Today, Jillian and I took off to Holland Bloorview to start trialing wheelchairs for Jillian to begin school. SCHOOL. I might be allowing myself a little freak out about this whole school thing now. I mean, I’m going to have to take up a hobby or a job. Or get a puppy. Pretty sure that last one isn’t an option. I’ll have to clean up someone else’s poop.
Our first assessment didn’t go well. Actually, that’s an understatement. It went horribly. Jillian had decided to get it in her head she didn’t want to be there, she didn’t want to participate and she certainly didn’t want a new chair. All while the OT and seating specialist talked specs for a new chair. The OT was surprised that Jillian had little to NO core tone. I said “She’s faking. She’s decided she doesn’t want to be here. Jillian, I have smarties in my purse, sit up for 5 minutes please” and she did. The OT chuckled to herself and said “I know it’s not right to laugh, but I have a 3.5 year old too. If she doesn’t want to do something, she just doesn’t do it”. There was another family waiting to trial the same chairs that Jillian was about to try, so we opted to come back in a few weeks to get the process started.
Today was that day! We were a little bit late, but I tend to be late everywhere since I had children. I really do miss the pre-children punctual me. Ahhhh. Where did that girl go!? Anyway, back to the task at hand. Lately I have been asked A LOT how I felt about Jillian getting a wheelchair. I answered that I was a) excited and b) I need to learn how to run. Reason a) is mostly for independence. This whole “wheelchair” isn’t a new concept for me. When we first received her first chair, it looked like a stroller. Some of my friends said I should just call it a stroller, but I explained I needed to call a spade a spade and get used to saying “pediatric wheelchair”. Reason b)? Well, Lauren was never a wanderer, I have a very sneaking suspicion that Jillian will simply say “bye mom!” and take off. Note to self: Must buy new running shoes.
Pardon me, I’m taking a trip down memory lane… Jillian, 18 months, first wheelchair, Kimba by Ottobach
From left to right: Helio, Quickie 2, TiLite Aero, colours available for the body of the chair and hardware.
We started off with the Quickie II, it was a decent enough chair, looked pretty cumbersome and rather heavy, I didn’t try it out though. Sitting next to the Quickie was the Helio and we didn’t even pay much attention to that one. That one would have been pretty beneficial if I had a smaller trunk, it is more compact. Jillian did do pretty well with this one. Obviously we’ll have to work on her driving skills. Thank goodness she’s only using it for independence. I’m thanking my lucky stars it’s not a car.
In the end, we decided to try the TiLite Aero Z. The poor Helio was never given a second thought. Jillian immediately loved this chair. The frame is purple and she was just drawn to it. We did talk a lot about how light weight it is, transportable, etc. The OT even said that this particular chair is often used for sports and paraplegics like it a lot. I may or may not have snorted when she said “sports”. I don’t think anyone in this family is good with sports!
We get to try the chair for another 3 weeks. Then we’ll talk customization and specs. It’s looking quite exciting! Let’s just hope that Jillian won’t change her mind eleventy billion times about the colour before it comes in. There will be a few extra components that Jillian doesn’t actually need, but they’ll be mandatory for traveling on the bus to and from school next year. *Gulp…* the bus. Hold me, I’m skeered!