Wednesday – Constructive Chaos

Wednesday began with all in good order. We arrived at Yancana Huasy around 8:30 a.m. and four children were waiting, which gave some of us “free” time to work on two wheelchairs that were incomplete from the previous day, before their new owners arrived in the afternoon for final fittings and modifications. Then I made a mistake I have done before – agreed to allow more kids to be called since we were doing so well in the schedule.

By the time they arrived it was time for the Tuesday returnees to arrive as well and we still had kids going from the morning (three wheelchairs took all day to complete). Then another child from yesterday came unexpectedly with his mother needing changes because of problems they discovered overnight. Soon chaos reigned, with people, chairs and tools  everywhere and we were swamped.

I sent one child home, because he had grown, the wheelchair frame we set aside was too small for him, and I could not find a bigger one although I know we have one. Remember those boxes from the warehouse? They are still the bane of my existance, because the majority of the wheelchairs are in them and extras we did not use from the first two days were put back in the boxes so they are not easily accessible. I do hate those boxes.

Jack before her chair was refitted

Jackie's old chair had enough growth room for her, but needed lots of adjustments to make it work.

But on a positive note, today I was given the gift of working with Jaqui. Jacqui helped me teach the first Yancana Huasy wheelchair evaluation/seating class in 2008, and shortly afterward received her first wheelchair with foam-in-place molded seating at age 11. In 2010 she had grown and it was replaced. This year she arrived on Tuesday with no chair and reports that she had outgrown it. Somehow we could not lay our hands on the frame intended for Jaqui, and I questioned whether she had outgrown the frame or just the seating. Her mother agreed to bring her back for Wednesday clinic and sure enough – the frame was just fine but she needed a new seating system. It is hard for me to believe but Jaqui is almost 18 years old now.


Rachael our wonderful tech and Theresa, the OT student who is shadowing her this week worked hard to repair a brake problem, made frame adjustments and generally spiffed it up. After re-evaluating Jaqui we created a new molded back cushion to support and accommodate her kyphosis (severely rounded back) and found a new style head support that worked well. A custom made cover for the new back was fabricated by Sammie and Hayley, the OT student working with me this week. The whole process took many hours, requiring Jaqui, her mother and little sister Alesandra to hang out with us all day. But the result was worth it and made us all happy.

Jaqui after her wheelchair was adjusted

After some adjustments, updates and fixes, Jaqui's chair fit her again.


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