chasing unicorns 

by thankfeldenkrais

The hunt for the perfect piece of equipment,
Feels like chasing unicorns,
An impossible,
Never ending,
Mythical endeavour.

More specifically this time,
Finding Isaac an ideal walker,
An anterior one to allow him up-and-go access,
And help him move his weight forward when walkering rather than leaning backwards,
One that moves him away from the arm gutters,
Is light-weight enough for him to manoeuvre efficiently,
Without undue effort,
Has swivel limiters on front wheels so he can control the turn,
Anti-reverse so the variable directions are reduced,
A seat for resting,
Optional hand brakes so he can stop himself if need be,
And park it when coming up to stand or resting,
Be narrow so his hands are in a realistic position in relation to his body and not splayed out,
Can be used across indoor and outdoor terrains,
Have height adjustability,
And fold for transportation.

As his R82 Crocodile,
No longer meets these needs,
And with every passing day,
Is causing him to use too much effort to negotiate,
Negatively altering his gait pattern,
And Invoking a very pronounced elbow pull-back,
And shoulder tension.

Resulting in increased spasm.

And so with due diligence,
As always,
I do my research,
I organise trials,
With any supplier willing to work directly with a parent,
And yet we come up short.

We work our way through the Marcy Schuchmann,
The Yogi Ottobock,
Kaye Anterior Support walker,
Rifton Pacer,
And others,
Finding the sheer heaviness of some unfathomable,
The width mind-boggling,
The lack of anti-swivel a deal breaker,
No optional brakes frustrating,
Or the positioning worse,
No seat,
Or badly designed seat,
Won’t fold,
Only for indoor,
Or only for outdoor,
And the list goes on.

The disappointment,
And frustration,
Starts to fester on me like an incurable rash.

I wish to take parts of one walker,
And bits from others,
And combine them into the perfect piece.

If only.

We even go so far as to have his R82 modified by a local metal fabricator,
And a team in the metal work department at TAFE generously donating their time,
But we simply cannot manufacture in retrospect,
To make it meet Isaac’s needs,
Too many elements cannot be changed.

And I’m tired,
But the pressure building,
To capitalise on Isaac’s current state of determination,
Becoming more apparent,
As the clock ticks on,
With still no solution found.

Wishing that it didn’t have to be this hard,
And that organisations who are designated to take this burden away from parents,
Like me,
Actually did their job,
And knew a child well enough to find that golden egg.

But my faith in the system,
Has long since dried,
And I know by knowing Isaac better than anyone,
And with the guidance of our practitioner,
We will do a better job than any.

And so I put my head down,
I dive back in,
And after much deliberation with suppliers,
I manage to trial a Kaye Posterior Four Wheeled Walker,
With the secret anticipation of simply switching the wheels to convert it to an anterior walker.

And by being willing to compromise on brakes,
A seat,
And all-terrain wheels,
We are finally satisfied,
We can at least address the majority of our wish list,
By somewhat modifying our own walker,
And deliver the best option we can for Isaac,
To stride off into a brighter tomorrow.

Which he does,
As always,
With pure style.

kaye walker may 2016

And it only took six months (sarcasm).