Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Wheelchair Process Continues

On Thursday Nov 5 we returned to the Rehab Institute of Chicago (RIC). This time the people at RIC had finished their research and had a wheelchair they wanted me to try. They had considered our concerns about having a wheelchair that would work in our house. We had a number of specific concerns. Would a different wheelchair still allow me to get to the shower? Would a different wheelchair make it possible for me to remain in the chair all day? Would a new wheelchair allow me to have both the ventilator and humidifier mounted on the wheelchair? Currently I must transfer from my wheelchair to my recliner and back to the wheelchair a number of times during the day. Having both the ventilator and humidifier mounted on the wheelchair would mean I wouldn’t need to connect and disconnect the humidifier from the ventilator every time I transferred. Both connecting and disconnecting the humidifier and transferring are becoming a safety issue. Finally we had a concern about being able to use the new wheelchair in our existing van.

We were both pleased to see that the wheelchair they thought would work for us had a slightly shorter footprint. Also the seat height from the floor appeared to be about the same as my current wheelchair. After spending some time reviewing and addressing our concerns they wanted me to transfer to the new wheelchair and take it for a test drive around the hallways. I was pleasantly surprised; the new wheelchair was much more comfortable than my wheelchair. This is important because one of my goals is to be able to spend my day in the new chair and for that to happen the new wheelchair must be at least as comfortable as my recliner.

After spending about one hour in the new chair while discussing additional options, things like a laptop computer tray, I would need on a new chair it was time to transfer back to my wheelchair. I really didn’t want to transfer. One reason I didn’t want to transfer was I had reached the end of my energy level and was totally exhausted. Another reason was that my wheelchair isn’t a comfortable chair, when we got it 7 years ago; the sales person hadn’t order the correct length seat. Also my health condition has changed, I have gained weight, must use a ventilator, have trouble seating upright plus many other health changes. All combined contribute to making my wheelchair uncomfortable.

After spending about 2 hours at RIC, they had all the information they needed. Now they write up everything I need on the new wheelchair and send a letter containing the new wheelchair specifications to my neurologist for her signature. After receiving the neurologist signature they submit everything to our health insurance company for their approval, something I hope we receive. Once they have received the insurance company approval they will order the wheelchair from the manufacture. Then once they receive the wheelchair from the manufacture they will make the additional modification to the wheelchair for my special needs. They told us that hopefully sometime in February 2010 I will receive the new wheelchair.

After I have the new wheelchair, I must contact my handicapped van manufacturer and have them come out and install the electronic locking system for the new wheelchair in my van. So as you can see, we are only at the beginning of an extremely long process.


Blogger Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Ah, it is a long process...But I hope it will all be successful and you won't be too tired. It sounds great that you have a better possibility than the chair you use now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:07:00 PM PST  

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