My PCP rx'd a manual wheelchair for me several years ago. My feet and ankles are a real mess from all this autoimmune fun! It's a light weight model that is pretty easy to fold up and put in my truck or my wife's van. This worked very well for me for year or so, but then my hands became so stiff and swollen that pushing myself in the chair became problematic to say the least. I hated to count on my wife to push me everywhere, so I started looking into a power chair.
I started by getting over my embarrassment of using a scooter in public by using the ones at Costco and Walmart! I was amazed at the pain-free shopping! If you have trouble walking, TRY ONE! Its really nice to be able to keep up with your spouse and not be nearly in tears trying to do so! After using one of these several times I talked to my doc about it and he agreed it was a good idea. He suggested the power chair over a scooter as it is easier to steer, and they are very heavy duty compared to some of the very simplistic scooters. Steering with a joystick is easier than gripping handlebars as well. Anyway, I left his office that day with a RX for a chair.
I called my insurance company and was shot down in flames! Since they had purchased the manual wheelchair, they would not pay for the power unit..... UGH! Another insurance hoop fest! I filed an appeal, and my doctor said he would contact them as well.
Knowing my insurance company, I started looking online at used chairs and soon found one, oddly enough right down the road from my home and decided to go look at it. It is a Golden Alante chair, and it looked like brand new! It was 2 yrs old and had hardly been used, the owner had no way of transporting it, so it had been used some in the house and that was all. My father looked it over as well and decided it was a great deal, he purchased it for me! (Some kids get Mustangs and Corvettes, I got a power chair! LOL!) I drove it home and could not believe how tightly it turned, the speed it was capable of, and how it would just walk up over curbs and what not! I was HOOKED! What an awesome invention for people that have trouble getting around!
I walked my dog each and every day with it, still do! I purchased a rack that goes on my vehicle you can drive the chair up on and strap it down to transport it. Soon I was seen all over town, the mall, Costco, even the boardwalk! It really gave me a lot of my life back!
Now here is the astounding part...... in December my insurance company called back and relented! They would buy me a new chair! I nearly fainted! I researched on line and finally called Hoveround. It took a LOT of paperwork, wrangling between Hoveround, my docs and the insurance company but a few months later they called and set up the delivery date. I received the MP5 model, just like on TV. To my surprise its even MORE maneuverable than my older one! I can zip around in the house and go just about anywhere anyone could walk! My parents live 700 miles away, so on one of our many trips there we took the older one up and left it there for when I visit.
I cannot say enough about how great these chairs are. If you have trouble walking or getting around, please talk to your doctor and consider a scooter or chair! Like I said, the chairs are much heavier, mine both weigh around 300 pounds, and with there low center of gravity it makes them very stable. Scooters are easier to transport, but not nearly as heavy duty as a chair.
I would be curious to hear other stories about how these aids have helped them!
Published On: June 27, 2011