Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Process Begins for a New Wheelchair

A while ago I noticed, that when sitting in my wheelchair, I have a tendency to lean forward and that it was hard for me to not lean forward. I also found I was becoming extremely tired after being in my wheelchair for an hour or so. When I mentioned this to my neurologist, she said that the time has arrived for me to get wheelchair that has a tilt and recline feature. She gave me the name of a local wheelchair store so we called and talked to them. However, they told us that they were not qualified to determine which features I would need in a new wheelchair. After calling a number of other wheelchair providers we decided to go to the Rehab Institute of Chicago (RIC). We know that they specialize in helping people who need the type of wheelchair that my doctor wants.

It took about a month before we could get an appointment, but last week Thursday we went into Chicago and had our first meeting with RIC. We were impressed with the service we received. The first thing they did was take a detailed medical history and then they sat and spent time just talking about my daily routine. They asked a lot of questions about the house, the van, how much I spent outside and how I spent my days in the house. They asked if I had a full time helper when P was at work, how I got my midday meal, bathed and dressed. In other words they covered a lot of background information.

I was amazed at the many different styles of wheelchairs available now. There are rear wheel drive wheelchairs, like the one I currently have. There are front wheel and mid wheel drive wheelchairs. There are wheelchairs with feet rests that fold up. There are wheelchairs with feet rests which will swing to the side. Some chairs where the ventilator can be mounted on the back of seat. Then there are other wheelchairs that have an articulating ventilator tray. We found out that some wheelchairs allow the ventilator external battery to be mounted under the wheelchair; other wheelchairs must have a special platform for the external ventilator battery.

As we were leaving RIC, the people we were talking to said they were going to contact a number of wheelchair manufactures with questions that we had raised in an attempt to try to get the best wheelchair to meet my special needs. Because I have been in a wheelchair so long and now will be getting a completely different wheelchair, I have been writing lists of questions and emailing them to RIC.

And so begins the task of trying to get a different wheelchair, one that will better fit me now that my condition has changed. This was only the first step in getting a different wheelchair. After all the RIC appointments we will begin the task of talking to the insurance company to see if they will approve payment for a different wheelchair. If the insurance company, for whatever reason, turns down the request, I won’t be getting a new wheelchair because they cost tens of thousand dollars.


Blogger Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Hi, I am Kristi and live in Ohio and read Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods every morning which is how I found your blog - from reading comments on one of her posts....I just wanted to say that I will pray for you and your family every day from now on. Two years ago my dear husband of 35 years died with Alzheimer's among other things. But his first diagnosis was severe white matter disease. I see you have another demyelinating illness. Having traveled this journey with Paul, I became aware of how many people suffer from some manner of this. It is not well known, but I think they are doing more and more research......Anyway, I just wanted you to know I will pray for you. And isn't Britt-Arnhild's blog a wonderful thing! So full of connection to life and beauty and goodness. And a way to become aware of others. Peace!I hope you do not mind my commenting.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 6:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger UP said...


Thanks for the post and the prayers. It certainly has been an interesting journey so far.

I really enjoy Britt-Arnhild's blog which I also read every morning and enjoy traveling along with her.

UP of MyTipy

Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 9:52:00 AM PDT  

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