Speaking of candy - we have lots! The chocolate was the first to go since we all pick at it. Julia seems to love the lollipops, starburst and skittles the best and with the amount we have she currently has about a year supply so if you are in our neck of the woods and need a sugar fix come on over!
Halloween was also the day that we picked up Emma's brand new power wheelchair!!!!!!!! If you've been following along with our story you know we have been in appeals with our insurance company over this chair for about a year. It was a frustrating process but that's all behind us now because IT'S HERE!!!! and it was SOOO WORTH THE FIGHT!!!!! Emma has taken to it wonderfully and is now navigating about our driveway on her own. We do have a kill switch to keep her from danger but we are using it less and less as she is learning the ropes of safe driving. I can't believe how quickly she is learning. She is also going to school in it most days and learning how to navigate it inside school. She is still very much a beginner but I'm excited about the opportunity for independence this will give Emma. Already she has found power in her new mobility - using it to follow after her friends and to drive in the wrong direction on purpose when I tell her it's time to go inside the house.
Her chair is an Invacare TDX Spree and the color she chose is Bubble Gum. She controls it with her head array that is made by ASL. I think her head array is the curved. The team wanted to get her a smaller one but I wanted this one because I found it kept her CIs on her head the best. Trust me, keeping the CI magnet on Emma's head is a full time job some days so when you find something that doesn't knock them off you stick with it! There are proximity switches in the head array and it's set up to go forward when she leans her head back on the switch, go right when she leans her head on the right switch and left when she leans on the left switch. There are areas in the headrest that don't have a switch, too, and Emma quickly figured out where she can rest her head when she wants to relax and not move. It's so amazing and humbling to see how quickly she is learning to navigate in her new chair.
The TDX Spree has the ability to tilt back in space which is how Emma prefers to sit so she can better control the head array. The seat can also be raised ~5" so she can reach sinks and other places that are at a higher height. We call her new chair "THE BEAST" because it truly is a beast sitting at about 400 lbs. It has 4 programs - one is slow for indoor use, and the other 3 are increasingly faster speeds. Emma LOVES the faster speeds so I usually put her on program 3 which is set at 40% of maximum speed. I think it equates to almost 3 mph which doesn't sound fast until you realize she isn't the best at controlling herself in it yet. We are thankful that it has a kill switch for us to remotely stop her from getting into a bad situation (can you believe insurance gave us a lot of hassle over adding this???? I mean, she was 5 years old when we ordered it for crying out loud!!!).
Emma's favorite thing to do in the chair right now is to drive over to people to give them a "High 5". She really is a very social girl! I can't believe she has only had this chair for about 3 weeks considering how good she is with it now. We have to work on her stamina to drive long distances and to stop being such a busybody and resting every-single-time she sees something (which is pretty much everything!) that interests her otherwise it will take us a week to walk around the block!!! But, I believe that everything will come together in time.
I am so very, very thankful that Emma has her new wheels. I'm also very thankful that she has already left her mark on it through scrapes, which means to me that she is starting to spread her wings because she is READY!