Monday, June 28, 2010

Beach Walker: Day 1

Here is the beach walker, as shown previously, with just the curved ends as "skids"--action!

The Beach Walker is hard to push doesn't help that it's not exactly level (but close--I had some trouble with cementing around the axle to make it snug). This is too hard for her to push or turn. (By the way, it's not raining here--just humid).

So, my ingenious dad found out that some golf club wheels fit perfectly into 1 1/2" PVC fittings, so he brought some. We outfitted the walker as is with the wheels and gave it to E to try. We knew the addition of the wheels would change the angle of the walker, and we'd probably have to fix it later. We didn't think she would fall right away...but she did.

Here is a side view of the walker with the wheels--very easy to tip at this angle..

BUT--the important message here is, with the addition of the rear wheels, this model can be more easily pushed and turned to work on the beach. I still need to add some hooks for E to hang her bucket while she looks for shells. The new plan is to shorten the rear legs to help the "tipping" angle, and keep the wheels. We brought a hand saw, so I'll update those changes tomorrow.

I can't lie...being the only parent of a physically disabled kid on the beach isn't easy. But E is having a fantastic time, and she's willing to try new things. As you can see, her stance isn't great--up on toes, legs bent--we expect a lengthening procedure this winter. I'm not sure yet what we're going to do...but I just hope it helps her move better. We'll see.


Meadow said...

Wow, really great job, Amy! I am really impressed! As with any new products, it takes trial and error to get the best result.

I don't know if it would be right for this, but for Peyton's walker I attached a flexible plastic pail from Target. I think I've seen them in the kids or shower section (like a shower caddy)--it is oblong with handles along the long sides. I attached it along the top bar with some garden velcro ties (like for tying tomatoes to stakes).

I'm so excited for Elena that she can have some independence at the beach, all thanks to her awesome mom!

GingerB said...

I love your engineering! How wonderful for Elena to be able to stretch her wings on the beach. Great work!

Unknown said...

Hi Elena! I am a 68 year old man who has recently lost all of my sense of balance and can walk only with the aid of a walker. I and my wife have been going to Siesta Key for over 30 years and have walked the beautiful beach nearly every day that we are there. This year I will not be able to go out on the beach because a normal walker will not get through the sand.
I have been searching the Internet for a walker that works in sand, but found only very expensive products. Then I stumbled upon your blog describing the PVC walker that your mother invented for you- very impressive! It didn't take me long (seconds) to imagine a similar walker made adult- sized so that I, too, may walk the beach again. Thank you for the great idea and for sharing it with we who want to continue to have pleasure in our lives.
Dr. John Hamilton