10 is the magic number in Boo Land. We waiting 10 long months for specialist seating (his fabulous Bee chair) to give him the support he needs and to help prevent the onset of further physical problems. And then last week our 10 month long wait from joining the wheelchair services waiting list to getting an adapted buggy came to an end. I cried with joy, let me tell you.
Until I’d had Boo, I had no idea how much difference an adapted buggy might make to children with additional needs. A buggy is a buggy is a buggy, right?
In his old buggies (the big Maclaren travel system and then smaller Triumph) that once belonged to his sister, Boo travelled well for about 6 months (until he was 3 months corrected age). But then his posture started to look odd. As the weeks and months went by, he looked more and more like a sack of potatoes being grudgingly carted around.
He wasn’t comfy. Worse: he wasn’t supported. We thought of the buggy as a necessary evil: a way to get him from A and to B. Increasingly, though, it just started to look plain evil: something that was ironically preventing him from accessing the world around him (a buggy’s principal function) and contorting him in the process.
The Grumposaur said I was worrying unnecessarily. It was OK. The referral would come through soon. Four months later it did. We were initially told Boo, rather offhandedly before we went into the workshop that he was on the young side for an adapted buggy. And then they looked at him more closely, exchanged glances and said he urgently needed something better and that we should take him out in the Triumph as little as possible. We were advised the best buggy for Boo was the Ormesa Bug, which is made in Italy. They might have one in stock (although to quote ‘it’s hard to understand our stock list so I don’t know if we have one or not’ – they didn’t). But he would get one ordered very soon. But there was one more but. They had spent their money for the calendar year already. No orders could be made until January. This was October.
I looked into buying one ourselves. You won’t be surprised to know they are extremely expensive and before you know it, he’ll need the next size up. (The rainhood and canopy alone that we have had to buy as they are not funded costs hundreds on its own.) On top of the buggy cost we needed specialist inserts we were told would be nigh on impossible to get privately and we’d have to pick up all repair and servicing costs, too. We decided to wait for the money to become available. And for months, I barely went out at weekends. Family outings rarely happened. How much fun can you have if you think you are damaging one of your children?
Six months, two more appointments and a new budgetary year later and last week, we got the Bug.
It’s a big old beastie and the seat is heavy to lift and fold. But we all know big is beautiful and this buggy is just fabulous. The support it gives Boo’s trunk via thoracic supports, a pelvic strap, 4-point harness and a footplate is miraculous. He can sit totally upright.
I have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Knowing he is well supported when we go out and about is priceless and such a relief after months of worry. What I hadn’t anticipated was quite how happy it would make Boo. He’s always liked being outdoors, but now and for the first time since he was born he is actually properly integrated into the world outside our house. He tried to touch everything as I push him around our local park in the week. The wind, kids playing, leaves on the trees. I think he really saw the ducks in the pond for the first time. Every one of the many shrieks and giggles he made made me want to cry.
People told me an adapted buggy would change our lives. I wanted to believe them. And in less than a week, I can say it already has.