One of the things I feel us "walkers" take for granted is the freedom to drive. We forget how easy it is to get in and out of a vehicle and how we can do it so quickly. After Ryan got hurt one of the questions was how he would be able to drive again. If you think about it driving is such a blessing. Do you remember when you were younger, before you got your license and having mom and dad drive your butt around. How annoying it was to rely on someone else to get you from point A to point B. For me being a farm kid and living in the country, majority of my friends lived in town, getting my farmers permeant and licenses was the best feeling ever. Now imagine being 26 years old and having the freedom of being able to drive taken away from you. Having to rely on your family or friends to get you around. Not so fun. Driving is a privilege that we take for granted every day.
For Ryan one of the first things he wanted to do after he got hurt was be able to drive again. Ryan did have to retake his drivers test since he would be driving completely with his hands. After doing some research he decided on a lift for his pickup where the drivers seat comes out, lowers down and Ryan transfers on to it and then raises himself back up into his truck. The seat and the tracks it was on took up majority of the back seat and the chair itself was not able to adjust and became pretty uncomfortable. Ryan knew eventually he would want something different. Fortunately for Ryan after his truck was totaled because of my accident, he purchased a new vehicle and decided on a different style lift. He currently now has a box under the driver seat that has a lift. He uses a remote to open the box and out pops a bench. The bench raises up and he transfers onto the bench and then raises himself up to the drivers seat and slides over on to it. Ryan has hand controls under the steering wheel that are connected to the break and accelerator that allow him to drive his truck, and also a steering knob on the steering wheel. For the most part Ryan has his wheelchair in the tailgate and usually someone is around to pull it out for him at work. Otherwise if he goes someplace by himself he is able to take his wheelchair apart and place it behind him in the truck. The lift he currently has tends to have issues when it gets really cold out or really hot out and stops working. If that happens he has to pull himself up into his truck, not the easiest thing to do and is hard on his shoulders, but he gets it done. When Ryan purchases his next vehicle we are looking at a different style lift.
We are also hoping to one day purchase a lift that gets mounted on the flat bed of a truck for farm purposes. This type of lift will actually take Ryan from his truck and raise him directly up into the tractor . Whatever it may be when it comes to making things accessible for Ryan it doesn't come with out an expensive price tag, but the cost outweighs the expense when it gives Ryan the freedom to do things on his own. Here is a video of Ryan getting in his truck. For us Minnesotans in the dead of winter his lift feels like it takes FOREVER to get back down! We hope all of you had an enjoyable weekend!