Is it time for a new wheelchair? Part 2

To read Part 1 of this series, click here.

After doing research and choosing things that I thought I’d like in a chair, now it was time to meet with someone who is trained in seating and mobility. Just like when I was an inpatient in therapy after my initial injury, everything that we do needs to remain teamwork and also has to include trust.

I had chosen two chairs that “looked” interesting to me, and by that I mean looked cool but also had some features that I thought would meet my needs. We were able to talk about what I do on a daily basis, how much time I spend in my chair, the things I liked about my current chair, and the things I did not like about it. We also looked at the fit to decide if we would go with the same measurements or make some changes.

I decided on a Ti Lite TR3, which at that time, was the newest and coolest model being made out of Titanium. I liked that it could be custom made with a tapered front and was very light weight. I also felt it would meet my needs and be safe for me in all that I do as an active wheeler. Thankfully, so did the therapist who helped me!

After agreeing on the chair, the next steps involved taking a series of measurements, choosing options like the color (I chose a very cool black!), and other features, like the type of back, type of wheels and casters, and other things that would help me get to where I need to go safely. The need for all of this was documented by the therapist and approved by my doctor before final approval was given.

Ti Lite then took these measurements and created a CAD drawing so that we could be sure that everything we had hoped for could be made in the sizes that we wanted, before they begin to make the actual chair. It took a second drawing to be sure everything was right, and then the chair proceeded to manufacturing. I was amazed at how quickly the chair was made, and that it left the factory just two weeks after the order was finalized to begin a cross country trek in a UPS truck.

The chair comes almost complete and ready to go right out of the box. My therapist checked it out to make sure the measurements were right, put the wheels on, tightened the breaks, and then was as excited as I was to see me in it.

Her job was not done just yet, though, as we went outside and tried lots of things I need to do: like going up and down ramps and curbs, reaching to the ground to pick something up while making sure I was safe and balanced properly, and transferring in and out of the chair safely.

After all of that was done successfully, there was one last step to be done, and that was for me to be pressure mapped. This should be done anytime your seating position, cushion, or chair changes. It only takes about 10 minutes. Our therapists at Magee can help with this, or the same person who helped you with your chair should be able to help.

Checking my skin for the first several days was important, too, since lots of angles and pressure points were different. Thankfully, all of these things worked perfectly, and I am enjoying my chair.

It is comforting to know that I was not in this alone, and the therapists at Magee could help me. Teamwork is a part of all that we do here, and this was just one more example of how lucky I am to be a part of Team Magee!

To learn more about Magee’s Wheelchair Clinic, click here

Photo: Occupational Therapist Dina Mastrogiovanni takes measurements with Mark for his new chair

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