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Hands on with the Jazzy Ultra 1103 power chair

Power wheelchairs are the epitome of mobile devices. This chair has all of the features you might need.

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Life often surprises with twists and turns, and that happened to me recently. I injured my leg and was hobbling with a cane but that didn't work. I was told to stay off of the leg for a few weeks and a power chair looked to be what I needed since I am a mobile guy.

Research showed they are expensive and out of my budget restraints but I found a good one at a local scooter repair shop. It had been totally refurbished with all major components replaced with new ones.

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The chair is a Pride Jazzy Ultra 1103. It is a quality chair and can do 25 miles per battery charge. The captain's chair is fully adjustable and reclines for comfort.

Most importantly the seat has a power lift. My hurt knee has no strength and getting up out of chairs has become difficult. With the chair I can lift up and step right out of the chair.

The Jazzy Ultra 1103 has the typical allotment of two batteries. They run the 6-speed chair all day and then some without effort. The motors are almost silent and can propel the chair up to five miles/ hour. The joystick controller makes it easy to steer the chair with precise control, and releasing it instantly applies the brakes to stop on a dime.

The power lift seat can be used at any time but a low center of gravity is safer when cruising the streets That's why Pride has programmed a speed inhibitor to slow the chair down based on the height of the seat to avoid tipping over.

After two full days using the chair, and I've put lots of miles on it, the chair has become a lifesaver and I've made a number of observations.

While counterintuitive, riding around in the power chair is exhausting. At the end of the day I am wiped out and fall into bed. Perhaps this is due to the constant leaning over uneven surfaces and using muscles not normally used.

I am impressed with how many people are willing to help me out about town. Whether opening doors, clearing obstacles, or fetching things, the kindness of strangers is much appreciated.

Living with restricted mobility requires advanced planning for every outing. I find I spend a lot of time trying to remember how the restrooms are arranged at a particular place. If it's not accommodating, I don't go there. If I'm not familiar with a place, I skip it.

The amount of effort to live in a chair and the obstacles encountered every day make me appreciate those who do this all the time. It is better than it used to be with aids like my power chair, but it's still a big effort. Those who are permanently challenged are my heroes.