There are some things so wonderful that they deserve their own blogpost….not just a Facebook status. This prayer has been in the works for many months now, and the transition from Ohio to Tennessee made the answer seem that much more impossible. But God loves to work with the impossible doesn’t He?
About a year ago, I had a bone density scan that showed that I already am developing osteoporosis in my legs. As a paraplegic, we cannot weight bear on our bones, so they become weak and brittle (osteoporosis). That concerned my neurologist and he recommended that I need a piece of equipment called a standing frame that will stand you up and hold you in place. Like most medical equipment, it cost thousands of dollars! Insurance does not like to pay for these things as they do not see them as medically necessary.
The other issue was when I hurt my shoulder in a transfer. I realized very quickly how important my shoulders were to me. My arms have to be arms and legs for me and I need to take care of them! A manual chair is quite easy to use….if you stay indoors on your hardwood floors. But anywhere after that is a challenge.
Anywhere there is carpet, you have to exert much more force to push through. Who would have thought? You think that the ramps are hard, and they are, but at least they are short and over with. However, get us outside where there is a beautiful and long hill and we are exhausted…or the people with us are because of pushing us! Grass, gravel, and long days at a zoo or event have us so worn out. We already get tired much more quickly because of our compromised neurological systems, but add a hard day of pushing and we are truly almost to the point of physical exhaustion. A fun day out with the family (like Dollywood) takes me a complete day of rest to cover. It is a good trade off though to be with my family.
I don’t want to use an electric wheelchair until I have to. I like the workout my upper body gets from pushing (I am already limited enough to workouts), and electric chairs are very heavy so they are impractical to take with you anywhere. If you have a vehicle where you could drive into your van than they become practical again, but I need all the seats of my van for kids so no rampage is possible. You are also then limited to only be able to travel in that vehicle. No more hopping in a car with a friend for some girl time. How boring is that? So, for now, electric chairs are not what I want.
But what if there was an option to have both? The lightweight flexibility of a manual chair that lets you do all the work, but with a gadget that will give you a power boost when you need it? Some awesome genius invented such a gadget!! It is called the SmartDrive Power Assist and I won’t even try to describe it because this video will show you. It is the most ingenious solution I have ever seen (there are others, but to me they are not practical). This gadget allows your chair to look the same so it is pleasing to the eye, it only adds about 12 lbs to the weight of your chair (which is very important if you are pushing that weight around or loading and unloading your chair), it has turn on/off features which allow you to only use it when you want, and it is very easy to take on and off so that you don’t even have to use it until you need it.
The only problem I could find in my research was, that like everything else, it costs a lot of money. Actually, it costs around $5000! So, like the standing frame, it is far out of my reach.
I decided to call my physical therapist that worked with me for so long and see if he could help me. I saw him several times as he did evaluations and we started the paper journey with insurance and a great medical supply store (Care Medical) in Cincinnati. It has been a long journey of phone calls, paper trails, multiple doctor and therapy appointments, and complications caused from our moving to a different state.
However….I am very thrilled to announce that I got the call that the standing frame and the Smart Drive were both approved by insurance to be paid for 100%!!!!! I am beyond excited! I am thankful to The Lord for this working out, and I am thankful to my doctors, physical therapist and Care Medical for their diligence to fight for me and my long term health.
I am one very blessed gal.