LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Like many others with spina bifida, Ryan Wilson has lived much of his life with medical challenges that have affected his mobility. Five years ago, after Wilson developed a decubitus ulcer his mobility became severely restricted.
"My body was just not the same as far as mobility," said Wilson, 35. "I was a walking person who became a wheelchair person." After nearly five years with a manual wheelchair, Wilson said his body was worn down, his shoulder too weak to maneuver the chair. He had to move in with his mother.
But Wilson said the downward spiral spun upward in February when Medicare approved him for a power wheelchair, a medical device that lifted his spirits and changed his life.
"My shoulders have just about given out and the power chair has brought me back into society," Wilson said. "Especially after the ulcer, I was basically bedridden and couldn't get around my own house. If I wanted to go out someone would have to push me because my shoulders quit. With the power chair, the shoulders are not an issue. I can go until the battery quits."
Once Wilson developed the ulcer, he stopped working. His doctor said he could have died from an infection. Now, however, Wilson said the power wheelchair has returned some of the independence that he had missed, including grooming, preparing food, and getting to the bathroom. "And being able to leave my house, go up and down the street on the sidewalk, walk the dog, and go outside and spit in the yard," Wilson said. "Just simple things that I would need help with, now I don't."
Wilson is like thousands of Medicare patients across the country: they depend on power wheelchairs to allow them to live safely and independently at their homes. For many people living with disabilities, the power wheelchair is what prevents them from being confined to a nursing home or other care facility.