Beached Wheel

wheelchair confidentialI never thought I’d camp again after my injury. Eventually though, I hired my first male caregiver, and his confident can-do attitude and size and strength meant I could try new things — like a cliffside campout under the stars.

After setting up camp, we headed down a road that appeared to dump out onto the beach. Finally, I could get my wheels in the sand. The steep descent made it clear that the path was for emergency lifeguard access — not walking, and definitely not rolling. My caregiver maintained a death grip on my push handles, and together we picked up speed as we closed in on the beach.

Naïvely thinking my chair would roll beyond the pavement’s end, we hit the deep, dry sand fast and hard. Instantly, my front casters and wheels sunk in and stuck. My body, the top half of the chair, and my 6-foot-6-inch companion catapulted forward in a cartoon-worthy tumble that left me headfirst and nose-deep in the sand.

Terrified, he rushed to