CRT Joie de Vivre
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Oct 01, 2018
BALLOON HEART: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/KYOSHINO
When asked what I do for a living, I say, “I’m a magazine editor.” The next question, guaranteed, is “What magazine?” I explain. Reactions range from interest to sympathy to an occasional uncomfortable silence when the questioner doesn’t know what to say next.
So I help them out. I say, “The industry I cover is wonderful. It’s full of joy.”
Which is partly true. The full truth is I suspect the seating and mobility industry is also full of people who got kept after school on a regular basis.
Emotionally, this is can be a tough industry. You pour your hearts into your clients, their families and their stories. Conditions progress, funding for the technology that can help can be hard to get. Not all stories have happy endings.
Yet, this industry is full of great energy and a little well-placed irreverence. In writing this issue, for instance, I smiled a lot.
I laughed as Doug Garven and I talked about camber (see CRT Showcase, page 24). I mentioned that camber can be a great option for pediatric self-propelled chairs, because kids’ chairs are so narrow that even with considerable camber, they can still get through doorways. “You couldn’t put camber on your chair,” I said to Doug as a comparison.
“I could if I wanted to stay in just one room,” he retorted.
I heard from an industry power chair user on his way to the beach. “I have giant, low-pressure tires on my [chair],” he texted. “There are only two possibilities. One, the chair does amazing on the beach, and I get the best video ever. The second possibility is that I bury it and it takes five life guards to drag the chair and me off of the beach, which could be an even better video! Stay tuned!” (Spoiler: The chair did great; no rescue team was deployed.)
I enjoyed the expertise (and banter) of Josh Anderson and Jim Black in discussing optimally fitting and setting up ultralightweight chairs so clients with higher spinal cord injuries can successfully self-propel. I heard great anecdotes from Brad Ramage, and from Kim Davis, who’s learned seating and mobility truths from straight-talking and irreverent clients.
Yes, this is a healthcare industry. Yes, this is a high-tech industry. Yes, your clients have serious, often progressive conditions, and most of them have few or no treatments or cures.
But no, you haven’t lost hope. You persevere. You do so for your clients, the ones who still want to race and compete and work and go to school and travel and excel. You do it for their families. And I suspect you also do it for the little kid inside you, the one who was kept in at recess occasionally, but who never stopped scheming, never stopped imagining, and never, ever stopped grinning.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.