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Why Bother Using a Cart?
This is a question I asked myself often when I was young and impatient. It seemed faster and easier to carry things myself, even if it did involve a little more pain. In most “official literature” on EDS coming from the medical community, it is said that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is not a progressive disease, but those of us who live with the condition certainly don’t agree.
The degeneration of our joints may not be rapid, but decline we do and this decline picks up speed as we age. How could it not? Our faulty collagen equals a lot of injuries and after our joints are injured, they’re never quite the same. Many of us have severe issues with degenerative disc disease and one or two joints that forever plague us with constant dislocations. Many of us end up having multiple joint replacements and other joint related surgeries in our lifetimes. This isn’t me whining, this is simply the life we live.
There are many things one can do to try to avoid accumulating the damage in the first place, but of course one must first know there is a problem, and many of us aren’t even diagnosed until we’re well into our adult lives, so we’ve already pushed ourselves well beyond the limits of what any ultra bendy body should ever take.
Lucky for us, it’s never too late to change our ways and try to preserve what we have left.
All we could find was another 2nd floor apartment when our current complex was bought out and we have to give up our washer and dryer to move there as well. I decided it’s time to invest in a good rolling basket cart with wheels to help avoid injury and wear on my already problematic joints, and I need one that will make it easier to navigate the stairs. We have a cart, but it’s flat bed style, very narrow and only has two wheels, making it very unwieldy on stairs. I’ll be carrying at least 2-3 loads of laundry a week down to the first floor of our apartment building so it will save me a lot of heavy lifting. It will also come in handy for those rare trips to the grocery store (my husband’s been doing more and more), mad buying at half price books clearance sales or whatever else I decide I must have in bulk (it happens, what can I say).
My husband already overtaxes his spondylolithesis more than he should at work. It will also come in handy for him, assuming I can get the big lug to admit he actually needs it. These things can be harder for men. As a woman who always prided herself on proving to be anything but the ‘weaker of the species,’ it took me a long time to give it up, myself. I understand that drive. We all want to be seen as strong and self-sufficient.
Having a great cart makes the decision to use one a lot easier. I mean, isn’t it disappointing to finally give in and use a mobility device (even something as simple of a cart that we don’t even look at that way), only to find out it doesn’t really do the things we need it to do most? That’s how I felt about every cart I had before this one.
Carts were always great if I lived in a house or managed to snag a first floor apartment, or lived in a building with an elevator, but carts become a real inconvenience when it comes to stairs; even just 2 or 3. Your stuff is more likely to end up splayed across the steps as it is to make it safely to the next landing. It all has to do with the wheels.
The Perfect Cart
The cart I purchased moves like a dream on the stairs because it’s tri-wheel design climbs with you, instead of working against you like traditional wheels. My cart has come in very handy during our move. We only have 10 steps to get to our landing in our current apartment, but I’ve fallen down them or tripped up them more times than I can count in the last 5 years, usually with my arms full. I really need a hand to steady myself on the railing and because my proprioception is so poor, I need to be able to see my feet. A stair climbing cart gives me the freedom to do all that. It’s a bit of a walk from our rear apartment to our car in the parking lot as well, so it really saves my back and upper body from too much strain, as well.
There are a lot of stair climbing carts on the market right now and I felt a bit confused when trying to pick one out because many of them look the same, but when you begin reading the descriptions, you realize they aren’t. I wanted to make sure the cart I chose got great genuine reviews that included what was important to me; that it be sturdy, able to carry a lot, foldable for easy storage, and could easily climb stairs. This is what I chose:
I was so pleased when it arrived and I got it put together to find that it met all the great things reviewers had to say about it, including how easy it was to put together! It took less than 10 minutes. The cart is very sturdy and given the design, it feels more stable both on stairs and the on the ground, because there’s always at least four wheels in contact with something at all times, even when you’re popping a wheelie or going up the stairs. The handle is at the perfect height, has a good grip and I can lean on it some for support. It has great holding capacity at 177 lbs and its basket is easily big enough to hold a load of laundry, with a second in a bag or basket on top, so it’s very convenient.
If the cart has any drawbacks, it might be the flimsy bag, though it suits the purpose of lining the cart just fine. It also has carrying handles so it can be used alone. As you can see in the pictures I’ve taken the bag is more of a purple color than blue. It’s made from your basic reusable grocery bag type material and comes with velcro straps you can use to secure it to the cart.
Given it’s design and good construction, I have no doubt this cart will serve me well for years and help keep my back, shoulders and other problematic joints in better condition. I would definitely recommend this cart for anyone who needs to avoid lifting, such as people with conditions like arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions like lupus and fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, back injuries, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis and really just for the average person who wants to make their life and old age a little easier. It’s been a great help to have in my home so far! What products do you recommend that help take the strain off your joints?