My Invacare TDX SP2 NB Powerchair: 5 Years On

Today marks five years since my newest electric wheelchair, the TDX SP2 NB by Invacare arrived at my home.

In that time, I have had good and bad things happen with it.

The main “drive” wheel is in the centre of the wheelchair so it makes turning much easier than in my other wheelchairs with 4 wheels. I can turn the TDX SP2 NB by myself without fear of bumping into things as long as I am far enough away from them in the first place. So this is helpful for anyone with spatial awareness difficulties like me.

The electrical features (tilt, recline, seat elevation and electrical legrest) which I can also control by myself but with some difficulty with a joystick control (but I eventually get there). This is such a relief as before I used to have to wait for someone to adjust the angles of the backrest and footrests manually and the angles weren’t always right for me.

The fact that the chassis (frame) of the TDX SP2 NB can take both specialist molded seating as well as “off the shelf” options. Choosing seating was difficult for me as backrests were either too low or did not have enough lateral control.

I am using my Sunrise Medical Jay 3 Deep Contour shoulder height back rest as well as my Deep Contour 2 air chamber cushion from the Jay 3 range which is just so comfortable and supportive because of the hard foam base for support and the Roho air insert. This is the first cushion I don’t slip with and I don’t feel unstable with it.

There are Invacare headrest options but I am still using my OttoBock combination head and neckrest which I had on my other chair.

My wheelchair has 30 degrees of backrest recline as well as 30 of tilt in space. I use them together and find they give the best positioning that way. Recline on it’s own is a good option for those who need just recline. I have tried using it on its own, and the movement is smooth but I find that I slip down the backrest and need to be physically lifted back up again by someone so I always combine it with tilt.

There is an option of 50 degrees tilt in space without backrest recline too which will have the chair lying almost flat when fully reclined. 30 degrees offers a good range of tilt and is great for relaxing watching a movie. I use this to stretch my body out too.

The backrest can go anywhere from straight to this position. The only time I have it straight is when I’m eating so I can use the dining room table for support (positioning the wheelchair right under it so reaching things is easier and I can use the table as an upper body support because otherwise I find this activity is difficult an another position.) Otherwise, I find the backrest being straight in other situations too uncomfortable. The backrest has positions that can be tailored to the user.

The legrest I have is the LNX legrest which is electrically controlled. Before I had a chair with an electric leg rest, I found I got no relief from leg spasticity as there was nowhere to rest my legs. My legs would fall to one side and back off the footrests.

The legrest is centrally located on the whelchair, so this means that it doesn’t catch on things or bump into them when the chair is turned and is more compact. Calf pads provide support to the legs. These are made of a hard material orginally which is not uncomfortable but after five years the covers on mine were starting to crack so I now have custom covers which are much more protective.

I did have some problems years ago with a strange noise coming from the legrest but that went away after lubricating the moving parts better.

The cracking thing happened with the leatherette covers I chose which were part of the soft arm rest option.These are very thin. I chose soft arm rests since I get pressure sores with hard ones. I now have custom arm rests as well.

I have had problems with the control option we picked which is a G90 joystick for years and which I have documented on my blog. I am someday hoping to get a control more suited to my needs as people have to move the chair for me much of the time. There are many special controls available. The control is good as it has brightly colored buttons but I don’t get benefit from a joystick control because of the precise hand movement and strength needed.

The wheels are strong and durable I have a pneumatic central wheel but there is an option of a solid one. The castors are all solid. The suspension system is excellent.

I choose pneumatic tyres if I can as solid ones mean a bumpy ride for me and make my pain levels worse as well as spasticity.

My chair is 6km/h but there’s a 10 km/h option for motors which will hopefully be an option for the future for me.

I don’t have lights yet but there’s an option for them. A few years after I got my chair, Invacare bought out an updated version with black tyres and different frame colour options. Mine is Transparent Purple which is pretty dark but which I like and the purple option now is Grape Jelly Bean which is brighter. More colours are available but I adore purple so picked that.

Overall I recommend this chair because it’s smooth and responsive. It can take different positioning accessories such as belts and harnesses.

Featured on the Blog Undercover Superhero! 

Ever wondered what it is like for me living with Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus and 4 Vision Impairments? 

I have a special post for you today.

I was contacted by the owner of the disability and lifestyle blog Undercover Superhero to share my story.

One Year Ends and Another Begins

On the last night of 2018, I’m feeling a lot of things. I’m proud, hopeful feeling loved. But I am also thinking of the fact that my twin sister is not with me. 37 years have now passed since our birth on the 22nd of December 1981 and also since she passed away on 31 December 1981. I’m also thinking of the loved ones who are not able to celebrate another year, my Grandmother Lily and Aunty Susan. My Grandfather Terrence is always in my thoughts.

This year has been happy with wedding planning and the completion of my FINAL draft of Family Ties 3 years after I started it. I listened to 210 books for my Goodreads Challenge  of a goal of 200 and helped a lot of people with their critiques for their writing projects and also got some great ones for mine.

On a personal note, I decided to forget about my sweet tooth, get a better timetable in gear for physio which would not be physically possible without Alfredo and dropped 1, maybe 2 clothes sizes! I’m really pleased as that’s happened just in time for the sales.

So, tonight, I’m focusing on hope and happiness and am in celebration mode.


Top: my birthday present this year from mum and dad

Jeans: A gift from Alfredo years ago

Bracelet: A gift from my birthday a few years ago

Earrings: I got these years ago from Topshop, another of my favourite high street shops.

Necklace: A gift from dad a few years ago

Perfume: Chocolate by Zara, my favourite chocolate-scented perfume.

Makeup: Shades from Too Faced Gingerbread palette and  the pale pink glitter shade from Primark’s Glitter palette 


over the top of them.

Kiko Milano Luxurious Lashes Wateproof Mascara


Hair;Primark PS Hair and Body Glitter

Lips: Makeup Revolution Retro Luxe Lip Kit in Matte Echelon


Happy 2019 to all my readers family friends and all who support me in life and with my different projects.

 

 

Otto Bock A200 in Silver Metallic

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT THIS CHAIR

This was a “loaner” powerchair I had in 2010 while traveling to see family. I did not want my other chair damaged during the journey. Dad and I traveled to Woodstock to see a technician who was the nearest one who offered rental chairs  to where my parents lived.

The chair was delivered in person by the workers a few days later. It cost £50 a day to rent the chair.

Maximum speed 6 km/h
Batteries  28 Ah

Turning radius 70 cm
Max. obstacle 40 mm
Seat inclination 0°/3°/6°
Back angle -9°/1°/11°/21° or 0°/10°/20°/30°

Seating: Standard backrest or tension adjustable backrest,

Controls: VR2 joystick

I had an Invacare Matrx Deep Back with an Otto Bock headrest as well as a Vicair cushion fitted. I chose elevating footrests but these were manually elevating.

The chair is basically an indoor chair. I used it when in town and the garden, so on different surfaces.

The biggest trip (and test for the chair and for me) was a day out in Oxford. I got the bus with my fiancé and the first challenge was the bus ramp. It was a foldaway ramp and the chair made it up that (maximum safe slope for this chair is 12%). Going down the ramp was a bit more of a challenge but we did it. The chair was very bumpy on the cobblestones and the wheels hit every bump and shook me around a lot. The chair moved better on even pavement such as the pedestranised shopping streets and also in the shopping malls. I found it very hard to manouvre the chair inside shops because of it being Rear Wheel Drive (RWD). After a few hours, I could feel the chair becoming harder and harder to move and we had to cut our shopping trip short and get the bus back.

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On the journey back from the bus stop to my parents’ (20 minutes), the chair got more and more sluggish. Just as we were turning into their road, it died. I was pushed on manual mode all the way to their house.

We immediately plugged it in for a charge when we got in.  I was pleased we did not get stranded in Oxford.

The best thing about the chair for me was its  compactness and I can see how it would be of use to people who drive or travel in a car because it can be disassembled.

Contact your Otto Bock dealer.

Sunrise Medical Quickie Rumba (Old Model) Review

When  I was looking for a powerchair in 2008,  I narrowed down my choices and it was a choice between the Invacare Mirage or the Quickie  Rumba by Sunrise Medical. I wanted something that would be value for money and compact but strong.  So, let’s get down to reviewing this chair. This is what the basic chair looks like:

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Batteries:

The batteries are 50AH.

Motors:

The only motor speed for this chair is 6KM/ h

Colours:

The colours are pretty standard ones and I thought the black paint looked elegant and stood out well. When I bought the chair, the black was a new colour option. Other colours are red blue and silver.

Tyres:

The Rumba has grey tyres and there are no mud guards on the frame  to protect them. I have pneumatic tyres.

Armrest:

There are no armrest options and the armrests on the chair are a standard shape

Armrest Pads: 

The armrest pads are quite wide but they are made of a hard material. Good for positioning but not so much for comfort (for me at least).

Footrest:

Footrests are standard and swing-away.

Seating:

Standard seating or anatomic seat  and back (Optional)

Controls:

Standard swing away mounted (comes with the chair) VR2 control without seat/ lighting control buttons

Chin control.

Options:

Table

Crutch Holder

The chair does NOT come with a seatbelt.

THE RUMBA HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED IN THE UK AND REPLACED WITH THE RUMBA MODULAR.  Check your Sunrise Medical site.

Despite this, I hope my review gives you a good overview of what I thought of the chair.

The Rumba  is very compact. It is a Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) chair and has a curb climber as standard. This is another reason I chose it over similar models at the time which charged separately for the price of the curb climber. With the curb climber, the Rumba can go up an obstacle of 10cm. Without that, this is reduced to 5cm approximately.

The Rumba is a foldable chair, so good for example when traveling in a car for those who can drive and are comfortable and stable on a car seat.  I sat in it on car journeys. I bought a solid seat for the frame as separate instead of the standard sling seating. I used the chair with the Jay 3 Deep Shoulder Height backrest. It copes well on slopes and going up and down curbs (with the curb climber).

There is 30° backrest recline and the option of elevating footrests, but these features are manual only and not electric. There is no seat tilt or raiser. I did not find this chair too comfortable despite my seating and bought my current chair which has electric positioning features.

That said, the Rumba got me from A to B well within the power of a charge and I would recommed it as a chair for someone who does not require electric positioning features (electric tilt/ recline etc). Mine is still looking OK in terms of the condition of the frame and in a decade I have changed the batteries and tyres a few times and had a new anti tip wheel and armrest.  The motors still have some  power in them so I use the chair as a spare. I used my own padded seatbelt.

 

Review of My Powerchair: Invacare TDX SP 2 NB

 

I’ve had my powerchair, which is the TDX SP 2 NB, meaning  it is the TDX 2 with a  narrow base  width of 61cm compared to 65cm which the other TDX 2 has,  for 2 years now. We bought it in June 2016 and it arrived that July. The chair is  Mid-wheel drive (MWD) and turns on its own axis as the “drive” (large) wheel is in the centre of the chair.  There’s a choice of 4 optional electric features for this chair,  and I have them all:

30° of recline

30° of seat tilt

LNX Central elevating legrest

30° seat raiser.

Batteries:

The batteries are 50AH and the chair can’t fit bigger ones because of the design of the frame. Despite that, I notice that this chair, the TDX SP 2 NB, is more responsive than my old one.

Motors:

There’s a choice of 6 and 10 KM/ H motors. I have the 6 but am planning to  change  to the larger motor when I can as it also comes with a light and indicator kit.

Colours:

Before we bought it, I looked at the colour options and by far the colour that I felt was most “me” was the Transparent Purple. You can see all the colours that were available when I decided on my chair in this photo: 

With my chairs,  I like the colour to be one that I like but I don’t like it to be too noticeable outside of what I’m wearing. I prefer people to see me and not my chair so much. I can’t stand garish colours on a wheelchair because I feel that that is the first thing that someone’s eyes are drawn to.

On my previous chairs, I’ve had colours such as black and silver which are muted colours. I really like the purple colour that I chose because I think it is different and it is the colour that I would’ve chosen anyway given the colour selection for the chair at the time that I bought it.
The other colours were red white black blue. I don’t like blue and have already got a black power chair which I use as a spare when needed. I do like white but then thought how it would easily get dirty and take much more time to get clean.


Since a while ago now, the colour options for my chair have been updated to include a more extensive range. But given the new colours, I think that I would either choose purple (Grape Jelly Bean on the new information sheets and shown in the photo above) or white. they also have a turquoise colour which is quite pretty. I like turquoise but I do not like blue. Now,  wheel rim colours as well as frame colours are interchangeable shrouds  which is another new feature introduced since I got my chair. Before, the shrouds were just for the frame. 

 I’m glad I have the colour I do at the moment though. Someday  in the future, I want to get my wheelchair shrouds changed for leopard print ones which I know can be done through Invacare’s custom service. 

Tyres:

I have grey tyres and now black ones are available. I’d prefer black and will change when my tyres are no use anymore.

Armrests:

I have armrests in a T shape which were, and still are  a standard option. They are strong and durable. There are a lot of armrest types including ones that you lift up for transfers. I wasn’t too worried about the armrest type as I can’t transfer sideways or independently.

Armrest Cover:

There were a lot of options for this chair and I chose soft armrests because the armrests on my old chair were hard and because pressure to build up on my forearms and elbows so they often got red. I am very comfortable with the softer armrest covers and have no pressure problems at all. The cover on the soft ones can be wiped clean. Because of  my body’s natural posture, I support mainly my elbow on the armrest and my arms face inwards towards my lap. With the soft cover, my arms are comfortable like this.

Seating:

I chose to use my J3 seating system (cushion and shoulder-height deep contour backrest) that I already had. If you saw my previous post, you’ll know that I recently got a new Jay3 cushion with an air insert. Not only to save money but because the seating options that were recommended on the order form were not suitable for me because the backrests were a very low height and did not have enough side contour  to be able to support me.The cushions were low-profile ( low height) and as I need a skin protection and positioning cushion they would not have supported me enough .

My chair can take different seating types and also custom moulded seating.That for me was an important decision when narrowing down which chair I would buy.

I saw that some chairs within the Invacare range were only adaptable to the Matrixx range of seating products (Invacare’s range).

During the time that I was looking for my chair, another version of the wheelchair came out. This is called the TDX Ultra but was out of my price range and could only accept Invacare backs. Other than that, Permobil

I find my wheelchair comfortable and the electrical seat options when used are quite quiet.
In the few years that I have had the chair I have only had a slight problem with the foot rest needing to be tightened up because of the length of my legs and the calf pads moved so that they support my legs better. There was one time when the foot rest was making a strange noise when I elevated it but that was quickly solved. All in all I am very happy with this chair.

The best thing about the chair is that it is very compact and fits me well.

I don’t feel the chair is bumpy at all and it gives a smooth ride because of Sure Step and Stability Lock. The chair has no curb climber and can climb obstacles of 7.5cm. 

Controls:

There are lots of different controls available. I find joysticks difficult to use and people have to help me guide and drive the chair and am looking into special controls as well as the environmental controls. 

See more of the chair’s specifics here

For more information contact your  Invacare dealer!

 

Sunrise Medical Jay 3 Deep Contour Dual Valve Wheelchair Cushion Review And Comparison With My Other Cushions

imageToday is my first full day with my new wheelchair cushion. I have been using the Jay 3  foam and fluid-filled cushion in the standard height for some years now, and did not feel comfortable with it. I felt that, for me, the fluid was not supportive or comfortable enough. I also found that the fluid was very sensitive to temperatures  and so when the weather was cold it would go hard and be more uncomfortable. A long time ago, I used gel cushions but they had the same thing going on with the comfort level of the fluid.  In 2010, I tried my first air cushion, the Vicair Twin. I realised that air made me more comfortable for all-day use. The disadvantage of it for me was that there was not enough positioning support and the cover, which was mesh, made me slip during transfers. I still have the Vicair and it’s in good condition with only 1 broken air sac.  Another disadvantage to it, I find, is the height. At 6cm high, it’s low for me. I use it when relaxing on my bed.

When I first got my Jay 3 fluid cushion, it was comfortable but became very uncomfortable after a few years of use. When it bottomed out, I knew it was time to look for something else. I was assessed by different technicians who made suggestions .

After a lot of looking around and trying out cushions (Roho Mid and High Profile cushions) and getting some suggestions which I know would not have been appropriate for me, I finally settled on the Jay 3 again, but this time went for the Deep Profile one to have more protection. I chose 2 air valves in my Roho insert because one side of my pelvis is higher than the other and both are twisted inwards which affects the posture of my feet and legs.

My. body feels most relaxed with the 2-valve air cushion. It has firm foam for positioning at the front and sides and an air insert (made by Roho) at the back. The extra height  compared to the standard version as well as the extra protection means   I’m much more comfortable too.

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This is what the cushion looks like inside. The air cushion is lighter  than the fluid (gel) one too, so easier for whoever is transferring me to move if needed.  I was very nearly going to choose the Roho Quadtro Select but was a little unstable on it as it is all air cells, and so finally went for the Jay 3 Deep Profile air cushion.

I feel happy with it and I’m sat a little straighter, not leaning to one side so much as I was with the gel cushion. I trialled the “personalised inserts” for the gel cushion in the wheelchair shop over a year ago when my cushion search started but decided against them as they made no difference to my comfort or posture.

I found out about custom- moulded seating by Otto Bock and that  seemed a great idea because of the options they give you but the downside for me was the cost- it would have been the most expensive seating option and was out of my budget.

I didn’t feel like anything but the Jay 3 Air cushion would have met my needs and was put off the Roho Quadtro Select by the amount of YouTube videos of people looking for punctures in theirs which seemed like a long process. Seeing as I can’t do any chair/ cushion maintenance myself and have not had a lot of luck with technicians lately I didn’t feel confident enough in going for the Quadtro Select. Plus, the only way to get my size would have been custom sizes and that was expensive too.

Maybe I’ll try a Quadtro Select in the future but for now I’m happy with my Jay 3 air cushion. I don’t have hip or back pain anymore and am liking the Roho air insert. I think I made the right choice by buying it. It’s a good cushion for positioning and stability. Although I still get unstable and always will (I tend to lean to the side and forwards when my body feels like it).  I have positioning wedges on the  cushion too.

It works well with the Jay 3 deep shoulder height backrest I have.

 

Unexpected Control Problems

I recently bought new batteries for my old wheelchair which I have had for 9 years. The motors work fine, but I was shocked to discover the control wasn’t working properly. I have had control blips before, but this one has us stumped.

The chair is a Sunrise Medical Quickie Rumba which is one of the brand’s older models, too. In fact, I was checking the powerchair range the other day when I found a communication notice from Sunrise Medical UK saying the chair has been discontinued because of lack of popularity of the model but that the  spare parts will be available for the next 5 years, so that means we should be safe and able to get parts until 2022.  There’s another chair which is marketed as the Rumba Modular which is basically the model of Rumba I have but with more part options- electric elevating footrests, and more control options for example.

The Rumba is quite compact and is a Rear Wheel Drive wheelchair which means it’s hard to manouvre in small spaces.  At least the motor is still working.

When we realised the problem, we gave it a 24-hour charge which was what the people from the wheelchair shop advised, but the problem continued. We checked all the comnnections, but nothing.

Luckily, Alfredo is a great “handyman” but on this occasion we’ll have to see what the technician says, too. I’ll keep you posted!