If you've ever found yourself at Western Missouri Medical Center and needed some mobility assistance. I hope you've been able to use a good old-fashioned wheelchair and not this device that I've dubbed "the wheels of pain".

Whether you need an assist into the emergency room, physical therapy, or even the infusion clinic. There always seems to be a wheel-chair or one of these funky chairs on wheels available. Although, there seem to be more of these funky chairs than good old-fashioned wheelchairs available.

In some respects, they're kind of genius. The seat is a little higher. The arms on the sides lift up so you can slide in and out. And the brake is always on unless someone is pressing on the handlebars. It's also a little easier to steer than a traditional wheelchair.

The problem is the back and the seat cushions on the chair. They're hard as a rock. And it doesn't take that long for it to become uncomfortable for the passenger. There just isn't much of a cushion on the chair.

The first time we had to use one for my wife Kathy, she hoped it would be her last. Already dealing with some back pain, having to spend any amount of time in this type of chair just made it worse.

A couple of weeks ago, at one of her physical therapy sessions, I sat in one of these contraptions for about 20 minutes while she did her work. I could feel my butt cheeks aching five minutes in, and told Kathy on the way out I'd sit in the waiting room after pushing her in next time.

The thing is, I don't think people consider that a patient could be sitting in this funky wheelchair for a while. Unfortunately, Kathy's health issues lead us to the emergency room multiple times. In chairs, she stayed in the wheelchair. And one of the times, she stayed in the wheelchair for the entire visit. It's manageable in a traditional wheelchair, however, in the "wheels of pain", not so much.

We're thankful that the medical center has plenty of wheelchairs to help patients get into and out of the medical buildings there. It's been very helpful and made accessing services at Western Missouri Medical Center easier for us. That said, a little more padding on the seat and back of these funky-looking wheelchairs might be just what the doctor ordered.


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