How I looked for the ‘Goldilocks chair’ that would suit my ALS
The trials of shopping in a furniture store to find the seat that's just right
Imagine this: A 71-year-old ALS patient riding a mobility scooter visits her local furniture store. I mean, what can go wrong?
Well, a whole heck of a lot can go wrong, at least according to all the worst-case scenarios that flooded my mind. From the comical to the complete disasters, I conjured bizarre situations, such as a 911 team freeing me from a beanbag chair. Or my scooter running amuck and bumping into people, displays, and glass objects that break.
Why all the imaginary scenarios? The simple reason is that my husband and I decided to finally replace the recliner chairs we sat in while watching TV in the evenings. The chairs, nearing their 15-year mark, had inner springs that had sprung and padding that was no longer padded.
But the last time I visited a furniture store was in my pre-ALS days. Now whenever I venture out, I worry about potential dangers and my ability to navigate them. Even in everyday situations. For many of us who live with ALS, the built-up anxiety can keep us at home, missing out on social interactions and fun experiences.
Spoiler alert: Nothing out of the ordinary happened. My trip to the furniture store turned into quite a pleasant adventure.
The store had convenient parking, an automatic door, wide aisles, and a friendly, understanding salesperson. It was a shining example of accessibility in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
My Goldilocks moment
And yes, I sat in what seemed like a gazillion easy chairs before I found just the right one.
However, by the time I tested my third chair, I knew I had to invent a better system. My scooter was convenient in traversing the store, so I had little trouble when the chairs the salesperson wanted to show us were on opposite sides of the place. But when I pulled up next to the chair, I hit trouble. It was difficult for me to do a stand-pivot-sit maneuver. Suddenly an a-ha idea hit me and I asked my husband to bring in the extra rollator we always carry in our van.
My new, easier method was to scooter over to a chair, swivel the scooter seat to face the rollator, stand up using it, use it more to walk a few steps toward the chair, then pivot and sit. Since I use a rollator, not a scooter, inside our home, this strategy imitated my real-life actions. Plus, it boosted my confidence, knowing that the store’s other customers were noticing my earlier struggles.
What about the chairs? We found what we needed and bought two. Even though — due to the new consumer world we live in nowadays — we have to wait three months before they’re delivered, I don’t mind. The whole adventure was confirming and worth the effort.
During the drive home, I reflected on the whole experience and thought about how my daily practices had paid off. I was grateful for all the sit-to-stand exercises I performed, my humming, breath work, and practice of speaking skills, and finally, showing up, embracing my ALS, and not worrying about what other people think of me.
As I always say, it’s all part of learning to live well while living with ALS.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.
Great positive story. Your writing is always encouraging! Thank you
Thank you for the compliment!
That was a great story about your chair outing. One has to constantly accept each situation you are in, adapt as much as possible, and then move on. I did the same thing in my PWC a year ago, shopping for a chair to sleep in and to treat my lymphedema.
Each time you face a fear of the unfamiliar, it then becomes a familiar situation you no longer have to fear. Over the last 2 years I have visited many nursing homes and have stayed in 3 of them to give Linda respite time. I learned a lot from that experience so I now know that I can adapt and move on if I need that level of care. One stay was for a week, but I only stayed 23 hours because I did not feel safe with the nursing care! I have crossed them off the list. It is very freeing to face your fears!
Love your columns, website, and calming responses to the members of our community. Kudos to you!
Hello Len, thank you for your kind words and for sharing a few of your own tips. You are so right about us having to face our fears.
Best wishes to you. Dagmar