Editor's Note

15 Years Young

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.

Laurie Watanabe and Rainer Küschall• 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.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at [email protected].

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