The Quadrankle

4 August, 2015

The Quadrankle is the quadriplegic’s equivalent of the plumber’s crack. It occurs because no matter how well a quad’s butler (or whoever dresses him in the morning) tucks the back of his jumper down under his bum, it gets pulled out when he bends forward, and by the end of the day it’s lifted half way up his back. The result is not a very cool look. He might be able to pull the front of the jumper over his pot belly, but when it rides up at the back he’s helpless, so he’s left with a triangle of undershirt showing on either side, with love handled bulging out like tubes from a ruptured tire. 

He may have someone who will pull his jumper down for him, but after the third sigh, he decides he will live with the Quadrankle look, as he lives with one or two other things. But now there’s a solution.

Teams of scholars have been working on this problem for a decade or two. Much of the research was sequestered out to universities around the world: Harvard, Oxford, Zurich and Saint Andrews; then the findings were collated and blind trials were conducted here in Melbourne, and today ladies and gentlemen, I can present the final solution to the Quadrankle problem. It was approved by the USDH last year and AIP by the AMA and the ANZDERUDC this year. And here it is (after you have been sworn to secrecy pending patent confirmation):

Go to Spotlight or buy online a meter long strip of black 10cm wide elastic. Buy strips of Velcro (both hook and loop types). Cut a 10cm piece of hook Velcro and sew or glue it to one end of the elastic. Take strips of loop Velcro and sew it to the inside of the bottom of the jumper at the middle of the back (if you can’t sew it on get the stick-on kind, it may stick sufficiently well to the jumper, for a while at least). Take another short strip of hook Velcro and glue it to the back of the wheelchair backrest in the middle.

Here’s how you use this breakthrough invention:

Take the Velcro on the end of the elastic and stick it to the Velcro on the back of the backrest (so to hold that end in place) then drape the elastic down the middle of the wheelchair so the other end dangled down the front of the cushion. Sit on the wheelchair (on top of the elastic) without your jumper on. Put your jumper halfway on. Detach the elastic from the back of the backrest and attach it to the Velcro on the bottom of the jumper. Pull your jumper down. Get your butler to come around the front of the chair and pull the elastic until the back of the jumper is pulled under your bum (if you can lift your bum off the cushion that would be a great help). Tidy up the jumper all around and tuck the elastic that’s dangling down between your knees under the wheelchair cushion. The elastic should now allow you to bend forward and back without creating a dreaded Quadrankle.

Dagwood Johnson is a sixty something man who sometimes likes to use a little black humour to find his way through the amusing rollercoaster of life. He has been living with C6/7 spinal cord injury since 1998. He is one of our regular volunteer bloggers.

Tags: Blog