After the thrilling surprise of the power chair on Monday, I thought that would assuredly top the list of This Week’s Highlights. Well, perhaps it’s still tied for the lead, but there weren’t any dull moments this week.
On Friday morning I awoke looking forward to digging into our last big box project, hoping to finally reclaim our living room from the Public Storage brown cardboard decor we had going on. Kyle awoke, with a terribly swollen throat, and changed those plans.
After seeing the doctor, we went to the lab for bloodwork. I waited just outside the lab door, by the elevator. I smiled when I saw him coming, looking rather pale. He said, “Oh, Mom, I don’t feel so good” and gave me a hug. I love it when my big boys do that. Then, it became a really big hug. “Oh…he is so sweet!!!” I thought. Whoops…wait a minute, he wasn’t showing me affection, he was passing out in my arms. Cold. I couldn’t hold him up, but managed to break his fall to the floor. So, there he lay, completely out, right in front of the elevators. The poor folks trying to get off were quite shocked when the doors opened.
The hospital’s rapid response team arrived very quickly, just as Kyle began to come around. A wheelchair ride to the ER, a wide-open IV of fluids and some steroids had Kyle feeling much better by the time we got the diagnosis: mononucleosis. Ugh. His pediatrician had suspected this, and warned that if he did have it she wouldn’t clear him to play contact sports for three months, because of swelling in his spleen. There goes this year’s water polo season!
He’s been utterly miserable and in great pain. His throat is so swollen that eating solids is completely out, while even drinking is difficult. We would so appreciate your prayers for his comfort and healing!
On the upside, we met another of the cadre of wheelchair technician angels yesterday. Pete brought the new stroller that we had ordered and anxiously anticipated. During months of googling “reclining wheelchair” I found an amazing chair that has all the features I wanted. But there was more…it has an innovative design that may help Abbie’s posture, muscle tone, and ability to work with her hands.
Here’s our new “Thevo Twist”
One special feature is has is flexible lateral supports — those black things sticking out midway up her seat. In normal wheelchairs that is exactly what they do…stick straight out to help keep the child sitting straight. But, often they end up getting is the way of the arms, and not being a good fit. These ones, while retaining some rigidity, wrap around Abbie’s midsection and buckle together. What a difference this has made in keeping her back straight! And, after 5 years we finally have a head rest that works and keeps her head aligned with her body — woo-hoo!
It reclines all the way back, and has already proven a GREAT place to change Abbie without having to transfer her. This means we can always keep her clean and comfortable no matter where we are at; important now that she has outgrown the changing stations in public restrooms.
This is what is so different about it:
The back of the chair is not solid, but is constructed of rows of these sensors. When Abbie’s body moves, these respond, giving her input that helps her know where her body is in space. This specific type of input has always been very helpful to Abbie, and leads to her sitting up straighter, having more head control, and relaxing and moving more fluidly. The suspension on the stroller is also adjustable. With the pull of a pin, the shock system is locked, so that the Abbie will feel every bump and jiggle…leading to even more sensory input for her. I had high hopes for this stroller, and now, actually having it here with Abbie, it has far exceeded them.
We purchased a new car seat from the same company. It is very adjustable and supportive, but the coolest part is that it has an iPod plug at at the bottom of the seat that feeds to speakers situated within the head rest. I plugged my iPod into the seat and let Abbie listen. This is her response:
We purchased both of these items from a company called “Exomotion” www.exomotion.com. They are the only American importer for these, produced by Thomashilfen in Germany. Exomotion is located in Seattle, and I cannot say enough about their terrific customer service. If you have a child who may be in need of a new chair in the near future, I urge you to check out what they have. Getting this chair has been life-changing, and I know other wheelchair families will recognize that statement is not hyperbole.
As this week comes to a close, I just feel very, very blessed. I pray as you reflect on your life, that same sense comes over you!