Finding the Perfect Wheelchair Blanket

Finding the Perfect Wheelchair Blanket

Many YouTubers create meaningful content about their lives with disability and chronic illness. By showing what it’s like to live with physical obstacles, they create awareness and inspire others in similar circumstances. Such videos have introduced me to many helpful medical aids and products. 

Recently, I found a YouTube channel called “Squirmy and Grubs.” Squirmy and Grubs, the nicknames of Shane and Hannah, are an inter-able couple who vlog their adventures and lives together. Shane’s humor in the midst of spinal muscular atrophy never fails to make me laugh, and their relationship reminds me a lot of my own with my boyfriend. In one of their videos, Shane was bundled up in a very warm blanket to protect himself from the cold weather. It made me realize my need for a better quality blanket for when I sit in my wheelchair. 

Staying warm in the winter months is even more difficult for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Without the ability to maintain constant physical activity, our bodies become cold easily. Even in the summer, the backpack on my wheelchair is weighed down with beanies, scarves, and gloves. 

The blanket that I’ve been using is from my days at muscular dystrophy camp. We kids would come back to the cabin after a day of activities to homemade blankets and stuffed animals covering our beds. Many of those treasures remain in my closet’s memory box. 

For my new blanket, I had a few specific needs and desires. I wanted something with a semi-thick fabric to better protect my body from the cold. My former blanket was too thin to keep my body heat from escaping. It was also important that my new blanket be the right length — long enough to cover me yet short enough to keep from getting caught in my wheels. The color mattered to me as well — it had to be something more mature than my old, pink blanket’s yellow goldfish pattern. I wanted a color fit for a 21-year-old. 

I started off looking on Etsy. I thought I’d find something that would fit my needs but also be fun and creative. Maybe I could get one monogrammed or customized to say “good at naps.” Unfortunately, no such luck. The next place to look was good old Amazon. Almost immediately after typing in “wheelchair blanket,” I hit gold! The blanket of my dreams was right before my eyes.

It’s lush with fuzzy fabric, exactly the right size for my petite body, and embellished with Velcro straps that attach to my wheelchair to keep it from sliding down. It’s also adorned with a pocket to keep my hands warm and toasty. It’s a gorgeous blueish-gray that won’t make people mistake me for a 12-year-old. I clicked “add to cart” and “checkout,” and it was sitting on my front porch step two days later. 

(Courtesy of Leah Leilani)

I don’t know why I didn’t decide to make this change earlier. Never before have I been so cozy at the doctor’s office, and going out at night with my boyfriend doesn’t feel like I’ve traveled to Alaska. I think it’s finally time to thank my old blanket for getting me this far and tuck it away with all my other goodies from camp. 

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Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.

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