When "Cute" Makes a Difference

Nina has a prescription for forearm crutches. It is exciting that she has gained the balance and strength necessary to use them. The walker has been great, but Nina's gait (the way she walks) is just painful to watch. She hunches down, elbows bent, legs bent, and she drags her feet. Let me tell you, she can go fast! But the point is to get her to walk properly. Her body needs to learn how to move.

The piece of paper with her prescription is a symbol of moving forward. It is exciting!

I stopped by to order her crutches, and I realized quickly, that our options were based on shades of gray that screamed: "I am adaptive-medical equipment!"

"Can we get them in pink or purple?" I asked

No. No we can't. Insurance will only cover certain models, and "cute" is not their priority. I get that. What I don't get, is that there is no difference in cost. As a matter of fact, the crutches that were recommended to us, the ones that are "cute," the ones where we can chose a color, are more affordable that the ones that insurance would cover. But it doesn't matter, because it is what it is.

The thing is, sometimes, "cute" is significant. When Nina is in her wheelchair, people stare. A small child in a wheelchair seems so sad, yet it is equipment that allows her to be independent and go long distances. She got to choose the color, and she loves that about her wheelchair, it is her very own. We have seen lots of walkers, and Nina really notices them. She can tell you which ones she likes and which ones she doesn't like.

All the medical equipment we use is part of who Nina is. The wheelchair, the walker, and now the crutches...those are her legs! Sure people will stare, but if she likes them, if she thinks they are "cute," if she gets to pick a color, then it really doesn't matter what others think. For her, crutches are an accessory; like a bracelet, or a necklace. She wears them proudly.

We walked out without ordering gray crutches. We will call insurance and try to figure it out.

It amazes me, really, as I learn to parent Nina and navigate the world of Cerebral Palsy, how small things can make such a big difference. But we do it, and we try, because we love her. Because we want her to feel confident and secure. And yes, sometimes, the reality that she had nothing at the orphanage makes me want to give her the very best. And this time, it is colored crutches.