Last week we went to the equipment clinic to get measured for new wheelchairs. Wheelchair design has improved in many ways since our early days. Just like buying a car, there are a gazillion options: Footplates, headrests, seatbelts, armrests, vent trays, oxygen holders, big wheels, little wheels, tilt, non-tilt. I could go on and on.
For us, it’s always an exciting day when we get to do this. The kids are allowed only one wheelchair every five years, so we have to know what we want, and envision what we may need for the few years ahead. This is all easier said than done.
Our needs are simple: comfort, pushability, and trays for vents, oxygen and suction. Apparently that is not very simple in wheelchair world! After measurements are taken, we begin to discuss options. Cushioned footplates, check. Padded headrests, check. Custom seating, check. Extra wide seatbelts for comfort, check. Vent tray, check. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, check… This continues for 45 minutes. As we near the end of our visit, our excitement builds. We have done this before and we know what comes next!
Choosing colors; it’s the best part! My eyes open wide, I am like a kid in a candy store! Will Kevin look best in Aztec Gold, Candy Red, Electric Blue, or Evergreen? Maybe he would like Green Apple, Rootbeer, or even Black Cherry? The colors in the brochure are vivid and bright. They all look great. Oh boy, I was not ready for all these color choices! Things have changed so much even in 5 years! And then there’s a selection of girl colors: Hot Sparkle Pink, Mauve Pink, Candy Purple, Sparkle Silver. My head is spinning with colors. I equate it to choosing a color for a shiny new car. Certainly a decked out wheelchair with every option should shine and sparkle.
In the end it was very simple. MaryEllen is all girl, all frilly and fancy and all pink. It’s mauve pink with sparkles for the princess girl! And Kevin, well, he’s had blue, and green and grey, so something in the red family would be a nice change. Black Cherry it is for the Kev man.
Now, we just sit back and wait. Just like ordering a car that is not yet built, we have to wait for our shiny new wheelchairs. It usually takes 9-12 months and we are happily awaiting that special day!