We signed on the dotted line this morning. Checks changed hands, proof of insurances were copied and after 2 years of dreaming, hoping, and fundraising we took hold of the keys.
We didn’t buy a van, we made an investment in Liam’s freedom.
18 months before Liam was born Karin and I bought a new car. “It’s a family car! It has 4 doors! a car seat will fit back there just fine.” we told ourselves as we drove off the lot in our Honda Civic. If I were a more ambitious blogger I would videotape the many, many steps involved in taking Liam’s wheelchair apart to fit it into that car just to get him to a doctor’s appointment or to school. Seat goes in the trunk, wheels are taken off and put on floor of front passenger seat. Frame tipped onto its side and buckled into passenger seat. Liam in his car seat in back middle, vent and go-bag (emergency supplies and suction rig) on passenger side back seat, Karin, the oxygen tank and a diaper bag all in back on the driver’s side.
It wasn’t exactly the safest of transportation options.
Thank God we have my parents so close and so supportive because we have usually been able to trade cars with them from time to time in order to borrow my mother’s mid-sized SUV. Wheelchair does fit in the back but it’s too heavy to ask Karin to have to lift it almost three feet off the ground and into the storage space by herself. At this point Liam himself is getting too heavy to ask Karin to lift him high enough to get him into his car seat with his afo’s on and neck support collar, oh and the ventilator, that thing is kind of important. She can do it, but the angle needed isn’t fair to anyone’s spine or to Liam himself as he basically gets folded in half for the transfer. Even though it has a bit more space than the civic and has been a workable option so far, the SUV is also not the safest of options.
This morning at around 11:00 we drove off the lot with Liam safely secured in his very own wheelchair accessible van opening this family’s opportunity for adventure wide open. Gone are the days of worrying how we could attend parties, events, and important appointments. Gone are the weeks that we would suddenly realize that aside from Liam’s school Karin hadn’t left the house in over a week. Gone are the hassles and headaches of taking apart wheelchairs, and transferring ventilators without de-canulating the boy.
Of course this is a life changing event in the life of our family because its impact on Liam’s safety but Karin and I are also celebrating this because it is the first time ever that we will be a two car family. Karin and I have never had two working cars before and so not having to base each other’s schedules around each other’s schedules will be a new and exciting time for us. Karin won’t be left stranded while I leave for work and I will no longer be stuck looking for a ride home on days when Karin needs the car. This is a major change to our routine and dynamic and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
The local zoo that I wrote about in my last post has no idea what they are in for. Armed with a yearlong membership and the ability to safely transport Liam without me or a nurse Karin and Liam will be there ALL THE TIME! On the weekends that I have to work I think I can now expect a visit from a special little guy every now and again. I don’t even want to think about how often I’ll see the word Target on our incoming credit card bills in the coming months.
It deserves a post of its own of course but I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this particular post to thank the people who helped us get here. To thank my parents for all the help, support, and flexibility to their own schedules that they have given us over the years. To thank all of the family and friends who have volunteered at pasta dinners and raffles, and donated money and time and prizes to the Liam the Lion fund. To my co-workers and all of the employees of Women & Infants Hospital who bought bracelets and made baskets and for the amazing pasta dinner that I wrote about here. We wouldn’t have gotten to this point so quickly without the amazing outpouring of support and help from so many sources.
Thank You for our freedom.
I’ll talk to you later.
By the way… We Olson’s like to name things. As such and as if she were a ship, we need a name for the van. I proposed Rocinante but now that we’ve driven her with her power doors, she’s just too fancy to be a Rocinante. My father’s first suggestion was The Falcon (of the Millenium variety of course) but she hasn’t yet made the Kessel run and also Karin shot that one down. So I’m not promising we’ll use any of them but if you want to throw any name suggestions our way in the comments we would be open to that.