Well, after a few weeks of a lonely wheelchair whose use was restricted to a 15-foot run in our hallway, we finally have a ramp to provide the wheelchair the freedom and exercise it deserves. And, boy, Drew is taking advantage. We have taken the wheelchair outside everyday for the past week and per a Facebook post that I shared, “You don’t know nerve-wrackin’ until you watch a three-year-old drive a $38,000 311-pound vehicle. Mama’s blood pressure up 150 points!” my blood pressure has dramatically improved everyday as Drew practices using his chair.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t had moments of slight panic. Such as, when Drew drove the front tire into a pot hole that our dog, Sarge, had dug. I had to flip the manual switch mode to push it out and any sort of incline/decline doesn’t seem to scare Drew a single iota. Meanwhile, Mama is chewing her fingernails to the quick. That’s probably the over-protective part of me as the hills aren’t steep in reality, and my overbearing love for Drew dramatizes every detail of a potential hazard to depict in mind a terrible disaster. I do have conclusive evidence that Drew understands the limits of his wheelchair as he verbally objects nervously whenever I’m lining his wheelchair up with the ramp up our threshold which requires me to swing the chair precariously close to some steps.
He loves his chair so much that the other night, after a day of navigating the yard in the chair, we were off to take a bath. Drew requested to take his chair which, of course, the answer was no. Drew turned to his chair and said, “K. Be right back!” I think he enjoys being able to get places conveniently and having more freedom. I enjoy having two free arms and a lighter step as I walk back and forth through our mole-infested yard (meaning their dang tunnels require more exhaustive effort to cross!) In addition, he loves showing the chair off. Whenever he sees somebody, he hollars, “I got my wheelchair!”
Our next step is to find a new vehicle to transport the wheelchair to such places as Wal-Mart, shopping, etc. Drew is already begging to bring his chair along with us on our trips. We are, however, planning on having a bus transport Drew and his chair to school so when they walk the trip to the playground, Drew can do so independently. I can’t believe my baby is going to be riding the bus!
On a side note, yesterday we spontaneously stopped at the city park upon Drew spying a football team practicing in the field. We sat upon the bleachers and naturally, Drew was very curious about sitting on the bleachers by himself. And, he gradually slid down step by step trying to edge himself down closer to the action. Eventually, he made it pretty close to the cheerleading team made up of about 15-20 elementary school girls practicing their pyramids and cheers. The girls were instantly in awe of Drew and like a flock, these girls were surrounding Drew asking for high fives, ooh-ing and aah-ing at him, and followed him from one side of the bleachers to the others. I was beaming with pride and his Daddy would be so proud to see all of these cute cheerleaders chasing our boy around!
After practice, one of the football players exited the field and walked up the bleachers right next to us. This boy and Drew’s eyes met and the football player reached out his hand and asked for a high-five which Drew obliged happily. As he walked away, Drew looked up at him admiring his football uniform and pads and said, “he got big arms.” He followed this up by saying, “I not.” That was the first time he has acknowledged any sort of difference between him and everybody else. I gave him a tight hug and we continued to watch the practice. It was a good day.