Henry’s story part seven – Stylish new wheels
Henry has a new wheelchair! The wheelchair that we were initially given by Alder Hey was the Trust’s ‘standard’ wheelchair which had no leg support for Henry, so a padded board was made that fitted onto the wheelchair. While this has been ok, I would have preferred to have had a wheelchair that was specifically designed to support his leg.
We had got used to the chair with the board, but this new chair has built in leg support; it’s only through using the new chair that I’ve realised how much harder having a separate leg board made things. We are trialling this new wheelchair for the Trust and I have to say it is so much easier to use. The chair itself is slightly smaller and lighter which makes a big difference getting it in and out of the car but it’s also much easier to push around. Henry seems to like it too and he can wheel himself around easier in the new chair.
Having a proper leg support has made a big difference as Henry can adjust the height that his leg goes at, but also the angle so he can make himself more comfortable. Also the leg rest gives his leg a little more protection at the sides than the leg board gave him (which is needed because people don’t always see his leg sticking out and we’ve had a few pedestrians trying to walk through his leg!). We still need to use a pillow under his foot, but that’s more about protecting the wheelchair leg rest from being ripped to shreds by his leg frame, rather than comfort, as the leg rest is well padded. To celebrate his new chair Henry’s put ‘spokies’ on his wheelchair – a throwback to my childhood!! I’d forgotten how noisy spokies are but Henry’s happy and the number of people that have commented on them, recalling putting them on their bikes as children, has been quite funny.
Henry’s continued with the hydrotherapy and is still enjoying it. When we went to clinic after hydrotherapy to get his dressings put back on, Henry was reviewed by Mr Nayagam (Henry’s Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon) who was pleased with his progress. Mr Nayagam mentioned possibly needing to take Henry into theatre for a day case procedure in December – this would involve general anaesthetic while they complete the overcorrection by adjusting his frame / foot into the over corrected position in one go (rather than gradually as we are doing now with the quarter turns on his frame four times a day).
While I have vague memories of something like this being discussed prior to Henry’s operation, I have to admit to either forgetting about it or ignoring it at the time, because it came as a bit of a shock when Mr Nayagam mentioned it. After everything that Henry’s been through, the thought of him having to go through general anaesthetic again is quite difficult – not that there was any problem last time – but the memories of pacing the floor and feeling so helpless are still very fresh in my mind. On the other hand though, doing the overcorrection in this way would speed the whole process up a bit and would mean that we wouldn’t have to do the turns on his frame anymore – all of which I guess outweighs the stresses of him having to have a general anaesthetic. Got some time to get my head round it though and I’ve started to talk to Henry about it to prepare him for it.
I think the new wheelchair is good because I get to control it more and its got a seatbelt so when I’m in a forest or bumpy places I can put the seatbelt on to stop me falling out. The chair has got more things to play with like the seatbelt and the spokies go click clack click clack all day and when I’m sitting down I can mess with them. The footrest is more comfy than the board and I’m getting used to it. It’s easier to wheel the new chair because it’s smaller and the wheels are closer to me, but mummy doesn’t want me to wheel myself when I’ve got my new coat on because she doesn’t want me to rip it.
Henry’s story continues soon. You can read previous parts of the story on our News and Media pages.
Sarah works at Alder Hey and is telling hers and Henry’s story to help raise awareness of Bilateral Talipes (club feet). If you enjoyed reading this, or if you are a parent in a similar situation, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.