Getting Home Sooner with Amigo
Friendly Wheels, Issue 119 – April 2018
In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Becky Jackett and learn a little bit about her story and how her Amigo helped her get home a week early from the hospital.
Becky Jackett from Millington, Michigan is strong and determined, and with help from an Amigo accessory she was able to head home after foot surgery a week early!
Becky has an inspiring story. She worked as an educational sign language interpreter in Tuscola County for nearly two decades before retiring in 2010. Currently, she volunteers in two nearby school districts where she teaches sign language to fourth graders and the importance of sign language and service dogs to preschoolers.
She and her husband, Mike, will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in October. They have two sons, Andrew (age 22) and Lucas (age 15). In August 2017, they welcomed April to their family. April, a yellow Labrador retriever, is Becky’s service dog. Becky has Muscular Dystrophy, and April has become a wonderful canine companion. April assists with picking up dropped items, opening doors and pushing access buttons.
April got her name because her birthday is April 5. She and her litter mates were given spring-themed names, April, Spring, Petunia—all are currently service dogs; and Izzo completes the bunch with a March Madness-themed name. Izzo is now a well-loved family dog. Becky highly recommends Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI) based in Ohio, the organization that matched April with Becky and her family.
Becky’s other helpful companion is her Amigo. She got her first Amigo in 2005. Presently, she has a ‘True Blue’ Amigo RT Express Junior (the RTX Junior features a shorter platform). Becky’s sister, a University of Michigan Wolverines fan, says the blue is in support of her favorite team; Becky counters to say it matches the blue in the blue and yellow ribbons in support of Down Syndrome Awareness.
Lucas, her youngest son, has Down syndrome. Lucas was three when Becky got her first Amigo, and he did not like that he couldn’t ride with mom on it!
Bringing Becky’s story back to present day, you may be wondering how she got to go home from the hospital a week early. She had surgery earlier this month on her left foot to strengthen the bone structure and lengthen the Achilles tendon so she can push off the foot.
Rehabilitation specialists set her release date for March 21, which was three weeks after the surgery date. That seemed like a lengthy time to be away from her home and family. The staff at the hospital wanted to be sure her foot had a chance to heal and could be kept in a stable, elevated position.
Some of the reasons for the lengthy rehab time were that Becky wasn’t able to easily get around in a manual wheelchair, and adjusting the swing away footrests and locking the wheels for every transfer was not smooth. Also, options to rent a power wheelchair for a short period of time were not available.
That’s when Becky and Mike reached out to Amigo Mobility to see if there was a solution. Jake Priest, Amigo Mobility Center consultant, recommended a durable medical equipment footrest to attach to the platform of her Amigo. The footrest was brought to the hospital and attached to her Amigo, and the rehabilitation staff cleared her for release that day!
This solution safely supported her healing foot so Becky could head home sooner.