January is my target for starting the process to get a power chair. Doing it in December made no sense, what with offices shutting down for the holidays and businesses stressing to get through year end on December 31st. I don’t want to risk this getting lost in the cracks. After all, I’ve seen MY office at the end of the calendar year and know how paperwork piles up.
I need this chair more than ever. I put off getting one at first because I didn’t want to believe I’d need it; my goal was to not need any chair much less a power chair. Those were for people who couldn’t walk. Well, hmmm. I can walk some but it’s not likely that I’ll ever be able to walk from my apartment down to the dining room or the mailboxes or auditorium for activities. And in late September, my surgeon was clear that I’m not likely to get much more mobility back than I have now. It’s okay, I can live with this. But it will be so nice to be able to get around more and more easily than I do now.
One of the local DME providers told me that all of Meadow Lake counts as my home, not just my apartment, especially because I do need to go a distance to get to the dining room. Plus I’ve had a sore (and sometimes stabbity) shoulder for at least six months. It never seems to get much better and hurts when I roll around with the manual chair. Somewhere in there I did something to my right wrist and thumb joint which also hurt. Add in that I’ve fallen twice in the last year, and getting a power chair seems like a necessary step and we can make a medical case for Medicare, which will usually pay for a power chair when there are medical reasons for the change.
The application involves reams of documentation – naturally, since we’re talking about the government and insurance – and I’ll need a face-to-face visit with my doctor within 30 days of the application. Telehealth visits are much easier but I can make it work. I’ll check with the DME company about next steps and then make an appointment for early January.
I’m not completely sure how you actually get ON a power chair but someone will explain it and show me. I can transfer to chairs and the NuStep and a car, so I’m sure it’s not hard once I figure it out. There are more scooters here which look like fun for those who can use them, with cute little baskets in the front to carry stuff. People who use them can walk from where they park over to their table or wherever they’re going. A power chair is a wheelchair with nothing in front of you, powered by a joystick. You need a walker, cane, or manual wheelchair to get to and from the power chair. I’m not at all sure how you carry things except the ways I do now, sometimes in a Trader Joe’s bag with the handles in my teeth. Not very sanitary but it’s effective.
January 2022 brought me my NuStep. Now, a year later, I’m ready for a power chair, something I never thought I’d want or use but now am looking forward to helping me get around more easily. I’ll use my study to park and charge it out of the way of the manual chair or my rollator. No matter where it goes, I’m sure the cats will decorate it with fur in no time.