technology is amazing ~ wheelchair 101...

in her current wheelchair happy no?

Today was avery busy day but quite a productive one for Miss Courtney. We made our way north to Kennedy-Krieger Institute at John's Hopkins in Baltimore, so Courtney could be molded for her new wheelchair seat. Since her scoliosis has stabilized and her growth plates are done growing, it was time to have a wheelchair seat molded, allowing her to sit as straight as possible without having issues with skin breakdown and pressure points all while supporting her curved spine. 

We made sure to leave plenty of time for traffic issues and we were arrived 30 minutes early, which is highly unusual for us. It gave us a chance to let Miss Courtney stretch out on a sofa so I could rub her back. Happy girl!

I had no idea what was going to happen once we got back with the PT and wheelchair technician. I wanted to make sure she was as relaxed as possible. 

We headed back and they got Courtney situated in a special bean bag chair. There was no headpiece so you can see in the photo above, she was not all that happy. She does not have the best neck strength so this required her to do a little work. I think she thought, "Hey it's Friday. Work? What's that?" 

It was a slow and deliberate process which was fascinating to watch. As they manipulated the beanbag around her hips, back and sides, they slowly sucked the air out of the chair, creating the mold. She began to sit straighter and have better head control as the process went on. 

After ten minutes or so, she stopped fussing and started humming, a very good sign that she was comfy. The wheelchair technician was very gentle as was the PT. They worked together over the course of the next hour to make sure it was the best fit they could get for Courtney's unique skeletal needs. 

Jerry and I were amazed at what a difference it made. She looked so comfortable and was very relaxed and happy, even with all the prodding and no headpiece! It was wonderful to see her move her head while still keeping it upright. The molded back gave her so much extra support. These are my favorite photos of the day...

Doesn't she look awesome???

Check out that happy girl sitting up so very straight.

She was laughing and singing all without a headpiece or arms supports. She looks so happy. I was thrilled with the results. Once they completed messing with a few small adjustments we took her out of the chair seat very carefully leaving this impression. 

The technician is marking it with chalk in the spots she will need it to be "softer" for her boney parts. Then they digitize the mold and send it off to the manufacturer to be made. We will meet again in four (ish) weeks for a fitting. We will bring it home for a week making specialized note if there are any fitting issues. Then we go back for the final adjustments and voile...a new wheelchair seat.

Technology rocks!

With the new wheelchair seat we could see some very good things in the future. From overall strength to better positioning leading to better digestion and intestinal improvements. It's a very good thing. 

To save some money we will keep the wheelchair base she has now and adjust it so it's compatible with the new molded chair seat. All this for about $6,000 dollars. Yes, you read that right. Fortunately our insurance company will cover a percentage of it leaving us with about $1,200 to cover ourselves. 

I might have to start selling my blood. 


Once again we place our trust in the Big Guy to help us figure out how to take care of this need for Courtney. I know we will get it done one way or another. 

Maybe I will just sell my jam. Hmmmm...

Could I sell the 25 year old?? Yeah...probably not. He would eat you out of house and home. 


Today we are grateful for modern technology and professional therapists and engineers who see a need and crete a product to answer it...even if it costs me my kidney on the black market.


um...maybe not...