My Wheelchair is Here!

But it certainly didn’t get here the easy way. I called the pharmacy that had the chair on back order this week and was told that yes, they had a 20″ chair in stock, but they needed an order from my doctor specifying a 20″ chair instead of the 22″ chair originally requested in October. No one had bothered to mention this to me in previous phone calls, and I was not happy. I asked if this needed to be on a specific form or say anything in particular and was told, no, just an order from a doctor for a 20″ chair.

So I sent a message to my doctor through the MyChart portal, passing this on with the fax number of the pharmacy, which the doctor acknowledged receiving. The next day I got a call from the pharmacy saying that the order was too general; it didn’t specify my height or weight, which apparently insurance needed to know to pay for the thing. No one had mentioned this to me in the previous calls either and I was even more unhappy. Can we say poor customer service?

Running out of patience, I asked if I could just pay for the thing myself and forget insurance which they said yes, could be done. Did they need to know my height and weight? No, just the credit card number. Oooookay. The chair was delivered late that afternoon – and I discovered that it had the wrong footrests. There are two kind, the standard one that just has a little platform for the foot and keeps the leg at a 90 degree angle at the knee, or an elevated kind that can raise the feet up in front of you. I’ve used those before and they are cumbersome and hard to use for a number of reasons. I didn’t want that, so I called the company AGAIN. I practically have them on speed dial now.

The woman at the pharmacy checked their equipment supply and said unfortunately, they didn’t have any standard footrests hanging around, but they DID get a new chair in that day that had standard ones. But it’s blue. Would that be okay? Honestly, I didn’t care if it was florescent orange as long as it was available. They came yesterday and took back the first one and left me the blue one – which has the right footrests but arms that I don’t like.

There are different kinds of wheelchair arms: full arm, which is raised the full length back to front, or desk arm, which drops down about 5″ in the front so the chair can pull under a table (or desk) more easily. And arms can be reversible or swing back but stay attached. Reversible arms means you can take desk arms, which are lower in the front, and switch them around so the taller part is in the front – which is really a lot easier when you try to stand up. I’ve had the taller height in front for five months. The new blue chair has desk arms that swing back but don’t reverse. I’d never seen one that did that so it never occurred to me to ask.

So I spent today learning how to trust myself standing up by having to use different angles. It’s doable, and I’d rather learn how to do it than turn this chair back and going through this crazy process again, but it definitely requires retraining. I understand that they’re backordered everywhere and getting exactly what I want isn’t necessarily in the cards. So now I have a blue one that’s mine, all mine, and the borrowed chair will be returned to therapy on Monday after using it for four months.

Of course, I’d rather not use it at all, but that’s not an option.