DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Can we find the narrowmatic?

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Jay Kranis

My life story...

I suffered a spinal cord injury in 1969 and was, for the most part confined to a wheelchair for about two years.  With a wife and a baby, I moved around quite a bit.  A law school classmate told me of a device his wheelchair-bound sister used to ease her travel experiences.  It was called a “narrowmatic”, which was simple in its design and extraordinary in its effect.  One portion of the device hooked on to the frame of the seat of the wheelchair.  The other portion hooked over the arm rest.  On top of the device was a crank.  If the crank was turned in a clockwise direction it would pull the seat up, to an extent limited only by the width of the body in the seat.  The result was to significantly reduce the width of the chair, thus enabling its occupant to navigate narrow doorways, the entrance to bathroom stalls, etc.  For me, it enabled a maintenance of my pre-injury life and lifestyle.  Although I am long since removed from my wheelchair, I have never forgotten my narrowmatic.  As a result, in recent years I have reached out to health care professionals, especially those who care for those suffering  from spinal cord injuries and are confined to wheelchairs.  I was shocked to find that not one was familiar with the narrowmatic.  I tried researching the narrowmatic  and came up empty handed.  I share this note in the hope that knowledge of the narrowmatic might inspire someone to explore further and perhaps reinvent what I believe is a truly life saving device.

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