The Funnest Thing about Wheelchair Shopping

A guy visited our house with two wheelchairs today. His visit brought mixed emotions.

wheel of chair

wheel of chair

I’m a little sad. She’s almost three, and walking safely and independently seems a ways off.

I’m grateful. I watched Mr. Wheelchair Guy and Fiona’s physical therapist discuss all the adjustable options on the chair — molded seats and foot rests and wheels and tip-stoppers and arms — and it was a relief to totally trust their expertise. They knew how to design the chair precisely for Fiona. And I’m grateful that we have insurance to pay for it.

I’m excited. The plan, while Fiona learns to walk, is that an ultra-light wheelchair will give her increased independence because she can push it herself. Come September, when she’s in preschool, she can hopefully propel herself in the direction she wants to go.

I’m also amazed. That a wheelchair this light exists. That a 16.5 pound person can sit in it and, for the very first time, move herself an inch or two back, an inch or two forth, as Fiona did. It is one smooth, sleek ride.

I’m daunted. That I’m the kind of mom who parents a child who owns a wheelchair. That Mr. Wheelchair Guy is even part of my parenting road.

I’m grateful again. That Mr. Wheelchair Guy was super-nice and knowledgable. And that people like him choose jobs like this. And that technicians design chairs that maximize the independence of kids like Fiona.

But once Mr. Wheelchair Guy brought out the card of color options, the retail shopper in me went giddy. For an hour, I had listened to my husband and the PT and Mr. Wheelchair Guy discuss gizmos and doodads and designs, lightweight metals and collapsibility and stuff. But now we were talking Neon Pink and Azure Blue and Metallic Plum. This was like clothes shopping. This I could relate to.


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We tried to get Fiona to choose the color herself. She was thrilled to participate…

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…but ultimately indifferent.

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We went with Azure Blue. Matches her eyes.

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