Things are finally starting to move again…
Once again it’s been months since we’ve actually had significant progression with my tangible plans for America, but finally last week we got some! On Thursday I had my third visit to the Virgin Atlantic simulator rig (you can read about my other visits here and here) where this time I had my risk assessment for flying, including take off and landing, while lying down. In short, I think it was successful!
What? You want more details? Okay fine… 😛
Very ironically, the hoisting system that they have for aircrafts, called the Eagle 2 hoist, only works for economy seats on Virgin Aeroplanes (more info here if you’re interested) and due to needing to lie down during the flight I have to travel in Upper Class, therefore the only way for me to get from my wheelchair to the aeroplane seat is to be lifted as I can’t sit on the small aisle wheelchair many airports have either.
What to do? It’s not safe for me to be man-handled physically and I think it’s probably against a vast amount of health and safety regulations to be carried in such a way by airport staff anyway, even if I was happy to let it happen. So I had to find an alternative, and one brilliant alternative was available!
The ProMove sling.
If you’re not savvy in the whole disabled manual handling world, for a normal hoist a sling is required to go underneath the person being carried to attach to the hoist for transfer. Picture a stork carrying a baby and you’re not far off what a sling is – kinda. Anyway the ProMove sling is a sling that is designed for patients to be carried manually without a hoist with significantly more dignity than if it weren’t to be used. Here’s a picture of me about to be lifted in one:
I do have video footage of me being lifted but currently can’t access it, once I have it I’ll post it onto YouTube and share it on all my social media platforms.
The slings, they’re not cheap, mine cost around £200, but my god was it worth the money! I felt so safe being lifted. It was weird sure, but not uncomfortable at all. If you are UK based and think that you or someone you know would benefit from such a sling, here’s their website – www.promove.uk.com. I highly recommend them. They can be used for a myriad of things, have a nosy at their website – you won’t be disappointed!
I have to admit though, my feeling of safety probably had a great deal with who was lifting me. As Virgin Atlantic, for safeguarding and health and safety reasons, were not able to provide people to help lift me for the risk assessment; I had to bring people with me to do this. On this occasion I have my two cousins Pierce and Tristan, and my two friends Christine and Hester to thank enormously for coming along to fling me around a fake aeroplane! I am eternally grateful and I can’t thank you enough!!!! Without you this risk assessment couldn’t have happened! I’d also like to thank my Mum for being a constant in all of this craziness! The little team of the day is pictured in the cover photo for this post, but here it is again anyway 🙂
Now on to me actually sitting, or rather lying, on the aeroplane seat/bed. This was really straightforward to be honest. I borrowed a Stabilo vacuum posture seat from my wheelchair seating engineers, this is basically flat blue beanbag type cushion thing that you can mould around me and vacuum the air out so it’ll keep its form. Why am I describing it to you? Let me show you a photo instead…
and with me in it with a load of pillows and cushions supporting me too…
We’ve still got some tweaking to do to get me completely comfortable for a 10 hour plus flight but everyone was really positive about the success of the Stabilo, therefore I’m going to try and get hold of one for me to own. If you would like to know more about this specific Stabilo, you can visit this website – www.aatgb.com/comfortable-plus-duo.
The risk assessment has yet to be passed by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), but the people from Virgin Atlantic doing the risk assessment (I haven’t mentioned them by name because I didn’t ask if it was ok so I’ve kept their anonymity) said that they were feeling positive about the outcome!
I’m feeling quietly optimistic. If, when *fingers crossed*, it gets passed I can truly start planning and actually booking this adventure!
Another huge thank you to Pierce, Tristan, Christine, Hester and my Mum for supporting me with this Virgin Atlantic visit! You’re all amazing humans!
That’s it from me for now, I’m not sure when I’ll be back with another update but in the mean time you can keep up with my shenanigans on all my social media, links for which can be found below!
Until next time, be kind and live your dreams! ❤