Monday, September 15, 2008

Postural Politics

In my house, we have a saying that we direct at Robert in the hopes he will apply some voluntary effort at postural control: "don't lean to the right, Robert, we're all Democrats in this house and we lean to the left!"

Ah, the delightful combination of mild scoliosis (that will perpetually threaten to become more severe and even further disabling, if such a concept can be applied to Robert) and the after-effects of hip dysplasia and its required surgery.  

And I used to wonder why a pediatric wheelchair with supports ran $6,000.  They're jigsaw puzzles for the structural support of the body.  I have yoga.  Robert has his "toxic green" wheelchair.  Yes, that was the name of the color--we prefer to think of it as Buzz Lightyear green.  There's the headrest, one of at least 5 or 6 different possible models that fit that chair--and which is positioned on an arm with at least 5 different adjustment points, each of which appears to require a different allen wrench.  (I have, by the way, the complete set of allen wrenches in both metric and English.  I highly recommend that everyone possess both sets.) There are the detachable arm rests that can raise and lower.  

Foot plates with different kinds of straps.  Pommel.  Vest.  Hip guards.  Leg extenders.  And each of these things has at least four points of adjustment on metal clamps with long notches in them to hold a screw (allen wrench accessible only) and washer in exactly the right place (could one ever figure that out exactly as children's bodies not only grow but refuse to situate themselves absolutely and particularly as physical and occupational therapists might like to have happen) to put that kid at the ideal of 90-90-90 with the back straight and the head and neck rising properly straight up and positioned just so over the shoulders.  Yes, to paraphrase Donne to Jonson: "he described the Idea of a Seated Position and not as it was."

There are the bilateral trunk supports with which we dealt today, for which I did not know "spacers" exist.  It had somehow escaped my notice that there was already one on the right support to encourage him to lean to the left.  I don't know if Chesapeake Rehabilitative Equipment representatives know that there are possible political implications to the adjustments they make to wheelchairs.  I wonder if an attachment to a wheelchair exists that transforms the user into a Democrat or a Republican, or whether you can tell a person's political orientation by any aspect of their posture.  

Robert loves to evade postural positioning and politics.  At this game, he has surely surpassed Karl Rove.  Karl Rove is a mere novice at positioning and its evasions compared to my son.  Karl Rove could not houdini himself out of the corporate expertise of 8 different seating restraints on a daily basis.


Elizabeth said...

Love the lean to the left admonition. And how you weave your family's life into the politics at hand...

Special Needs Mama said...

Robert is far superior to Karl Rove, no matter which way he leans.