Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day Twelve, Independence

...Scooting on the beach.. as long as I kept moving, my scooter didn't sink into the sand...

I had another story in mind, but what follows fueled my mind too much to let it be...

This morning I received a message from someone with M.E..
She is, like myself, able to drive a short distance but then can't do much when she gets to her destination. Her legs 'just won't do it'. I know exactly what she means.
This lady has looked into wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Responses from others to these aids are they are either 'too confronting' or ' you don't need one of those'.

It makes me immensely sad that the person already dealing with the daily challenges of living with a debilitating illness has to struggle even more by having to convince people about their needs.

Independence is, as I see it, a major key towards wellbeing.

If it means that one needs the use of mobility aid to obtain this independence, so be it!
I am not saying that is it easy...

My own experience:

Very early on in the illness I got a loan of a wheelchair as walking was not really an option. For days I avoided looking at the chair. I couldn't imagine myself in it. I had been a nurse and pushed chairs, I wasn't suppose to be in it.... However I realized very quickly that this chair was my way out of the door.... if I had a pusher that is. I couldn't move the chair myself.

A scooter was mentioned by an occupational therapist.
After a LOT of sole searching I made an appointment with a seller to show me a scooter at my home. I drove it. My brother happened to be with me and said: "Get it". I was not at all sure. I though it looked ridiculous.

I did buy it and struggled for a while with peoples responses. Sniggers from youngsters, funny looks from adults. I kept telling myself, and when appropriate the laughing onlooker, that this machine was my ticket to independence. I could go out when it suited me. Not when I had a pusher for my wheelchair. One friend suggested, "You are setting a trend."

Yes, it is an emotional struggle, BUT the scooter means independence.
And my (travel) mobility scooter is so compact that it can be hoisted into the car. My independence has now reached further grounds. I can bring the scooter when I go for a drive to town. I can take the scooter out and not get too exhausted with walking. I am able to safely drive home again.
And feel proud!
I even brought the scooter to Holland, and was able to explore my old city on my own.

No sniggers can stop me now!
And I hope to goodness, those of you who read this, and could do with a little Anand (best friend), that you will put your own needs first!

The scooter is a lifeline!
Listen to your needs!

Ps, I also get positive responses to my scooter-use, which are of course very welcome!

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