That's one way for complex rehab to get noticed in D.C.


If you’ve ever been inside the office of a congressman in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., you know it’s pretty small. It’s definitely smaller than the office of a senator in the Hart Senate Office Building. (It’s D.C., after all, where everything is hierarchal.)

So when you walk into said office as a party of four, plus a six-year-old in a complex power wheelchair equipped with a communication device and a vent, things get a little tight.

We didn’t realize just how tight, though, until, while waiting to speak with Sean McMorrow, a legislative aide of Rep. Frank Kravotil, D-Md., another aid, moving fast and with a determined look in his eyes, crossed our paths, tripped over a trash can and fell. Not a graceful, slow-motion fall, but a nasty, hard fall.

I guess that’s one way for complex rehab to get noticed in D.C.


So what does a six-year-old think about while his parents and a complex rehab provider try to convince a 20-something legislative aid to convince his boss to sign on to H.R. 3790, the bill to repeal national competitive bidding, and support efforts to create a separate benefit for complex rehab?

If you’re Nicholas Mumma, a miniature white tractor trailer truck resting on the top shelf of a display case in the far corner of the office.

After Nicholas used his communication device to run through his carefully prepared speeches--“I need my power wheelchair so I can go to school with my friends” and “Please help to keep kids health and happy” and “Thank you for listening to me”--he used the mouse for the device to create a new message: “I like the big truck.”

None of us adults had even noticed.


Inevitably, when you’re walking the streets of D.C., you meet someone famous. No, we didn’t cross paths with President Barack Obama or even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

But, while walking to Cannon for the umpteenth time, we did cross paths with Bryan Anderson, the national spokesman for Quantum Rehab, who was injured by an IED in Iraq, resulting in the loss of both of his legs and his left hand.

It turns out Nicholas and Bryan use the same Quantum power wheelchair, the Q6000. With their Oakley-ish sunglasses on, the two posed for a picture in front of the Capitol Building.

Bryan also gave Nicholas an autographed photo of himself, and told him and his parents, “If you ever need anything, just let me know.”

They teach you in the military to “take care of your own,” and although he’s not on active duty anymore, Bryan still takes that to heart.


I'd like to thank Charles Barrett of Roberts Home Medical; and Gary Gilberti and Jeff Cupps of Chesapeake Rehab Equipment; and the Mummas, especially Nicholas; and the Evanses, especially three-year-old Wyatt and his pinstripped vest, for letting me tag along on their Capitol Hill visits.

Liz Beaulieu