369 Days: The Mobility Scooter

Pride Mobility SC44X Go-Go Ultra X4 Wheel

So I’m thinking about getting a mobility scooter.

Oh God.  That sentence weighs a thousand pounds.  Every word is power-loaded with deep, heavy shame and emotion.  You have no idea.  Let me see if I can build a window:

Last Monday, my angel mother very gently suggested that I get a scooter by handing me a page from a catalog with a scooter circled.  I turned my lip up in a sneer and gave her a list of fourteen reasons why I was not doing that.

This week following my command performance has been lousy with pain, sort of like punishment.  A few of the days, nothing I tried could shut it down.  That’s saying a lot, since I have an arsenal for pain, from meditation to very strong medications.  On days like that, I want to call my pain doctor and demand a stop to my pain that minute.  That must explain why he never returns calls for two or three days.

So, one day I walked around quite a bit,all the aisles in the grocery store.  Then overnight, I woke up screaming, grabbing my calves in pain. The next day was unending misery.  The next time I walked significantly — this time around my apartment, cleaning closets — same thing happened.  So it is not surprising that Sharan kindly made the same recommendation as my angel mother:  in much kinder words than this, Sharan told me to get over myself and get a mobility scooter.

Thus, I called Scooter Heaven (a pseudonym) to find out the scoop.  I had to have a “mobility interview,” with my new best friend and mobility counselor Tammy, who offered me not only mobility advice, but also existential bon mots for over an hour.  I told her I really want the device so that I can go to a museum for an afternoon, go shop at an outlet mall for a whole day, or maybe travel somewhere like my beloved New York City.

Here’s the interesting part:  For the insurance company to pay, I must require the scooter for in-home use. They don’t care about my needing it for outside.  So, the hour-long chat was a series of questions that try to establish that need (I also have to have an exam by my doctor, who I happen to be seeing next week anyway).  I really don’t need a scooter inside–don’t even want some huge device monstrosity inside my apartment.  But when Tammy started asking me about whether I cook…well, no, not anymore because it hurts too much (my mom sends over big pots of soup or stands in my kitchen and makes me something good).  Or on a rare week when I’m doing well, I cook stuff, but I pay for it the next day in pain.  It would be cool to have a solution for my cooking problem, and get to enjoy cooking again.  Not surprisingly, my new best friend Tammy had numerous other ideas about how this mobility contraption could help me in my house.

In fact, she explained in the upsell, the scooter probably isn’t what I am really after, since the three-wheeler has a relatively wide turning radius, whereas a mobility chair can turn 360 degrees in one spot–ideal for a galley kitchen like mine, for example.

I don’t want an enormous wheelchair!  Imagine the stares when I am shopping at Ross’s Dress For Less and I hop up out of the chair to try something on.  Immediately, women around me start clapping and singing, “Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus!  It’s a miracle.  She is a walking Lazarus.  She is healed, thank you Lord!”  Enough.  Enough.  Enough.

See, a mobility Chair makes a real disability promise, as in “This chick has BIG problems,” whereas the scooter whispers (comparatively), “Oops!  Little bitty problem here!  Back off, folks.  Nothing to look at here.  Go back to your business!”  I don’t want to be a device liar.

Furthermore, I have no intent of buying one of those dreadful minivans or SUVs needed to drive the chairs around, unless I physically need a chair, obviously.

NBF Tammy promises that a gadget connects to my Camry on a trailer hitch, telescoping out and forming a ramp, so that I can drive the dreaded chair up the ramp and into the trunk somehow to be stowed.  Somehow this seems like a very, very bad plan.  However, I haven’t seen it in action.  I would have to do so to buy it.

As of this morning it appears as though a mobility device of some kind truly is in my future, since NBF Tammy called from Scooter Heaven to announce that my insurance indeed pays 100% for the scooter or chair I select.  Hooray….I think.

I must go now and practice looking cool in the mirror, cool from the mobility scooter height (so that I don’t look like one of those people in the Walmart candid shots that are circulated around the internet).  My brother is buying me a megaphone so that I can shout, “Out of my way fools, here comes the princess!”

I missed two whole writing days.  They were sleepy days,but one of them was happy, seeing Scott.  Sometimes a day away from writing is worth it, right?

369 Days.

9 thoughts on “369 Days: The Mobility Scooter

  1. There’s a woman at my job who is significantly younger that we are – I think she’s about 26 or so – and who uses a mobility scooter. (She’s got some form of R.A. that causes her a lot of pain and exhausts her easily.) Part of her job is helping people figure out what types of AT might be useful tot hem. You may want to talk to her….she’s a pretty cool person, and a very talented writer. She’s a good person to talk to about the pros and cons of different scooters. If you want to connect with her, let me know.

    • That is so cool, Lana!! Thanks. I would love to talk with her. If you want to send me her email or her mine that would be great (or I could call her). Obviously, it pays to have the right friends, Lana. You are so cool.

  2. Scooter or chair, things being what they are, it may be a pain to get it, but it beats the pain of not getting around and the physical pain. Plus we want you cooking (for us, mostly). On a very different scale… I remember when the doctors told me that I was too old to do certain things, and that I should change my diet, and wear glasses and lose weight and. At some point the relationship with our bodies becomes more contentious. Our bodies are less of us and more of themselves, and it does feel like a betrayal. But, damn the bodies, we’ll do what we want, even if crawling. Let’s get the chair, or whatever mobility device is needed and start touring the museums and the malls and NYC.

  3. You need this Heidi.
    My father was the coolest most well respected and accomplished person that I have met in my life time. He overcame so many odds, looked them all square in the face, moved on and did it with grace. He too had to drive a scooter, but he still wore his custom made suits, looked sharp as hell, head always held high, with a smile and a big hello. If he were alive today, he would tell you to get the damn chair, hold your head up high, explain nothing further, and drive your scooter into a joint like you own it! Remember, you are still YOU! A chair or anything else for that matter does not define a person! Put your best wheel forward and keep on truck’n!

    Peace out!
    Mia xoxoxo

  4. You are so fucking funny, Heidi! Carlos tweaked me to your blog, and I am thrilled to see your voice between our live chats! Rock on.

    I am also all about the groovy chairs. My mom has a “geri-chair” — serious misnomer. It’s a Laz-E-Boy on steroids and wheels. And long before she needed one, she always claimed an airport wheelchair. Best way to travel, ever. Skip the naked body scans, etc. Some nice person to chat with from gate to gate. Never miss a connecting flight again.

    My BFF Jeni from high school has a motorized thingy and is on her second van to go with. Y’all can talk decor when you’re ready. My favorite of her summer accessories is wicked cool toenail polish on bare feet. Everywhere. And, of course, awesome socks the rest of the year. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. We can always go with those crazy shoes no one can walk in anyway.

    And I’m thinking hats. Extraordinary hats. That is, if you’ll let me be in your entourage…

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