Friday, 17 June 2011

Skwirrelling about

When the spinal surgeon said that the Little Princess would probably stay very short, he dismissed our concerns over this by mentioning the possibility of a powered chair with a seat raiser.

When the next surgeon mentioned that tLP's arms might get weaker, and that she might have more difficulty propelling her manual chair, we decided to look for a chair which had the ability to go down low and fit properly under primary school sized tables.

And we found three options. The K450 MX from Permobil, the SnapDragon from Dragon Mobility, and the Skwirrel, supplied in this country by Joncare. All slightly different, with very different price tags. Having taken a good look, we decided the Skwirrel was our best beastie; apart from anything else, Joncare are very local to us (so close, in fact, that the rep turns out to live at the house where our cats run off to when they have had enough of the food I offer them). There's a definite advantage to local suppliers. Apart from when they steal your cats. Oh, and, they promised us that the chair could be with us just 4 weeks after placing the order.

So, four weeks ago, we signed on the dotted line, had a very important consultation as to colour (it is supposed to look like a friend's Mini, but unfortunately Ice Blue wasn't on the RAL chart), did some measurements, and handed over a large wodge of cash for a deposit.

I then spoke to Wheelchair Services, who had offered a pretty generous voucher towards it. They sent out the paperwork, giving me accidental kittens when the amount on the letter was for a manual rather than a powerchair, but correcting it quickly and paying Joncare their share by return of post. Hurrah for efficient practice.

And today was The Day. tLP woke up on top form and even consented to eat something for breakfast, in order to have enough energy for the Big Event. We drove round to Joncare, and were greeted with a large cardboard box, decorated with bows, ribbons, a special message to the Little Princess, and of course the signature Skwirrel.

Inside the box:

One rather stunning new wheelchair. The Little Princess decided to try to climb into it herself,

but was defeated, mainly through many of us telling her it wasn't quite ready yet, so took a brief break
before finally being lifted in and handed over ownership.

Note luggage rack for her sister's suction pump Very Important Things.

Most adjustments and tweaks and the inevitable sawing a couple of inches off the foot plates, and then we were free to head outside.
where tLP found herself temporarily interrupted again, as extra tweaks were made to the rather intelligent controller.

Finally, we handed over another large wodge of cash (well, a cheque, but it was a substantial cheque for all that), and were free to try to work out how to fit it into the van. Anyone know if Unwin make longer than standard front straps?

We cannibalised the spare rear straps and were off.

This afternoon, the Little Princess decided to take it for a walk.
I think it's going to take a little while for us to get used to front wheel drive (it's a bit like reversing whilst towing a trailer - turn left to go right, etc.), and a little while for her to get used to using her left hand rather than her right (the theory being this will free up her dominant hand to do all sorts of other things). And I know it'll take me a while to get used to walking the other side of her to hold hands.

But, she loves it. And, if at any time over the past two months, you had asked her why she needed a chair that goes up and down, she would tell you it was so that she could do this:
And now I can retire!



Tina said...

We have unwin quatro straps that are all karibina clips on retracting reels. I prefer them to the static front straps. All equal length. I am sure they would make longer webbing if you asked.

Anonymous said...

Love the new chair, and looks like the proud owner loves it too, which is the most important bit.

Happy to see recovery is going well!

PMDPeter said...

That is some big beastie. A bit like driving a fork truck only she is lifting herself instead of a seperate load.

Hope she gets tha hang of it very quickly. Seems she is almost there.


Anonymous said...

Wow--how neat and wonderful for her-Power chairs can be such a big help for the owners and relief for caregivers

MOM2_4 said...

What an amazing set of wheels! I'm sure she'll have all the particulars of driving it down in no time. YAY!!!

Becca said...

gorgeous chair - I'm jealous!

Unwins do a load of different things but I suspect what you actually need is these, depending on how much extra length you need on the straps.

Next chance you get, have someone round off the corners of that big square footplate, it's making the Little Princess have an unnecessarily wide turning circle...


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