The sofa blues…

Oh how I miss wheeling, and handcycling… yes, as you may have guessed, I’m still not up to par. I’m currently awaiting more blood results which will hopefully tell me why I feel so awful! I’m extremely lethargic, to the point of wanting to sleep all the time. Nausea and lack of appetite kind of go hand in hand, and just feeling generally weak and feeble! So, what do you do when you can’t do what you want? Well if your anything like me, you get frustrated and annoyed with your body. It won’t buck up and get better in the timescale you want. The swimming pool is calling, and my body isn’t listening! I’d like to say that I’m a good patient, but I don’t think that I am. I want to feel better now…and don’t like having to wait for my body to behave! But that is what I have to do. So I’m sat watching the paralympics, wishing to be that good! (Maybe one day!). But it won’t happen from a static position on my sofa!! So for now, when I can I’m writing, and doing a bit of drawing, but finding myself falling asleep doing that! It was my 13th wedding anniversary on the 22nd. I managed to be out with my lovely wife for a couple of hours, but then had to go home. I could eat a tiny bit of my meal, but had to leave most of it. I felt like such a party pooper! But when things are like this, it reminds you to give it your all when you do feel well, and to embrace every moment.

So for now, it’s back to convalescing on the sofa, and hoping to feel better soon. Then watch out David Lloyd, for a will be in the pool as much as I can be. My mum would have said, ‘these things are sent to try us!’ And I completely agree. But still wish they wouldn’t!!

Come on! Let me train!!!

Well, as you may guess, I’m starting to go a little stir crazy! This infection is relentless. I’m now on another type of antibiotic, Co-amoxiclav. The Flucloxacillin ran out the other day. It was very strange. I went to bed feeling a bit better. Then by lunch time the next day, after not having any antibiotics, I was back to feeling awful again. My heartrate was over 100 again, known as Tachycardia. I felt extremely tired, to the point that I couldn’t stay awake. I felt very sick and had no appetite at all. I also felt quite shakey. I had no temperature, but have not had a significant temperature (pyrexia) throughout the whole period of my illness. There is a common misconception that you have to have a temperature to have an infection or sepsis. My consultant said he thought I was septic when I finally received IV antibiotics. There is such a thing as hot sepsis, where you have a temperature (a temperature above 37.6) and cold sepsis, where your temperature is normal or below. Normal is different for everyone, but in general the normal range is 36-37 degrees. I am normally 36-36.5 when I’m well, so I know if I’m at 37.5 I’m usually not too well. We’ll my temp was a bit up bit not into the 38 plusses, which is where worrying begins. So at first they just focused on that. Until they finally realised that my other observations, like high heartrate (over 100 bpm) and low blood pressure was telling a story. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. Low is considered 90/60 or below. High is considered to be 140/90 or above. Mine was 60/40 at one point. My heartrate was 140-160 at rest, whilst laying in a bed. So there was no doubt I had a problem.

So, observation lesson over, I was basically feeling rubbish again. I decided to try 111 first before going to A&E, hoping to speak to an on call Dr. I spent over an hour with the phone on hold, and eventually gave up. So we were off to A&E again. We’ll bloods were taken and my platelets were high, my red blood count was low, and my crp was up. All showing infection. So I started on antibiotics again! The next day I felt a little better. Then on Monday these ran out and I fortunately spoke to a great GP at my local Dr surgery who decided to try another one. So here we are. Awaiting more blood results today! But still feeling rubbish to be honest.

Me training!

So here I am. Still feeling to rubbish to train. We now have access to a new pool and gym. My wifey, who is amazing joined us up to David Lloyd whilst I was in hospital, as she knew how desperate I was to swim again, and start training for a Triathlon. So now I’m at home, my handbike now accessible, my wheelchair itching to get going, the new pool and gym waiting for me…and I’m still stuck to the sofa. Finding it difficult to eat more than a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast in a day. My muscle mass is deteriating, and I’m feeling absolutely rubbish. No energy at all. Then I’ve been sat watching the Olympics, which makes me want to train more than ever. I want to do my half marathon, but now I know I can’t. I want to do a marathon. I want to start training to do Triathlons. Hopefully one day an Iron-man. I have so many ambitions, and yet being glued to the sofa, is not one of them! It is quite depressing to be honest. I’m not too patient at waiting to do things I love! I just wish this infection would listen to me, and GO AWAY!!!

So for now, it’s fingers crossed. Try to eat, and be patient 🤣. One day I will be back out there…and that day will be amazing!!

So good to be home.

I’m home, as you may have guessed from the title. I finally made it home at 7pm on Tuesday. I think it was probably the longest discharge in history! Saw the Dr’s o Tuesday Morning at approximately 9am. They said they’d have me ready for lunch time!!! My wife made her way after work at 2pm. I ended up sending her home before she even made it to the hospital, knowing I was nowhere near discharge. I had gotten myself dressed, and my bag was packed. By 3pm I gave up, and my pyjamas were back on!! 🤣 My wife then remade her way at 5pm, as we were told that things were ready! At 7pm finally I was discharged. I waited 10 hours for a discharge letter and a few tablets! But, to be honest, I didn’t care. By the time I got through my front door, and into my pyjamas again, and was cuddling my little Lily, nothing else mattered.

Cuddling my little Lily 💙

My experience on Wynard ward was thankfully very different to the disastrous 13 hours on AMU. All of the staff were lovely. I had a fantastic student, and I wish I remembered her name, (I’ve always been useless with names!), but she was incredible for her level. She’s only a few weeks away from qualifying, and I’ve met nurses who have been qualified for years who don’t sho her professionalsm, level of caring or expertise. She will make a fantastic nurse. I do know she had a job already, and will be mentored in it by my best friend from university, which is amazing. The Nurses were all lovely. The endless cannula attempts. I think I counted 24 attempts in total! My veins completely gave up, and ran for the hills!!

I am still a little weak, and on antibiotics. Am very much looking forward to getting back to training. My lovely wife joined David Lloyd whilst I was in hospital, so I can swim again. In a pool which will not be overcrowded. It also has a handbike in the gym. I’m hoping to do my first swim on Saturday, all being well. I’m also going through classification for Triathlon for next year. There’s one in May which I’d like to do. As for my half marathon on the 5th of September! I’m going to have to see how I get on with training. I’m desperate to do it, but I know I’ve been through alot in the past 6 weeks, so have to build up slowly, and accept it if I can’t do it. I will find another to do instead! So for now, I’m trying my best to eat when I can, and stretching. The antibiotics make appetite a challenge, and make me very nautious, so the only thing I can stomach at the moment is toast, cereal and midget gems!! Not the best diet for fitness!!! But again, I’m home…. 😁😁

20 days and counting …

As you may have gathered, I’m still in hospital! I mistakenly thought I’d be in and out within 5 days. I was pre-warned that it could take a couple of weeks, or possibly longer, but I thought, I’m tough, I’ve been through lots already, I have a very high tolerance to pain… None of those things make any difference to any hospital stay. It is impossible to predict how you will recover, or how long it will take. I can say, that previous to this experience, I was certain that I had reached the very hight of my pain level. That pain couldn’t possibly be worse that CRPS flares with neuromas… I was wrong. CRPS flares, with surgery is far worse. I was warned, so it wasn’t lime I went into this not knowing that things would be tough. But usual me… I shrugged it off, and thought to myself ‘oh well, what’s a little more pain?’ Well, I can tell you… a lot!!! I’m feeling battered, bruised, sore, sick, tired, and missing my babies. All that said, however, things are steadily improving, and the care and treatment I have received here at the QVH hospital in East Grinstead has been just incredible. All of the staff are just to kind, and caring. They have been there for me through night and day. I know you must be thinking, well thats what is supposed to happen in hospital, well let me say… it doesn’t always happen. After being a Nirse myself for 14 years, I’ve seen a substantial lack in compassion within the field. Yet here, they all have oodles of it. They are warm, and friendly. They make me cups of tea in the night when I’m awake in pain. My surgeon Tania Cubison, the genius, always comes by every morning to check on me. The pain nurses have been in every day, trying everything they can to see me through the tough times. The anaesthetists have been to see me every morning and evening to administer boluses into the nerve catheter in my leg. I am honestly, truly amazed.

Battered and bruised!!

So, we have lowered my intravenous pain medications now, and are lowering the local anaesthetic meds going into the nerve catheter in my leg. The pain is rather bad a couple of times a day, which is when the anaesthetists step in. But we’re making improvements in that respect as well. The plan is that the nerve catheter needs to come out by the weekend, as its been in too long by that stage, and could increase risk of infection, which I definitely do not need. So watch this space. Hopefully I will be home by early next week, if not sooner 🤞

Pin cushion!! 🤣

TMR progress…

I’ve now been in hospital 9 days. 8 days post op. Had my TMR (Targeted Muscle Reinnervation) surgery on Thursday last week. Had a bit of a rocky ride since then. My pain levels sky rocketed and not much seemed to bring it down, other than visits from an anaesthetist to put a bolus (big volume) of local anaesthetic into the catheter (tube) which was placed during surgery to administer constant local anaesthetic into my leg. We now think that the catheter was rubbing directly on a nerve, so causing more pain. So yesterday, the Dr’s had a pow-wow and decided to take the catheter out. The hope being that the pain would get better. It did with movement, but not anything else, intact it sky rocketed further. I spent the day screaming in pain. Never felt anything so bad. My CRPS was flaring, and my leg was killing, so it was back to theatre to have a new nerve catheter placed.

Pre and post op

Now, the next morning, there is a significant improvement. My pain is back to its normal level. Which is amazing. Along with the pain before, the Dr’s tried a few new medicines. Wish we hadn’t, as they all seemed to cause the same reaction… Sudden Tachycardia (high heart rate over 100 bpm) and light headedness. One of them dropped my BP as well, and another caused extreme shaking all over my body. This happened 6 times in total. Rather scary. So now, today, I will be happy just to have a day with less pain, and no complications.

Pin cushion!

So now I’m still in East Grinstead hospital. I have to say, the staff are all absolutely amazing. Completely different to any other hospital stay I’ve had. They actually believe you when you say that your in pain. They don’t try to kick you out just because they are convinced you should be going home now! Unlike another hospital. Who decided that after a week, I shouldn’t be in as much pain as I was, and started to get quite impatient with me for being in pain!

Here is what hospital treatment should be like. Where nurses actually care, and no one makes you feel like your a burden. I’d actually consider moving here, just for better treatment! So, fingers and toes crossed for the next few days, and with no more blips, hopefully I will start to recover nicely.

The countdown begins…

In 3 days, or 4 including today, I will be taking that trip again to East Grinstead. This time for a few days (5-14 – depending on pain!). I will be having my TMR surgery. I must admit, a fair amount of trepidation this time. I’m not unfamiliar to general anaesthetics, this will be my 10th! Yet for some reason, this time I’m a bit scared! I think it’s because I will be so far from home, and my wife won’t be there when I get back to the ward, which so far, she always has been. But mixed with the anxiety is a ton of hope. Hope that this will work, and I will be able to wear flo (my prosthetic) again. Even if it’s just some of the time! I’d even take 20% right now! I’ve accepted the fact (mostly!!) that I can not run again, and my sports will need to be slightly different, but I can’t accept never walking again.

The above photo was taken last week. Yep, I’m back out there, training for my first half marathon using my wheelchair. On the 5th of September I will be wheeling through Bridgewater in their half marathon. I can’t wait. Then who knows? Hopefully a marathon next! My wife will be running it too, although she will probably have time for a cup of tea and a nap at the finish line, by the time I get there!! But it’s all good fun.

So with the pending hospitalisation in mind, a few people have asked what the most important thing is for one to take into hospital. So I have thought of a few, which I wouldn’t be without.

1) Ear plugs. Hospitals are supposed to be a healing environment, but trust me, you won’t get much sleep, especially post operation. As an ex registered nurse, I can tell you, I was one of those annoying people who would wake my patient at all hours to take their blood pressure! To put in needles, remove needles, pop in tubes, remove tubes, change dressings, check your daily oblutions! You name it, the list is endless. Plus, unless your accustomed to communal sleeping arrangements, you can pretty much expect that half the room will snore! So, ear plugs are a definite necessity.

2) My portable dvd player and a ton of dvd’s. Why do I take this, in this technical age of tablets etc.. Well you may be surprised to know that not all hospitals will let you have their WiFi password, and the tvs can be hideously expensive, up to £20 for 3 days in some places. So as a fail safe, I take my own entertainment.

3) Your own snacks and Tea bags! If your like me, and allergic to gluten, you can never tell what food your going to get. Although I have to say, so far it’s been pretty ok, the snacks are pretty limited. When I’m in pain I struggle to eat, and when I’m nautious, even more so. So I like to have my haribo to hand, which is about the only thing I can stomach when pain and nausea come calling. Tea bags… well, I can blame Piers Morgan for that one. I never used to be a Tea snob, until one morning, whilst watching GMB, good old Piers mentioned he only drinks Yorkshire gold. So one day I decided to see what the fuss was about… Needless to say no other Tea bags will now suffice, and as a result I will be taking in my own bags for a proper cup of tea!

As for other bits and bobs, it’s up to you. I would of course recommend pants and pyjamas, and some good reading. I will be taking in the first part of my manuscript to continue the editing process, which never seems to end! Plus a couple of books to read.

So for the next few days, and for a few before, I am on strict isolation. The boredom is setting in… although I have lots of work to do, I miss riding my hald bike and wheeling. But not long now and if all goes well, I will be back to it. Have a great weekend all 😁

It’s a Neuroma!!!

Finally, after two years of saying that I have pain, other than my crps in my stump, I finally had an MRI. The results showed a neuroma and a second area of thickening around my stump. Finally, after being rebuffed, ignored, made to feel awful… I was right. So, I recieved a call from Bristol to tell me the news. They said that there was a few treatments, but we’re still reluctant to do surgery or even touch it because of the CRPS! This is despite the fact that it would seem that the Neuroma(s) are setting of my CRPS. People are so focused on not setting off the crps, that they are prioritising it over long term treatment, basically confiding me to my wheelchair for life! Luckily for me, I had my appointment in East Grinstead, and the amazing team there see things differently. They believe in treatment, with the realisation that my crps may get worse, but they inform and let me decide.

During my visit, I had an ultrasound, which was thoroughly explained, and had the consultant present. I then saw my consultant, Dr Tania Cubison. She was amazing. She explained everything. I saw videos, photos, and was told the actual facts and statistics of probability of recovery. I felt fully informed, which I have to say, I’ve never had before. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a nurse, or weather others have had such treatment, but at my local hospital, I’ve never had as good a treatment as I did at East Grinstead. After I saw my Dr, I then saw a anaesthetist, who was again very thorough, and explained everything. Now this is a big thing for me, as when I went in for my amputation, I was taken into hospital 4 days before the surgery to have a block by the pain Dr, who didn’t show up to do it! As a possible consequence of this, my CRPS came back! The anaesthetist resured me that he will show up, and couldn’t believe that someone, or a service would be so unprofessional. He plans to put in a block the day before the surgery, and then they will place two other blocks when I’m unconscious. He stressed the importance of doing this so that they can ensure it works, and doing it right before having surgery, doesn’t give you a gauge of weather it is placed correctly, which is what happened to me!

Above is a picture of a neuroma.

So then I was off to see a pre op nurse. They were also very nice, and seemed quite knowledgeable. The were very thorough. I have never had bloods taken before in a pre op assessment either. I have also never been made to feel so welcome. I have to say, I am very glad I will be going there for my surgery. The thought of going to the Roayl Devon and Exeter again, where they’ve ignored me, treated me like a sub human, and neglected me, wasn’t very favourable. So this should be happening in August, we think. The plan is to do TMR surgery on three of my nerves. There will be an approximately 8-10 inch scar on the back of my leg. I have been told to expect a hospital stay of 3 days to 2 weeks, and their goal is to ensure my pain is under control before they kick me out. Another refreshing change…

We have a plan… I couldn’t be more relieved, and grateful to my friend Maggie, who without her referring me to this amazing specialist Doctor, I would not be in this fortunate position. It is amazing that I’ve had to go so far away, just to be taken seriously, and to have treatment. It angers me, as I’ve worked at the RD&E for almost half of my life, including doing my nurse training there. I’ve been a registered nurse there for 14 years. Yet I received such diabolical neglect, that they were just going to leave me in pain for the rest of my life. I still have not received an appointment with the pain team, despite 2 years of urgent referrals being sent. This is how poor the treatment has been for me… having none! Anyone with a Neuroma will tell you, it is excruciating, as is CRPS, and one sets off the other.

All I can do now, is wait for the date. I couldn’t be happier with East Grinstead. Just wonderful.

Oh Happy Day 😁

As many blog writers will tell you, through this therapy of sorts, you often receive contact from readers, and some even turn into friendships. I started conversing with my lovely friend Maggie quite some time ago when asking questions on amputee sites. Before my amputation, and when I first discovered I had CRPS, I found the lack of information out there quite astonishing, which is why I decided to write this blog in the first place. I didn’t think for a second that I would end up here, practically begging for treatment, and then finally finding that one Doctor who will help me, because of the amputee sites, and then this blog. Yes, with thanks to Maggie, huge thanks, who kindly put me in contact with her doctor, I am finally on the road to having a diagnosis, and I couldn’t be happier, or more thankful to wonderful Maggie.

I hope she won’t mind me talking of her, but she is one of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege of conversing with. She always checks up on me, and reads my posts, and her kindness has now put me on the road to treatment. For that, I am so greatfull and can’t thank her enough. I know she will read this, so to you Maggie, I thank you so so much.

So, last Wednesday I had a consultantation with a Doctor who is a specialist in stump issues. I was put in contact with her secretary, who booked the appointment. It was via zoom. I was extremely anxious, as I am so used to Doctors dismissing me and lumping everything under the CRPS brush. But to my amazement, she did not. She listened to my symptoms, and guided me through a self examination of my stump. The whole process took over an hour, which is the longest time I’ve spoken to anyone since the surgery. At the end she spoke of a couple of things which could be causing the problem, and what we can do about it. So, when I had surgery, the nerves are cut. When this happens they have nowhere to go and nothing to do, so they go a little nuts! Sometimes said nerves can also be fighting against a suture or clip put on the end of them! So she thinks that my popleteal nerve is either doing this or trapped. So the plan now is to do an ultrasound and some other tests to see if this is the case. This was the first thing which amazed me. I’ve been booked twice now for an MRI. Being told by the non specialists that this is the only way to find a neuroma. What if it isn’t a neuroma, I would ask? Well then we can’t help, they said! If I questioned it, I would be shut down and made to feel as if I had done something wrong. So to find a Doctor who is willing to explain, and say that an MRI is not only the best way, but not the only way to find issues, was just wonderful. It’s as if realising that your not mad!! So, now the plan is to await my appointment, and take the trip to East Grinstead for tests. If it shows what we suspect, then book for TMR surgery. I will explain what that is in future posts, if it is on the cards, but basically it will give my nerves a job to do, and stop them complaining so damn much!!

I honestly can’t even explain how happy I was after this consultation. Someone not only listed to me, but also may be able to help. It meant that some of those dreams which I had lost, may be achievable again. I may be able to walk again! (At least a small portion of the time, I will still have the crps! There is no cure for that bit!). But to have a chance of a reduction in the pain I’m in…and that is everything.

I celebrated with one of my first little wheels in ages!!

Dying for treatment!!

What crps look’s like! I’ve always been against showing stumpey, but to show people is to help them understand. I am not ashamed of stumpey!

Anyone with a chronic pain condition can testify that the road to successful treatment can be somewhat of a minefield, when you have more than one condition. This minefield becomes even more chaotic when Doctors can only see one condition, and deny the possibility, or sheer presence of another. Case in point – I have CRPS in my left stump. I also have this other, yet to be diagnosed issue. I saw a lovely Doctor (finally!!) Who I must say, seemed a little out of his depth, but couldn’t see past the CRPS. No matter how many different ways I explained the different types of pain I’m in, he just kept going back to the CRPS. Frustration doesn’t cover how I felt! On the day, I had my wife with me; and my Blesma representative (amazing veterans amputee charity) wrote a detailed email prior to my appointment, explaining the circumstances. Yet with two advocates, he still seemed to be blinkered to the possibility of something else. I started to feel like an orange ribbon, like the emblem of CRPS charities, and that’s all people see. The prosthetists, the physio, and now the 1st Doctor I’ve seen face to face (other than my GP, who is amazing!).

Symptoms of CRPS.

I am a registered nurse, and throughout my career I have been used to the medical terminology used, and how things work within the NHS, and am yet to receive any tests, or treatments, or interventions of any kind. Instead, I’ve been passed from pillar to post, around the roundabout and house’s, getting nowhere! Meanwhile, the pain and effects of pain, are taking away the enjoyable parts of my life. So I can’t help but worry what happens to those who don’t have an advocate, or a realisation of what should be happening? It’s not easy to speak up, and describe your own condition when your Doctor is telling you that what you are saying is rubbish! When they can’t see past your ‘other’ condition; or are simply out of their depth. How many people out there are desperate? Desperate for treatment? Desperate for someone to listen; really listen to them, so they can have their pain investigated and have a chance of a meaningful life. I have been a nurse for 14 years and have had the privilege of working with some magnificent Doctors and specialists, but I know first hand that anyone can slip through the cracks, or be ignored, or even not believed! This, despite the mantra which all us care givers are taught to abide – “pain is what the patient says it is”. Not all health professionals remember this! Instead we often get labeled as ‘junkies who are just after medication’, or they sometimes go to the other end of the spectrum by medicating, and medicating some more; chucking a plaster over it, instead of diagnosing it!

How many people with pain conditions have reached the point of absolute frustration? If a person is telling their care giver that they are in pain, isn’t it their duty to investigate why? And to treat them. If they refuse to do so, or ignore them; isn’t this pure medical negligence? When, my Mum was in agony with a variety of conditions, she said to me “If I was a dog, they would put me down”, yet we are left, suffering! These people who are responsible for leaving us with such suffering are basically condemning us to death, One way or another! When your pain is horrific and no-one will listen, or help… what else can you do? I was extremely worried and shocked when I learnt that according to a web based survey, 20% of CRPS sufferers had attempted suicide, and 46.4% reported suicidal intentions. This is shockingly 6x higher than those with depression, according to a psychiatry study. With statistics such as these, for my condition alone; can Doctors really justify their ignorance to people who are in pain? I would be lying if I said I hadn’t considered it. Especially with the pain of flare ups, and frustration of no intervention and poor treatment!

According to oatext.com, and I should imagine, anyone with a chronic pain condition – “chronic pain patients are at elevated risk of suicide”. Shouldn’t those who refuse to treat, refuse to listen, refuse to test, to diagnose, to intervene, be held accountable for their actions? Instead of leaving us to suffer? Shouldn’t they be referring us to those who do know how to treat our conditions? Those who may be interested! Isn’t that the definition of ‘proper care?’. Not condemning us to a life of suffering!

Ive got a logo!

My new logo for the challenge.

This is my new logo for the event. I have made some clothes trying to get things out there a bit. I have a hoodie, baseball cap, T shirt, vest, and a long sleeve T shirt. All with my logo on. Cat also has a hoodie. Theyre all awaiting sponsorship logos. I still havnt got any definate sponsors as yet. I am sending emails out all of the time. I will persevere and perhapse change the email. I was sent a T shirt and hoodie from Saltrock which will come in handy post training. Sunwise are also sending me a pair of sunglasses. All of these things are absolutely wonderful, but none of them are getting me closer to my goal. I need to get my event out there. I have been speaking to the British Legion about my wheelchair, and they said they would help me. Im just awaiting a home visit at the moment. Ive just joined BLESMA too. Which is for veteran amputees. They have also been really helpful so far, and will be sending someone out to help. So I have made some progress. Now keep all fingers and toes crossed for the new chair. I only have 15 to cross now, so I need help with the others.

Thankyou to Saltrock for my goodies!

I had a really nice suprise last week. Steel bones had put a feature on their facebook page and web page about me, and what Im doing. I thaught that was lovely. So things are getting out there more and more. But not enough yet. I despirately need some sponsors. But I think that everything is a learning curve, and what doesnt work the 1st time, may need to be changed and adjusted. I will not give up.

TRAINING:

This has been steady. The Gym sessions are going great. Getting some good strength and endurance. Were trying things that weve never done before, which is so much fun. The wheeling or pushing, some people call is, is going well in some ways. But I really just need the chair. The NHS finally came up with my replacement. I was really hopeful. I thaught that it must be a little better than the one I had. It futs better, in that the width of the seat is smaller, and so it fits, but that is it. The extent of the improvements stop there. It isnt lighter, even though its made up of half plastic! The seat is too short. The wheel I use for self propulsion is really difficult to grab and I cant use it without gloves. My padded gloves dont stick at all, like they used to with the other one. I could go on, and on. Safe to say, it is a huge disapointment. I went out today for my 1st training session and it was disasterous. Really slow. The wheels seem to love to go towards every gradient. It doesnt free wheel at all, even downhill! It does have anti tipping, which is amazing. I actually think that the red one was better for training, and thats saying something! But as always. I will keep trying. Keep plodding on. Theres always a plus side to everything. Maybe this is supposes to be this way. Give me some good strenth before I get my real chair. I hope so anyway.