15 Years Young
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Apr 01, 2017
I’m a big believer in birthday seasons — just ask my beleaguered
family and friends — so this won’t be the last time I mention Mobility
Management turned 15 this year. But this issue marks our official anniversary,
since our premiere edition bore a March/April 2002 cover date. I know
from personal experience that most startup magazines don’t last long, so
despite the Me-Me-Me-ness of this, I’m taking a moment to celebrate and,
more importantly, to make some pledges.
• I pledge to keep right on fangirling. Feeling butterflies and stumbling
over words is neither fun nor professional. But sometimes, it’s just called for.
And I never want to lose the Oh-my-gosh
wonder of, for instance, meeting Rainer
Küschall at March’s International Seating
Symposium, a lovely moment captured by
Lee Ann Hoffman.
• I pledge to look back at where we’ve
been. Looking ahead gets all the ink, but
sometimes we appreciate forward progress
more if we occasionally look back over our
shoulders. In 2002, seat elevation was largely
treated as a value-add, a positioning option
that wasn’t funded and wasn’t mentioned very prominently. No, Medicare
still won’t pay for it 15 years later. But today, seat elevation is appreciated on
a whole new level (pun intended). And some payors do fund it.
• I pledge to keep my chin up. For all the effort you put into it, the industry
is sometimes slow to respond. Frustration builds over the Whac-A-Mole-ness
of policy changes. Clients can be inspiring, but they can be challenging,
too, due to unreasonable expectations or a lack of understanding of the
complex rehab procurement process. Too often, you lose a client. Emotions
run high, no matter how professionally objective you try to be. I’ve seen it;
you’ve helped me over the years to understand it.
• I pledge to appreciate every face-to-face meeting we have. We can
Skype, but nothing replaces a handshake or hug in person. Seeing you face
to face makes all those airport security lines worthwhile. Talking to you at
tradeshows and conferences feels like coming home. I promise to appreciate
how lucky I am to see you each and every time, because it hurts to no
longer see some of our treasured colleagues and friends.
• I pledge to keep on believing. The best thing you’ve taught me is that
nothing is impossible. In 2002, pre-school and kindergarten were thought of
as early-intervention mobility years. Today, 7-month-old infants are wheeling
about on their own. Ultralights are lighter (by engineering as well as by materials),
power bases drive more smoothly, minivans and SUVs are accessible,
and clients who can move a fingertip can be power chair drivers. I will never
underestimate determination, great engineering and collaboration.
• I pledge to try to keep up with you. While I can’t compare to what you
do, I’ll do what I can to keep celebrating you and your industry. You have
been and are great role models for me. I’ll do my best to do my part.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at [email protected].