I just made my mother cry. Oops. It wasn't deliberate, I promise, and they were happy tears - but here's why. We spent today at the wheelchair clinic in Kentish Town - and when I say 'today' I mean all day. From twelve 'til four I did nothing but get in and out of my chair, but it was more than worth it, because I now have a new seating system.
The one before was pretty standard, I guess, although to anyone not immersed in this world of ours it might not appear to be so. The seat consisted of gel pads which were built upon a firm base and then covered. This was all well and good - except that gel has a tendency to retain a certain shape so, if you're not sitting well you stay stuck in that bad position, which isn't helpful.
The new seat, on the other hand (and it is new, as it has only just been released onto the market), is based in memory foam. This means it bounces back (literally) into its original form every time I get out of it or move around. Plus point number one. Plus point number two: underneath the memory foam rest several bespoke wedges, fashioned out of another type of foam, to be positioned individually to provide the maximum possible support or correction in whichever area this is most needed. In my case, for instance, I have a huge amount of pelvic obliquity (which basically means my pelvis tilts in a funny way) so I got a wedge put under the right side of my bum to combat this.
What was amazing, though, is how little correction and adjustment was needed for me still to feel comfortable (and more so) whilst sitting in a much better position. This showed me something that I must admit I've known all along - that my bad posture is largely a habit - and it was heartwarming. You see, if I can sit well in spite of a supposedly fixed spinal curvature, that spinal curvature is...well, quite simply, it isn't so fixed. The same goes for my new backrest - because I can tolerate the new lateral supports and the straightening they're doing. I shouldn't be able to...but I can.
Which brings me to why I made my Mama cry. Thanks to this difference in support, my right foot is more grounded than it has been in years - because my pelvis is slowly derotatating - and so I'm even more relaxed. My right foot is ostensibly my better foot, too, so I need it to be well grounded if it is to support my slightly weaker left. This has made us notice a marked difference in my (already good) standing transfers, even in these few short hours - but what neither of us expected was the change it would provoke in my walking.
When I stood up this afternoon, my knees were properly in alignment - something we hadn't thought we'd see again - so it means my left hip must be back in place. Cue tears. Cue awesomeness.