Best Two Out of Three
B needs a new push wheelchair. He's got one but it's ancient. I've lived here for nearly eleven years and it had a couple years age on it when I moved here. And B hates it. He's very tall - nearly 6'4" and there's an extended part on the back to make it taller. Unfortunately it also digs into his shoulder blades and he can't sit in the chair for more than a half hour.
Most of the time he doesn't use a push chair - he's got a big electric monstrosity but since it's a big electric monstrosity it doesn't go into tight places with any ease so having a smaller push chair for those times would be nice.
A guy from the medical supply place came by to talk with us and measure B and find out what he needs in a push chair. And there was a very nice one - it's all padded nicely and it would fit his long frame and there's a headrest for him (B's neck muscles are very weak and he has a hard time holding his head upright without support) and it looked very good until the guy told us it's not collapsible. Well crap. It's a nice chair but it would take up a lot of room in our small apartment if I can't collapse it. It may fit in our basement storage area but that's not likely. My basement storage isn't full but putting the wheelchair in it would make it very full and leave me no other storage.
There was another chair that B could fit in but it's not much different than what he's got now which rather defeats the purpose. The guy left and said he'd do more research in his office to see if anything else that would suit would be available and he'd give us a call. In the meantime we have to discuss whether he would even use this chair enough to offset its inconvenient storage or if we could even come up with a suitable storage area. And if he probably wouldn't use it all that much, why go to all the trouble of making place for it? Then again, if it were very comfortable and easy to use then perhaps he'd use it more and it would make the storage problem worthwhile.
Unfortunately if you have a handicapped loved one who needs special equipment you're not always left with a lot of choices. Equipment for use by the handicapped is a specialized thing. It's geared towards a group with not all that many people in it so it doesn't make good business sense to make a huge variety of things that only a small population will use. And if you've got a double concern like B does - quadriplegic and very tall - you've got even less choices.
We'll talk about it over the weekend and see if we can come up with a solution to the storage problem or just take the chance that the other wheelchair that's collapsible won't be such a literal pain in the neck to use. When all is said and done we may just have to employ our emergency decision making system: flipping a coin. We'll decide on which wheelchair my husband will use by relying on the same method of making up our minds that we use when we can't decide whether to order Chinese or Italian food for delivery.