Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Better Way to Weigh

I graduated high school at a lean, muscular, 180 pounds. It’s been a struggle ever since. But I kept things under control by eating less, exercising more, and monitoring my weight by stepping on scales. Today, I exercise not at all, and monitoring my weight has been a logistical challenge because the wheelchair keeps getting in my way. And I love to eat. Given all that I’m going through, don’t I deserve to eat what I want? (Hint: the correct answer is no.)

For a number of years, I utilized a local rehab hospital where I transferred to a special chair-scale. That involved making an appointment, driving across town, and bothering a nurse. After a while, the transfers became difficult, and I moved on.

I found another hospital with a different type of wheelchair scale — one I could drive up onto. I only needed to weigh my empty wheelchair once, and do the math. This worked for several years. As with the first hospital, however, I needed to make an appointment, have Kim drive me across town, and bother a nurse. When I bought my new Permobil wheelchair in December of 2016, the wheelbase was too long to fit on the wheelchair scale.

In the spring of this year I found a chemical engineering classmate of mine who is the mill manager at a local paper mill. He had a large floor scale in his receiving department and was good enough to allow me to use  it. But, once again, I had to make an appointment, bother a busy person, and have Kim drive me across town.

A few days ago, we figured out a way to weigh me at home. Hallelujah!

I purchased a small crane scale off Amazon, and Kim inserted it between my overhead lift and the sling I sit in for transfers. We can read the number off the scale, and I know my weight instantly without making an appointment, bothering a busy person other than Kim, or driving across town.

It’s little victories like this that constitute the forward portion of my "one step forward and two steps back" life.

My new problem? Now I have no excuse for failing to maintain a healthy weight.


  1. Brilliant!!! Please keep sharing your great ideas. You should write a book on how to live easier with MS. - Kathy

  2. Mitch, like you I'm an MS quad and I've been able to weigh myself on my refurbished Hill Rom hospital bed. But the bed scale quit and I began looking for options. I had just about decided on what's called a livestock scale, which is a roll-on scale about 4'x 5' used for weighing pigs, goats, sheep, etc.
    The price was around $130 and it could work for me.
    But the scale you use on Amazon looks so much better only my patient lift is an Invacare and the sling holder is shaped like a clothes hanger with hooks on both ends.
    I see yours comes with several optional attachments; do you feel it could work with about any patient sling? If so, I'm all over this hanging scale! :)

    1. here's what I think will work. Purchase the scale off Amazon. Go to a hardware store. Bring the scale and your sling and a picture of your lift. have one of the store employees help you figure out a cable or other fastener you can use to suspend the scale from your spreader bar. Then have them help you figure out a hook you can put on the bottom of the scale so that you can attach your four sling loops to it. The loops don't need to be spread out like they normally are for the few seconds you will be up in the air when you are being weighed. I only worry that the hook which comes with the scale isn't big enough to safely support all 4 sling loops. Does this make sense? Good luck!