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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The "w" word.

The prospect of getting a new wheelchair for Christian wasn't an exciting one. When you're about to have a baby, you don't plan for the day when you'll say, "Gee! I can't wait to pick out my baby's wheelchair!" You plan for nurseries, you choose whether you'll bottle feed or breast feed, but you do not plan for a wheelchair.

When we were first faced with the realization that a regular stroller wouldn't be enough to transport Christian, it was early on, while still at the hospital. The PT showed me a picture of the Convaid Cuddlebug and I loved it. I mean it certainly didn't look like any wheelchair I'd ever seen. It resemble more of a stroller than a wheelchair. And we didn't really have to call it a...the "w" word. It was really more of a special needs stroller.

It's been almost two years since we met Mr. Cuddlebug and he's served his purpose. But Christian has grown and we've grown. As much as it pains me to admit it, Christian isn't walking and is still very much in need of some alternative form of legs. That is undeniable.

It was time for the "w" word.

A wheelchair.

It wasn't at all a dramatic and tragic acceptance if that's what it seems like. It was more of a gradual acceptance of something that was once so hard to wrap my brain around. And now? I know my son's abilities and I know my son's needs. And he needs this. So it's not sad at all.

That doesn't mean I wasn't a wee bit reluctant to go through with the process. I've learned a lot of things but wheelchairs was a subject I wasn't hyped up about enough to do any kind of research.

We went for the fitting a few months ago and decided on a chair. We chose the color, black opal, which was, honestly, the funnest part of the process. We waited and then got the call that it was in.

I still dragged my feet into that appointment. I saw the miniature version of a wheelchair waiting for us and I didn't want to look at it dead on so I gazed elsewhere. While we were waiting for a couple more adjustments, I flipped through their catalog. I saw pictures of other wheelchairs that didn't look so much like wheelchairs. They looked more transitional. They were cuter. Did we make the right decision? Why couldn't we have chosen something cuter? Did it have to look so wheelchair-y?

And then it was time for Christian to try it out.

(Cue the magical fairy god mother bells)

Everything changed. It was perfect.

He sat up straight. He looked comfortable. It was perfectly fitted to him. This became the most exciting appointment of the year in a matter of minutes. He looked different. He looked older. He looked all kinds of good and it was apparent that this is exactly what he needed and I couldn't be happier with the chair.

Showing off his new wheels for the first time at school. 

It just so happened to be Halloween that day.

This is where Christian sits. Do the lateral pads for trunk support look crooked to you? That's because they are. They were set up like that to correct Christian's curve. He curves to the right so these pads put pressure at the bottom and top of Christian's rib cage to correct this curve. And he looks ten times better for it.

I haven't quite decided where to put my cup holder, left side or ride side. Yes, I got a cup holder. Mama needs a hook up, too.

This wheelchair is not just a wheelchair. It will be Christian's legs for the next few years. He hasn't been this tolerant while in the chair since he was medicated into submission. We've been to the grocery store, trick or treating, and to a parade. He is so comfortable and sits up so straight, it's the best thing that's happened to him lately. I absolutely love it.

And I'm not afraid to say it anymore. I love Christian's WHEELCHAIR!


SummerJ said...

He looks so comfortable, sitting up so straight and strong! And he looks like such a big boy headed into school; it feels like our August babies have grown up overnight!

ferfischer said...

AWESOME with a capital A! As you know, we got the same wheelchair - with a different seat, but same concept - keeps her straight and tall! I admit, I was calling Cici's stroller a wheelchair long before we got one, because of the nasty looks I would get when taking it places with a big kid inside. You're a year ahead of me with the wheelchair, and it's awesome! Also, mama totally needs a hookup too, I agree - a cupholder was the first thing I bought! I love our wheelchair for so many reasons. Perhaps I should post about it too!

Anonymous said...

I hate Gabe's wheelchair, too. He had a stroller-type chair that definitely looked more like a stroller. His current wheelchair is this huge mechanical industrial looking thing. And its about as long as a double stroller. Ah well, as you said, it's serving its purpose. You're right, choosing a wheelchair is definitely not something I ever planned on doing (until old age)!


Anonymous said...

PS - christian's doesn't look bad at all.

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