Editor's Note

One Way Forward

SPAM musubi


I grew up in a large extended family that stretched from Oahu and Maui to Los Angeles. We gathered for holidays, births, birthdays, graduations, hospitalizations, housewarmings, you name it. There was so much food — not just turkey and stuffing, but homemade sushi, teriyaki, island specialties such as Hawaiian macaroni salad and SPAM musubi — that fitting everything onto the kitchen table became the ultimate game of Tetris.

During the pandemic I’ve lost several aunts and uncles — not to COVID-19, but just to “old age.” I’ve spent the past two years learning that while my mind understands the circle of life concept, my heart will never be ready to lose the village that loved and helped raise me.

So many people have lost loved ones recently. And additionally, we’ve all lost the lives we led until 2020. Those lives weren’t perfect, but they were familiar, and there was a certain stability and comfort in that. I think I was less scared then. Less tired, a little less frequently overwhelmed. Certainly, I was surrounded by more family and friends. That alone is a good reason to miss how things used to be.

A close friend has pointed out that the world we used to live in is gone, and we’re not going back. We’re living here now, she says. And while I will always miss parts of that former world, I am trying at this year’s end to be thankful for the blessings of this new world we are in.

Certainly, I appreciate smaller joys more. Even small kindnesses feel amplified. Talking with a friend, eating lunch with my parents, walking in the park… these are big deals now. My neighbors and I wave more and smile more when we see each other. I guess that’s how it should have always been. Maybe I see that more clearly in this new world.

And certainly, I’ve been impressed by the resilience and determination of the seating and mobility industry. Supply chain issues have caused headaches and slowed manufacturing and ultimately delivery times. Lockdown protocols made clinic and home visits more challenging, and clients now coming back to clinic could be presenting with positioning and mobility conditions that have been exacerbated by their isolation.

But through it all, innovation has continued. Telehealth and remote service success stories have been shared. New products have launched (with many more queued up, but currently caught up in supply chain shortages). Advocacy continued, as did advocacy wins, such as July’s announcement that Medicare would permanently stop applying competitive bidding-derived pricing to accessories on Complex Rehab Technology manual wheelchairs.

Thank you for still fighting the good fight in this new world. While many questions remain, one thing is sure: We are in this together. And how privileged I am to be in this together with you.

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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