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.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

Heidi in front of the "Seinfeld" exterior shot diner.

In Happier Times

I used to go to NYC a lot.  The City makes me happy all the time I am there.  My heart just pounds to the beat of the subways underground as I walk on the grates that cover them.  All the time I am there, I admire the architecture: a window, gargoyle, duck pond, or just a doorway.  I think the architecture, from the largest building, to the tiniest flourishes, keeps visual time for the rest of the world, since it serves as backdrop for so much of the popular culture.  So many of the shows seen on television and the movies are set in NYC.  Why does my heart pound in the city?  Why are the tourists so amazed by it?  By its beauty of course, but also because the city itself is a star.  It is the star of stage and screen, and we all know it from the shows.

While I was doing my dissertation, Margie took me all over the city, made sure I got all the right pictures to capture “New York City-ness” to write about.  This picture above was the quintessential Seinfeld place, the diner exterior shot. (I was writing about the sense of place in Seinfeld.)  These windows are recognizable by hundreds of millions of people internationally.  What better windows to use to enter the Weekly Blog Photo Challenge (a good way to start the first week of a blog, n’est-ce pas?).

Margie and I talked about my moving to New York, where she lives.  It seemed like such a no-brainer. Why not move to a place that makes you so happy?

When walking became so difficult and my fatigue became overwhelming, it was hard to explain, but even to travel to New York for an overnight visit began to look more like Mt. Everest or Kilimanjaro, beautiful to admire from a distance, but absurd to climb.  I am not giving up on it, though.

Greg (my brother) and I were looking at mobility scooters last night by email.  He suggests I get a megaphone so that I can yell at people to get the hell out of my way. I’m starting not to think this is such a bad idea.  Sharan suggests that I get two so that I could have a motorcade.  Even better!  I can picture myself in some sort of diva wear with a Swarovski crystal encrusted scooter, with those little handlebars with streamers.  Perhaps a boa (although I’m not fond of the feathers).  A mental picture has formed, I hope, one that develops an image of pure fabulousness, like none you have ever known on a scooter.  That’s what I will do.  A window from my rigor against doing this, to the crystal encrusted fabulousness.  We can have all kinds of windows.

New York, at least a visit, could be in my future.

Well, hell, at least a long walk around a museum could be.  Do you have any idea how much fun that sounds like?

372 days…tick..tick…tick…. (It is still, always hard to overlook that).