New Wheelchair Joins the Family

swalker

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Many who frequent these forums will know that on our Thanksgiving trip to Texas last year our wheelchair van was stolen with my favorite wheelchair still inside. The thieves could not figure out how to operate the EZ Lock, and really tore up the wheelchair while trying to get it out of the van. Little did they know the wheelchair was worth far more than the van. Probably because they could not get the wheelchair out of the van, they ditched the van and we were able to recover it due to the publicity it received on facebook and the local news. The thieves stole many items from the van and extensively damaged the van, and wheelchair.

The damage to the van was covered by our auto insurance and the damage and loss of contents were covered by our homeowners insurance. It has taken a very long time to get everything sorted out (and there are still a few loose ends), but I think we are finally getting close to resolving this matter. As part of that, I took delivery of a new wheelchair today to replace the one damaged in the theft. All told, insurance has paid out about $60,000 for the claims.

The insurance folks first requested an estimate to repair and a separate estimate to replace the wheelchair. Based on these estimates they would decide what to do.

As you can imagine, getting either of those in the convoluted US healthcare system is neither quick nor easy. After 4 months of effort, we finally got both of those to the insurance folks. The estimate to repair was substantially cheaper than the estimate to replace, so the insurance folks decided to move forward with repairing the wheelchair.

The first attempt at a repair was performed during May and the wheelchair was delivered to me on early June. Unfortunately, my go-to mechanic that has worked on my wheelchairs for several years left NuMotion during this time, so did not participate in doing the repairs. When the wheelchair was delivered, it was obviously not useable. When coming to a stop, the wheelchair would stop completely and them move again in a seemingly random direction. This made it impossible to control in close quarters. Everything else was working just fine, though.

So, NuMotion came out to inspect the wheelchair at the end of June. Their conclusion was that there was a problem, but they did not know what the problem was. They said they would try to replace the motors under warranty (they were replaced as part of the initial repair), but had no confidence this would fix the problem.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking and I was running out of time. The insurance folks said that I had to have all bills submitted to them within 1 year in order for me to be reimbursed.

After a week of talking to the insurance folks and letting them know the long lead times are for procuring a wheelchair, they decided to replace the wheelchair. That was a pleasant surprise and came without any prompting from me. At first, they wanted me to refund all the funds spent on repairing the wheelchair. I suggested that was not fair and after a bit of back and forth they agreed with me! So, they paid for both repairing the old wheelchair and replacing it with a new one.

That started a 6 week process of working with NuMotion to get a new wheelchair ordered. They wanted me to get measured for a wheelchair again (I have not grown any since I last got a wheelchair through them, but whatever!).

We made the trip to NuMotion and got me all measured up. A week later I get the new quote for the wheelchair. It was the wrong quote. A week later, we got the correct quote, except it was missing a headrest (it did include the headrest hardware, just not the headrest itself). We got that sorted out and a new quote was issued that was missing the Roho seat cushion. We finally got that sorted out as well.

It took a week or more between quotes, so this really drug things out. But, last Monday, we finally got a quote I thought was correct. It was for a wheelchair with all the equipment I need with a carbon fiber trim kit (the old one was red). I placed the order and paid for it last Monday.

Last Tuesday, they said it would be here today! Only a week to get a wheelchair! So, today I got the wheelchair. Of course, it had a hideous orange trim kit instead of the cool carbon fiber one I wanted (my apologies to orange lovers of the world). Other than that, it was the wheelchair I had ordered.

NoMotion took deliver of the wheelchair at about 10:00 AM today. I spent three hours at NuMotion today while they set the wheelchair up for me. I should be receiving a carbon fiber trim kit in the mail sometime in the future.

So, I now have a brand new Permobil F5 wheelchair with the high speed motors, lights, headrest, Roho seat cushion, seat elevate, and power tilt, recline, and legs, We made a few changes to the programming so that it accommodates my needs and desires.

I still need to spend a few days getting all the adjustments just right for me, but it is pretty reasonably set up for now. I am too tired now to take a picture and post it, but will do so when I get a chance.

My fleet is currently up to 6 wheelchairs and we either need to move to a bigger house or pare down the fleet a bit. Nine months ago, insurance told me if they replaced the wheelchair they would pick up the old wheelchair. I have not heard anything about that since then. If they let me keep it (or buy it for scrap value), I will probably keep it for spare parts and donate one of my other wheelchairs to our local ALS association. I won't be able to make a decision about that until things are well and truly wrapped up with insurance, which could take until the end of this year.

In the meantime, I won't know the disposition of my Permobil C500 wheelchair damaged by Southwest airlines until the end of September.

I am really glad to have the new wheelchair and to be close to closing out nine months of dealing with insurance!

Steve
 

Samkl

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Good grief😳. Steve, what a frustrating saga. I’m glad it’s all resolved, but angry that you had to endure the whole thing!
 

KimT

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I'm glad you got your new one, Steve. Wow, that is quite a fleet. You should take a picture of all of them!!!
You went through so much trouble. Hope this year is better, despite the fires and CV.
 

KevinM

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Damn. That’s the only reply I can think of, Steve.

Now that this is resolved, how is the coach repair coming? Any autumn trips planned?
 

nona

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I sure hope you're staying home for Thanksgiving this year. Don't mess with 2020!
 

affected

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Your stories are always such a journey - what a fleet. Enjoy this new chair, I love how you overcome such obstacles in life!
 

EricInLA

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Dealing with insurance people is not for the weak of heart. But, I'm glad you were able to convince them to replace the wheelchair. That's the big accomplishment here. Nice going.
 

swalker

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Thanks everyone for following along on my adventure. I am glad this adventure appears to be coming to an end, but have enjoyed the ride. I like adventures, but would have preferred to have one that was a bit more rewarding that just winding up with a replacement wheelchair!

KimT: I can't believe I have collected so many wheelchairs. It was never my intention to do so. Some folks think I have a bit of a wheelchair problem:). I think a large part of it is that I am simply interested in mechanical things. I spent a large part of my life obsessing about bicycles and tremendously enjoyed the mechanical aspects of working on them. Now, wheelchairs are a bit to me like bicycles used to be. They are mechanically pretty simple devices, though their electronics can be a bit overwhelming at times.

We have had wetter weather over the last few days and the fires have died down quite a bit. Today there was no smoke in the air here! I have a lot of experience with forest fires. When I was in college I was on a wildland fire team so I could earn a bit of extra money (I majored in forestry). That is hard, dirty work, but it paid pretty well. I learned a bit about wildland fire behavior doing that as well as through my forestry classes. It has been fascinating to watch how these fires have been attacked and managed. Pretty enjoyable, except for the smoke. To my knowledge, no structures have been burned, though shutting down the interstate for 10 days really affected lots of folks.

KevinM: We received word today that the motorhome is almost ready for us to pick up. The toilet is fixed! The repair place is waiting for the shower door glazing to arrive, which they will then put in to resolve showers escaping the shower enclosure! We have reservations for Yellowstone in September, but are pretty sure we will cancel that trip. We plan to cancel our Grand Canyon reservations this fall also. This risk from Covid is just too great. In Yellowstone, we would not be able to wander around the geyser basins or spend time with the many friends we have met there over the years. One of the major roads is closed until next year and there is serious construction on another one. So, our trip would be spent in the motorhome, driving around the park on the roads we can practically access, and perhaps riding the wheelchair on a few trails. We have reservations in Yellowstone for fall and spring next year. The big question is whether my body will tolerate a trip there next year. Decisions, decisions...

Nona: We are staying home for Thanksgiving this year. Not because our van/wheelchair were stolen, but due to Covid. I will miss terribly seeing my family. We are so close, yet don't see each other often enough. We all like to cook and enjoy jointly preparing the Thanksgiving feast. We have decided to do a day-long video call while we all prepare our Thanksgiving meals from disparate parts of the country. It will be different, but I am sure it will. be fun. I will miss supervising my great nieces as they slice and dice their fingers, though:).

Tillie: I have enjoyed the adventure, and am enjoying the new wheelchair. We did some fine-tuning of the fit today and went out for a wheelchair ride this evening. My friend Greg took a few pictures that I will post when I get my hands on them. Of course, the wheelchair had a few issues. It turns out the Roho seat cushion is the wrong size, the rear caster suffer from a catastrophic flutter even at medium speeds, and the wheelchair died during our walk! I will be following up with NuMotion/Permobil tomorrow to figure out how to get some of those issues resolved. It seems the adventure will continue for a few more days at least.

EricInLA: I am kind of glad it was me rather than someone else that got to go through this. I have lots of experience dealing with such things (but that does not mean I enjoy doing so). It turns out that I never even suggested to the insurance folks that they replace the wheelchair. I just let them know where things stood and asked what the options were. It worked out the way I think it should have.

Steve
 

affected

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Well it wouldn't be a full adventure if you didn't have some twists and turns to give us ... 🤭
 

swalker

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My friend Greg sent me a picture of the ride yesterday evening. He has come over to join us in the evening several times during Covid. He is the only person we allow to do that. He is very conscientious. We are always outside and he sits at one end of our long deck while my wife and I set at the other. It is great to be able to see him.

We had a cold front move through, which was great for the fires. By the time we were able to go for a walk, I needed a heavier jacket. It was a very pleasant stroll, even though I was chilled to the bone by the end. We had a beautiful evening and took a walk to the park near our house. There is a beaver that lives in the pond and there is a nice trail around the park. It was about a 1 mile round trip, and very enjoyable.

Steve
IMG_1228001.jpg
 

KevinM

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Sure hope you can squeeze one RV trip this fall, Steve, even if it’s in your home state.

Isn’t that neon orange growing on you just a little bit? K
 
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swalker

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KevinM: No! But my wife really likes the orange:).

We are going back on forth hourly on our decision to go to yellowstone. We will see!

Steve
 

Rush714

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Steve, I just got my new F5 delivered Monday. Quite an upgrade from the F3, the LED lights are fantastic!
 

swalker

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Rush714: I have had the opportunity to test out the F3. I now have about 800 miles in my F5 that was stolen and about 10 miles in my new F5.

I agree with you! I sure like the F5. It is much more capable and stable than the F3 and also has a much great range. We still have a few issues to work out on the new F5, but I am confident we will be able to do that soon.

The lights on the 2019 and later F5s are great. While I wish that turning on hazards did not turn off the headlights, I really do enjoy the power of the beams the headlights throw.

Steve
 

lgg

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What a journey! Glad it all worked out well. Love the can-do spirit. Leslie
 
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