rock formation that had been carved by thousands of years of tides and water. I was awestruck by how amazing it looked up close and in real life. I could hear waves crashing in the surf.

I guess the reason I’m sharing this is that I have just experienced something that was removed from my life after I got hurt. Some of you may take for granted a walk on the beach, in the bush or climbing a hill but when you can’t do some of these things as a result of injury and then for some reason you get to experience it again…….

It makes you realise just how much you missed it!

Stay Safe Australia.

beach, james wood, magic mobility extreme x8, offroadpower, staysafe, wheelchair
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