As I mentioned in my last (AWOL-idays) post, my beloved car of 7.5 years started to keel over this year and I had to part with him in March. Parting with my lovely Logan (named from the letters on his numberplate) was strangely difficult. The first automatic gearbox car that I had to buy (and sell my manual First Car to do so) was difficult. I had not come to terms with my health changes back then as it was during the long pre-diagnosis, chronic confusion stage, so I almost resented that car. But the car after that was Logan, and buying him was a choice, which makes all the difference.
He was, no he is: I was informed that Golfs don’t go for scrap where I traded him in because there’s always a market for them so, fingers crossed, he’s still out there somewhere. Anyway he is a black V reg VW Golf, so the boot was (no is) big enough for my wheelchair and he was (ohhh I give up!) not a bad looking dude. (A Mark 4, in case you’re wondering 😉 ). The bonus was that he was a 2.3 V5 engine so he had some very enjoyable ‘oomph’ too! *sigh* He was the main man in my life before I met Magic Dude, which sounds nuts, but you know… independence counts for a lot, me ‘n’ that car – we went places!
Magic Dude and I got a replacement car, of course. Not another Golf because even second-hand we just don’t have the funds.The new wheels is a Vauxhall Astra. The boot is big enough, he looks pretty smart, the engine is big enough (coz let’s face it, there’s less weight to move around than there is with an old VW) and the bonus is that he uses less petrol which is a relief for the wallet. I’m just not attached to ‘Krull’ yet, but time will sort that out! And, well, y’know, I miss Logan! 😉
I have to say though… what a nightmare it is shopping for cars when there are health issues and restrictions!
All sorts of issues and problems along the way which were mostly expected e.g. more pain from bits of activity here and there at different garages instead of my usual length of paced activity, more pain from the amount of sitting as a passenger being driven to and from different garages, plus the brain loss from the required increased thinking and discussion, and the headrest induced migraine issues which I have to work around in looking at potential cars, but the two new things I learnt were…
a) never guesstimate boot size, some of them have TARDIS properties and the wheelchair can fit in when it really didn’t look like it would from the outside.
b) I can never ever own a certain-make-of-car (not sure whether I can mention which one!) because their headrests are really hilariously stupid and I would have a permanent migraine as a result (I started getting a migraine just minutes into the test-drive of a, er, car of that make, the headrests are that bad for my neck)!
Here I am in the old Golf. The headrest does lean forwards a bit but it somehow worked well enough to be able to rest my head back. Plus the headrest could be tipped backwards and forwards to suit. I still used a soft cushion to support the neck vertebrae during longer journeys (damaged in a whiplash injury which caused the onset of my migraines), but it was viable.
We had found one of the certain-make-of-car which was ideal for our needs and had very low mileage. So to try to figure out if we could make the headrests viable I bought some from a car junkyard and took them apart to see if they could be reshaped without the mega-lump and re-covered without losing the safety aspects. The answer to that route of questioning was a resounding no. Here’s a pic’ of the other headrests in the Golf car seat before I took them to the dump to dispose of them! (And nope, they are no better when attached to the appropriate seats). They basically push my lower neck vertebrae forward so that I can’t lean back in the chair and have my head up straight.
I mean, really?
And nope, different heights helped in no way at all. The front has a massive lump that sticks out far ahead of the seat itself, who sits like that? You’d have to be a mega-sloucher to do so. We even tried turning the headrest the other way round because it was the only way I could survive the test-drive. I had to tense up a lot as the headrest slopes away backwards when it’s the wrong way round so the choice was to stare at my legs and get an instant migraine or to sit forward / turn the headrest round and support my own head on my faulty neck.
Here’s a sideview of the headrest. I mean, whaaa?
But I had a good think about it and figured that it was probably to suit these guys…