I so vividly remember the day that I surrendered to the idea of getting a mobility scooter. I had just been released from the hospital after a 10-day stay for an unsuccessful plasmapheresis treatment.
During that stay (seriously, Porter Hospital was so incredible to me!), occupational and physical therapists met regularly with me to make life and mobility – easier.
Movement wears me out. It really is as simple and yet, as complex as that. The more I move, the more pain I endure, the more my muscles literally weep inside me and the more they cramp and spasm. Don’t get me wrong. I am all too familiar with what they call at the Mayo Clinic, “earned pain.” I used to be a competitive, fast-pitch softball player. I’ve been active most of my life. This pain is not the type of soreness you feel after a tough workout. So, the physical and occupational therapists worked daily with me in the hospital to determine ways to make life more accessible and frankly, bearable.
We tried a cane. We tried a walker but because of the intense pain in my triceps, those devices just lit up my upper arms. One day, someone suggested a wheelchair but again, unless it was electric – it was too taxing for my upper arms.
However, the therapist suggested I think of my energy like a tank of gas. You only have so much. Why would I use all of my energy getting from location to location and then, have none left for whatever I was hoping to do? This made sense. It stung but made sense.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood over the years – utterly spent – at the end of the long hallway looking down at my apartment door. In the movie, Poltergeist, there’s a scene where the mom is running to save her daughter and the hall just keeps getting longer and longer as she runs.
That’s how I felt. Every. Single. Time. Or I’d be out on a video shoot and just getting from the car to the shoot location would leave me exasperated.
Not long after that hospital stay, I gathered my little family and said that I thought it was time I consider a wheelchair. There were lots of tears. To my family (and me), it was like another piece of me lost. They are always behind me, though and agreed that despite our grief, I needed help. I started searching for the right option and found a mobility scooter that I was able to purchase thanks to your generosity through the GoFundMe campaign.
It is a battery-operated mobility scooter with a tilt option for the controls. So, I can position the handle area so that I don’t need to stretch my arms to operate the device, which would worsen the pain in my triceps. It also collapses with the touch of the key and weighs 50 pounds, so I can use it at the airport – ride it all the way to where we board the plane and check it there like a piece of luggage. Glorious!
I still found myself limited in my mobility in that I couldn’t load the collapsed scooter into my car by myself. I needed to ask someone to do it for me. My family would help. My work mates would help. I even asked a stranger a time or two.
One time, I had no help and tried to lift it into the car only to slip on some ice – and to play off the popular nursery rhyme:
When Naomi slips, the scooter will fall,
And down will come Naomi, scooter and all.
I wept boldly and had to call Tom to come rescue me. No more of that. I then used the GoFundMe to purchase a lift for the outside of the car. I drive the scooter onto the lift and load it onto the back of the vehicle. It’s better but it’s still limiting. I find standing to load the scooter (especially when it’s cold) – exhausting. If it’s raining or the roads are wet, I struggle to cover the scooter to protect the battery which means I’d rather not go anywhere than be caught in a rain or snowstorm with my scooter on the car. I long for the day I can get a vehicle where I can drive the scooter inside, hop in the driver’s seat – get where I need to go and simply ride the scooter right back out. That’s a far-off dream financially for us but a dream nonetheless.
I detest needing a mobility scooter. Absolutely detest it. And yet, I’m so grateful for it. Not long after getting it, I was able to go for a “walk” with our youngest daughter and our dog. That moment was worth every bit of shame I felt in needing the scooter.
One thought on “Surrendering to the Mobility Scooter”
Great article! It’s inspiring to see how you didn’t let your physical limitations hold you back and instead embraced the mobility scooter. Your courage and determination are truly admirable. Your story serves as a reminder to us all that with the right tools, we can overcome any obstacle and live life to the fullest. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
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