So, instead of ordering the parts through my service provider and waiting for a technician then hoping it all falls together, I am ordering a new wheelchair and will keep the old one on stand-by as a 'just in case'.
Wheelchair purchases can be made easily on line and the prices are excellent. I caution you not to do this for two reasons. If you have insurance coverage, most of these places don't submit the paper work for you. This means that it is cash up front and deal with the insurer yourself.
Second and MOST important, you absolutely want a professional to perform an assessment of your needs and physical abilities / limitations to make sure you are getting the correct wheelchair for you. Additionally, the pros assure that your posture is correct and you are not doing yourself continued harm or problems. You get to discuss options and what will suit your needs best.
I contacted a local company and let them know I was in the market for a replacement chair. I had to get my doctor to fax medical records and then make an appointment for my assessment at the 'wheelchair clinic'. I was informed that Chad and Tammy would perform the assessment.
Appointment day arrived and a friend transported me to the Hiram G. Andrews Center. This is an Office of Vocational Rehabilitation facility that provides education and training for people with disabilities. One of the few in the country. Anyway, I was truly pleased to be greeted by Chad who just happened to be a patient in the rehab hospital where I worked 20 years ago. He was working as a Rehab Specialist for the Medical Equipment Provider and would be part of the assessment team. The other half of the team, Tammy, is a licensed Occupational Therapist. She would be assessing my function, taking a medical history and assuring that Chad and I didn't miss anything.
Tammy did her thing, Chad did his. We discussed my use of the wheelchair, methods of transfer, propulsion and activities of daily living [ADL's for those who are not initiated]. We talked over wheels, tires, arm rests, seat cushion, back support, footrests, I felt very comfortable that the new chair will meet my needs, keep me safe and as independent as possible. The lesson here: don't try this at home kids, get a professional (s).
Additionally, it was very gratifying to see that a patient from the rehab was a productive, successful person in the community. Way to go, Chad! I am still envious of him; he could always and still can ride a wheelie forever in his wheelchair.