…………………………….now I feel compelled at this point to make it very clear that I am in no way, linked to this company. I receive no financial compensation from them for writing this blog; in fact truth be told I get the impression they have never heard of social media and will never get to read this. Nor will I receive a reduction on the products I am purchasing from them following my visit this weekend. I am however proud to promote them as a company as they in my opinion went above and beyond what could even be considered good customer service.
The story begins several weeks ago when my OT recommended researching profile rising beds to help me to be able to return to sleep in my own bed instead of the Sofa for the first time in months. I asked if she knew of any firms that we could visit as we were drawing a blank online finding somewhere local that I could try the beds out. It seems crazy that if we were a “normal” couple we have a plethora of shops to go to and lay on the beds, picking the firmness rating of the mattress and the design of the bed and all for under £500. Spending 4 times that amount and it is nigh on impossible to even try out the mattress let alone the bed mechanism. Our local Lloyds pharmacy that now have expanded out only stock one bed and that is too lightweight for me. Others we found the same issue. In desperation I asked my OT and she said that she was not allowed to make recommendations. I said that’s fine, I’m not after a recommendation, but lets say you were funding my bed where would you look? I was given two names.
Although Felgains is over an hours drive with Granny living in Ipswich we go there regularly. I filled in an online inquiry and later the same day received a phone call from them. I outlined the issues I was having and what I was looking for which was a bed and a new wheelchair (the one I have is a second hand one and not measured for my frame, although needs must and at the time we’d just spent a fortune on other things). I told the lady I spoke to that we were visiting Granny on the 6th February so could we visit on our way through. I was told no problem.
When the literature came through from them they had supplied a few alternative wheelchairs, including the updated version of mine along with a range of beds that are suitable for the “few extra pounds” I now carry! Included was a note saying they did not open on a Saturday (I know 21st Century and not opening at weekends, what a business model) and that the lady hadn’t realised that when speaking to me it was a Saturday, however if I called the week before she would open just for us on that day as she knew we were coming such a long way. WOW I couldn’t believe this talk about going out of your way for someone! I spoke to Felgains during the week and we arranged to meet at 10am on Saturday.
Upon arrival the lady (E) who I would conservatively guess to be close to retirement age and reminded me of a retired nun (if there is such a thing, I don’t know why she just did) had arrived early and moved a selection of wheelchairs she thought would be suitable for me to the front of the store. When we arrived she asked me whether I wanted to try the wheelchairs or the beds first and knowing we had just completed a long drive and that my pain was through the roof I elected for the beds. I figured if I could lay in relative comfort at that point it would be a good test for how useful the bed would be. She spoke about the different beds they had in stock and suggested the one she thought would be best suited to my frame, weight etc. She then asked what side of the bed would I usually get into, from what side would my wheelchair approach. Sods law it was the side of the bed that was against the wall of the shop.
Without batting an eyelid this small framed lady started shoving the next bed over so she could move the one I needed to try out, I felt guilty stood there watching and even more guilty when my wife started helping her. Here was me standing (well when I stand or lie) at close to 9 inches taller than either of them and probably heavier than their combined weights. Nonetheless in next to no time the bed had been moved and I was being shown the controls by E. They were simple enough even for me to use and with the added benefit that with the mattress they had put on I could get on and off whilst it was raised I had very little problem (compared to normal) getting on the bed. In next to no time I had fiddled with the buttons so that I was laying in a comfortable position, I could have cried – ridiculous statement to make I know but I really could have cried, that moment meant I knew I could finally get back into my own bed and actually share a bed with my wife. A novelty and hopefully the first step towards bringing a smile on my face. At this stage we hadn’t talked about money, maybe this was her ploy, get me comfortable laying down and hit me with the sucker punch. Instead she actually said, just lay there a little while and make sure it is OK. Then her and my wife started discussing the various options that were available on the bed, two singles that could join together, one bed frame that could hold two mattresses and either one or both could be profile moving beds. There was two width options and the whole time I was lying there happy.
Then we moved onto wheelchairs, I explained that I was having an issue with the slightest bump and being pitched forward out of the wheelchair, and that the low back on it meant that I was always in pain when sitting upright. We tried a couple out and I was drawn to the middle of the range one. Having explained the issue I was having E let us take the chair out of the store for my wife to pus me over a few bumps so we could see the impact it had and whether it propelled me forward. Pleased to say this chair felt far more stable. The began what I can only describe as the most thorough measuring up of a chair I have experienced, equalled only by the the professional Occupational Health Assessments I had at work when I was measured up for my chairs. Leg measurements were taken at each of my joints, the pitch of the chair (back slope of the seat) was measured and we discussed various options like it was a new car. Colour choice (I’ll keep this as a surprise), solid or air tyres, size of front wheels (did I want them reduced for sports – I wish), Crutch Holder, shame it wasn’t beer holder, there was 4 pages of options.
At the end of all this the wheelchair was confirmed and a price that although wasn’t cheap was pleasantly less than we anticipated. We were also given an approximate cost of the bed and told that combined they would look to do the two at the best price they could. We were not put under any pressure to sign anything on the day, despite E coming in just to see us. She took all our details and agreed to call me tomorrow/well today now it is Monday in the UK and said they would send out an order confirmation for each item for us to sign and agree on the price. The shop itself did look like we’d stepped back in time when you see some of the sleek lines and minimalist spaces but we also had stepped back in time with regards to being treated like human beings. E explained that we may be able to get help and support from our local social services and asked if we had explored this option. We explained we had but again she needn’t have done this. Being a shop specialising in disability it was fully accessible as you would expect with plenty of room to manouver around the shop itself. There was some fake stairs to try out stair lifts, cushions, pillows, walking sticks, rise and recline chairs, mobility scooters, baths with an assortment of transfer aids, you name it they stocked it.
I cannot speak highly enough for them, their staff member, making me feel special and unique to them in a good way – directed questions at me and not my “carer” gave us time to think and ask questions, nothing was too much trouble. They certainly aren’t the closest mobility specialist to us but they were excellent and if I need anything in the future (once the bed and chair are purchased) they will certainly be on my first to call list. I know they may not be able to compete with internet prices but I also know I am getting a wheelchair designed and set up for me, something I couldn’t get off the net easily and also I am confident of the aftercare I will receive in the event of there being any issues. If you are in East Anglia and you want to visit an excellent store you could do far worse than visit Felgains. Do not let the look outside put you off, they say never judge a book by its cover and this is certainly one of those places. Over the moon at being made to feel like a person in a shop, all being well all items could be here by the middle of March and cannot thank E enough.