In the design and manufacturing of wheelchairs, there is the terminology, “intended use,” meaning the typical ways in which a wheelchair is commonly used and operated. One word, however, that’s not on any intended use outline that I’ve ever seen is, “frolicking” – but, based on what unabashed consumers have shared with me over the years, maybe it should be.

Now, I should clarify that when I use the term “frolicking,” it’s a euphemism for… well… frolicking, if you catch my drift. With this in mind, why both men and women have felt comfortable discussing such a delicate topic with me remains a tad of a mystery? Maybe it’s because folks know I’m a wheelchair user, or maybe it’s because folks feel comfortable with me from reading my writing over the years, knowing me as a friend. But, for whatever reason, folks have no qualms toward asking me whether they can “frolic” in their new wheelchairs.

Interestingly, the approaches people take toward the subject vary from gingerly to blunt. Most ease into the question, inquiring if the seat fully reclines, that the arms completely remove, then ask about the weight capacity, wondering if the wheelchair can support two people? Other consumers skip the chase, simply asking, “Can we do it in my chair, or will the chair break?”

My professional answer is always the same: “I must recommend against exceeding the weight capacity of your wheelchair.”

However, my real answer is, I have no idea whether one can “frolic” in a wheelchair – I’m a middle-aged, long-married man, where the closest I come to “frolicking” in my own wheelchair on a good day is a kiss on the lips from my English bulldog, Rosie.


Author: Mark E. Smith

The literary side of the WheelchairJunkie

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