Joshua and I will be going to his Wheelchair Services appointment on Wednesday this week and I feel like a fraud as he barely uses it any more. He used to take it to and from school every day until I had a brainwave last year, and now it goes in on Monday and does not come home until Friday as we rarely used it in the evenings. Last Friday I told school to keep it over the weekend as we would not be using it, as he objects so much to sitting in it these days. Then of course we could have used it on Friday night as he had seizures on the way home and we had planned a walk with a friend, but as it was, he refused to get out of the car and saw I brought him home instead.
These wheelchair services appointments are rare and precious : he was measured for a replacement last year and only now we are seeing the wheelchair rep. I believe. Things move so slowly within that service that I am going through with the appointment as he may want to use a wheelchair more again by the time it is delivered. I recall one of the early appointments that we had that the lady measured him for a small child’s chair, saying that it would be a better fit, but by the time it finally arrived, he had outgrown it and it was useless to him. So I see these appointments as being an investment for his unknown future.
The trouble is that I do not think that what I asked for actually exists : it needs to be solid enough so that it can withstand him stamping on the footplates without them bending or snapping off even, but to be lightweight and compact so that it can easily fit in the car boot. If we are talking about future proofing, then it needs to take account of the fact that I might struggle to lift it into the car in the future. His current one, with large wheels, is particularly awkward to manhandle, it is not so much its weight that is a problem when lifting it into the car boot, but there is no obvious place to hold onto to get a solid grip. Concerned friends have also suggested that we need some electric assistance when pushing up hills, but I have not requested that much future proofing as any battery pack would also make it heavier to push, so that would be a mixed blessing.
I do need to face the stark reality that as Joshua gets heavier and stronger as a young man, that I will be getting weaker and older. I always say that, because his right arm does not work, that his left arm is super-powered, and he can move quickly when he really wants to – we often have tussles and battles of will during our weekly Tesco supermarket shopping. I much prefer him walking round with me, pushing the trolley, and being more involved, rather than me pushing him around in the store wheelchair, as we used to do.But I have to admit that it is much harder work and I am much less likely to buy everything on my list, as we negotiate over which aisles I am allowed to go down and I am dragged towards the tills when he has had enough.
So the idea of this appointment at wheelchair services is that it will make life easier for us and more comfortable for Joshua, but we will see what they are suggesting and how cooperative he will be, I am not too optimistic.