Tuesday, 24 September 2013

A New Cushion

There is a grey blanket stretched across the sky. A chill is in the air. It's time for long sleeved shirts and sweaters. I can feel it as I walk, or rather, wheel from the truck to my appointed destination. I can see it in the leaves on the trees. The days start late and are moving to later. The nights come earlier with each passing day. Autumn has arrived in Alberta.

There is no reason for this observation; it is simply an observation. My life continues on as it does, as it has, and as it will, regardless of season. The regular stuff happens in the regular way. This week I will do my regular things using my regular methods. Yet there is excitement in my life. There are changes, regularly. My brother is moving back to BC on the weekend. This will be a big change. I will be fine; I have plenty of friends in Calgary and an excellent support network. Ricky is still here. Life continues.

I got a new wheelchair cushion yesterday. The cushion is a RoHo Dry Floatation Wheelchair Cushion; a specialized cushion designed with flexibility and comfort in mind. The cushion has a series of vertical air chambers, each of which is connected to a central airflow valve system. The cushion can be inflated and adjusted to specifically fit each user.

Big deal, you might think. Well these wheelchair cushions cost $661.48 each. It is a big deal. As I have mentioned in the past, ALS is an expensive disease and this is a great example of that expense. Fortunately for me the Alberta Health System covers 75% of the cost of this cushion, so my portion is a mere $165.37.

You might wonder about the cost, thinking how can it be so expensive. First, there is the simple fact of limited run; it costs a lot more when you manufacture a lot less. That drives up price. Second, I sit in this cushion for hours on end; this cushion must be strong and yet flexible, comfortable and yet durable. Third, I take this cushion on and off my wheelchair each time I get into and out of my truck. This means it gets handled a lot, and tossed about a lot. This further increases the demand for strength and durability.

ALS continues to be expensive. On the other hand, look at what I am saving in shoes. After all, I don't walk anymore.

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