Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Standing Up to MS

The rule of thumb is that full-time users get a new wheelchair every five years. Let me do some quick math…holy shit, it's time!

Think about your level of excitement when you buy a new car, then multiply that by a factor of 100. Now you have some idea how I feel about getting a new, top-of-the-line, power wheelchair.

Here's the chair my insurance company just approved:

It's the Permobil F5 VS, and yes, it is a standing wheelchair. Standing provides not only a functional benefit, but a therapeutic one. The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) lists these advantages of a standing chair:
  • Improve functional reach and access to enable participation in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) (e.g. grooming/hygiene, cooking, toileting, reaching medication)
  • Improve mobility and lower limb function in those with preserved muscle strength in lower limbs
  • Improve range of motion and reduce the risk of contractures
  • Promote vital organ capacity including pulmonary, bowel and bladder function
  • Promote bone health
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce abnormal muscle tone and spasticity
  • Reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers
  • Reduce the occurrence of skeletal deformities
  • Provide numerous psychosocial and quality of life benefits
These are not insignificant benefits. In addition to the standing function, I'll get full recline to a sleeping position, and a 14 inch rise so that I can sit at high-top tables and reach the top shelves at home. In this case, size matters (I only have 8 inches rise now). There are too many other features for me to list here. In the wheelchair world, technology leaps forward over any five-year period.

This doesn't mean I've given up on the next generation of iBot wheelchair. I'm still very interested in where that product goes, but I don't have enough information to wait at this point. Speaking of the iBot, though, if you go to the front page of the new DEKA website, you might see a guy you know modeling his iBot.

I have so many people to thank for helping me secure this new wheelchair. I'll do that in a future blog post. If all goes well, I should get my Permobil by Christmas or soon afterward. What a present!


  1. Wow! That seems like a quick response from your insurance company. Fantastic news. Best Christmas present ever. I can feel the excitement building. . . .

    1. Very exciting indeed! And I got it before anybody started messing with Medicare, Obamacare, etc.

  2. Did they give you any major hassles? I would like to try to apply for one with my insurance company. Are there any things you can tell me about the application process?

    1. Loretta, I may be able to help you. Email me at msturgeon63@gmail.com.