I got up early before work to call both my insurance company (who never emailed me back a few days ago) and to call companies that sell wheelchairs. Found a company that is listed on my insurance company's list, and now I have to wait for their customer service person to call me back with the exact steps I need to follow to see if my university's insurance company might pay for it. Good grief. It's not like wheelchairs are an awesome fashion statement...I just want to be able to get around campus, go grocery shopping, and not have to drive to campus. Heck, there are some days where I can barely get from the handicap parking to my office without my spine feeling like it was gnawed on by a baby tiger.
I am literally about ready to just buy a chair off Ebay. Since I've used crummy hospital-like chairs ("hospital clunkers" as AskAWheeler puts it) , I know approximately what size I would need. The problem is that there are tons and tons of options out there, and things that other wheelchair users needs may be things I either don't need or don't want as a partially ambulatory person. For instance, a movable footplate would allow me to put it down when my feet are being useless or put it up when my feet are cooperating some so I can use them to scoot around with a coffee in my hand.
Now that I know what my deductible is, I may be better off getting it myself, even with possible fit problems. I found a Top End Crossfire (Top End is a sports chair company, although this model is a general purpose chair) on Ebay for a good deal less and some options that drive the MSRP up significantly. Seat is the right size, the back isn't too high (the higher the back, the harder it can be to push if you're little like me), and the footplate is adjustable height in a range that my legs actually hit. The plate isn't removable though, and it's lacking the clothing guards that I'd prefer to keep my shirts from getting stuck in the wheels.
So now I wait for United Seating and Mobility to call me back to see what sort of insurance dance might be ahead of me. I may need to have a physical therapy seating & mobility evaluation, which will likely cost a good chunk of money out of pocket. We'll see what happens...