The day our therapist recommended we get a wheelchair for Olivia, I’ll admit, I took great insult. I even responded saying, “We haven’t given up on her walking, how could you?”
It took time for me to understand that getting Olivia a wheelchair didn’t mean we were giving up on her, we were giving her more options to experience independent mobility.
Cerebral Palsy affected Olivia’s ability to move, tremendously. Her muscles didn’t want to cooperate with the rest of her body. Each time she attempted to gain control of her head, neck and trunk, the lower part of her body wanted to do something else. It became exhausting for her to try to navigate her body’s movements. We could see how frustrated she became, she so desperately wanted to move, to crawl…anything…just move!
I realized part of me was being selfish and in denial. The wheelchair symbolized change and difference and part of me wasn’t ready to accept that. I was more worried what others would say and how Olivia would be judged. Like I said, selfish motives.
Seeing Olivia in her wheelchair for the first time was fantastic. She was so happy and looked very comfortable. She was the princess riding proudly in her carriage, and man did she turn heads! People couldn’t help stop and say hello because here was this beautiful little red head, wheeling past them, with an enormous smile on her face. So many people commented and told her she had the prettiest red hair and the coolest looking chair.
Today, Olivia still uses her wheelchair among other types of equipment, each piece helps her in different ways. It never gets old for me, seeing the look of pride, determination and utter joy in her eyes from achieving a sense of independence all because she had the help from one of these devices.