Imagine shoes that constrict your feet squeezing your pinky toe so it’s nail scrapes the skin of it’s neighbour. Sorry, you cant take them off at the end of a long afternoon…they must stay on until bedtime. Oh, and I forgot to mention that you will have to apply for new shoes by filling in extensive forms and be at the mercy of someone else’s decision. By the way….new shoes will be $14,000. Happy? No. Really? Are you not grateful that there is a special scheme (at the moment) so that the only outlay will be $400? Time to grab a damp cloth, wipe off the dripping sarcasm and do a happy dance in…wait for it…NEW shoes!. Well, wheels but effectively the same for a little poppet in a wheelchair. Navigating a process that began over nine months ago has been exhausting…that’s right, as long and tiring as growing a whole person!
Today was delivery day and the chicks rocked it! A little red-haired girl in an exhausted, grotty wheelchair was surrounded by a mobility expert, a rehab engineer, a physiotherapist and me (arguably a little bit of all of these). With a tussle of Allen keys (said rehab engineer could construct an Ikea village single-handed!) and a lot of hands on a tricky, wriggly girl a Mullholland GGS was adjusted to fit. Other staff popped past and the girl proudly received compliments. Apart from getting used to sitting properly again after slouching awkwardly for so long, she is happy. And so am I.
Yesterday it was as if the old chair knew it’s time was nearly over. Pushing it, and her, out of school along a flat, straight corridor was painful…for me, and her. A right hand turn involved hyperflexing my right arm and kicking a wheel with my left foot! A strange rattle came from…somewhere. When I grabbed the wheel to see if it was rubbing it moved, not round and round but sideways. Walking any faster than a snail created wobble in the front, left wheel that only resolved after coming to a complete stop then starting again. It had been quite some time between high pressure washes so to look under the chair was to risk ones lunch. Without sharing too much detail, tube feed leaks, reflux juices, fluff, dirt and long strands of red hair are not a pretty mix.
Many walks, races and four-wheel adventures on dirt tracks have been had. Countless strap downs in the car and bus, a flight and even a boat ride. It has worked hard and served her well so it is with thanks and joy that we say bye. With relief we say welcome new purple chair for no one should have to wear ill-fitting shoes for that long. So if you see us coming wave hello and you may want to get out of the way…it’s so much taller (and I may be a bit short) that with the hood on I cant actually see where we are going. Weeeeeeeeeee!