I had an appointment last week with a PT; her task was to evaluate me for a power wheelchair. Yes, I finally got the ball rolling. It feels a bit surreal, and not a little scary. Why scary? It is symbolically the biggest change to date in my mobility.
But after this last week, I am feeling ready. I've been on my feet a lot this week, doing more physical labor than I have for a while (cleaning and organizing my studio - with help from my friends). I've been in a tremendous amount of pain and my fatigue level is off the charts. My upright stability continues to decline, near-falls are increasing, walking is so tiring and unpleasant because of the way I have to move my body to make it go forward. The toddlers walk better than I do! I suppose I could take lessons from Ms. R, who, does an elegant spin and fall.
The assessment was fairly straightforward. The PT - Christine - asked a lot of questions about how I get around, what my pain level is, the progression of disability, and lots of medical stuff. She measured me, measured the strength in my arms and legs, range of motion in my feet. She watched me walk with the walker, watched as I tried a manual wheelchair (I can imagine using one in the house, but not out in the world), and then a power wheelchair. I was hoping to zip around the facility, but they'd had the speed adjusted so it only used the tortoise setting. It felt comfortable and "normal" - probably because I use my scooter so much.
Tomorrow the vendor, Jason, will bring a demo chair here to the house. While my concerns are physical and emotional, Laurie's concerns live in the realms of logistics and aesthetics. So we'll see how big a footprint this chair has, how it will work getting in and out of the house, through the rooms, how pathways through the rooms will need to be set up. I maintain that the wheelchair isn't much bigger than the walker and has a much tighter turning radius. We'll order a custom seat that can raise to counter height, so we can get rid of that kitchen stool. (Jason did inform me that Medicare has never paid for that feature, however.)
Laurie is hoping it isn't a "serious looking" wheelchair.
This is what I'm secretly hoping for: