Friday, June 5, 2009

A New Wheelchair (sort of)

So, most of you know that we've been waiting for months on a wheelchair for Needlenoggin. First MediCal denied it and then the first vendor wouldn't just order him a chair and then it got "deferred" by MediCal again (without them contacting anyone). Anyway, so it finally got approved (except for the seat depth, but whatever) and it got ordered.

And it arrived. I went, picked it up and brought it home to show Needlenoggin, who was thrilled. It wasn't rickety, nothing was falling off of it, and the color (called "Toxic Green" was as terrible as he had hoped. :) There were a few adjustments we'd have to do (changing to the bigger 26" wheels and bolting on his head-rest), and we were all geared up and ready to take it in and get it worked on. Had the whole day open. Then we realized that the chair had no seatbelt. Odd, but we knew the vendor store would be more than happy to put one on while they were doing other adjustments, and I was totally fine with paying for one.

Then, we tried to fold down the chair (an important thing, since his two attendants take him places in their tiny coupes, and it needs to be break-down-able). When we'd first ordered a chair, we'd been looking at the Quickie GT:

The description says "open frame design" (note the lack of bracing bars underneath the seat). The people we talked to loved how easy this was to get in and out of a car, so we figured we didn't need the folding back on it, due to the S-curve. It may have even fit in my father's tiny car.

However, what got ordered (because it is cheaper and MediCal is like that) was a Quickie GPV:

This is the same model of chair Needlenoggin has now, which is a snug fit in smaller cars even with a folding back. When it had become apparent that this was the chair we needed, I'd called and left a message at the wheelchair store asking that they edit our (as yet un-sumbitted) order to make the back a folding one. (Don't get me started on how there are 2 types of chair, rigid and folding, and how rigid chairs can have folding or non-folding backs. Just do not get me started on that semantic mess). Just to make sure, I called to confirm a folding back (because leaving a message isn't good enough, I know). The office person looked up the order, confirmed the folding back, and I hung up.

So, when I realized the chair, the only one MediCal wil ever pay for, wasn't going to fit in ANYONE'S car, I was miffed and worried, and Needlenoggin and I dragged it into the shop yesterday. We explained how we were going to need the minor adjustments and a seatbelt, but that our biggest concern was the back not folding. The chair fitter looked at me and said "you said you didn't want a folding back." I explained that we'd changed our minds and had talked to some other people at the office to confirm (since she hadn't been available on the order day) and she told us that fixing this was going to be expensive, but that there was nothing they really could do. Oh, and that we'd now now "not to do that again," whether that means talking to office personnel or changing our minds as we learned all about wheelchairs for the first time I don't know.

So, we left the new chair at the store while they "call Quickie" and see what can be done. The folding back is just a different series of pieces bolted onto this frame, so it shouldn't be too big of an issue to could just cost them $50 (retail, the back is about $100). On my way out, just to make sure, I asked the receptionist to see the order. It says "folding back." There's been an error here, and all I want is to get Needlenoggin into his new chair before a) this old one I've pieced together breaks and b) the anniversary of the accident rolls around.



WildKat said...

Hopefully they will fix it for you. They should seeing how it wasn't your mistake. When I ordered my last wheelchair that I measured myself the order got messed up by the company I ordered it from and they had to get a whole new chair made. The didn't cost anything extra because it was their mistake and not mine.

Good luck!

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