Friday, February 10, 2012

Walker and Scooter Usage 101

I've been using a walker and a mobility scooter for a while now. So I thought I'd share things you MUST know if you are ever (and hopefully never) in need of these mobility aids.

First, watch carefully where you are going... because usually the only people watching out for you are only plotting the quickest way to get in front of you.

Running into someone is always your fault. OK, so they ran into you. Or jumped directly in front of you. Or tried to get between you and the wall in only 6 inches of space. They will blame you so you might as well just accept it. Otherwise you'll be known as the crazy person who can't watch where they are going. Oh wait, that was the first rule wasn't it.

I need to write an entire section on curb cuts. First thing to know with any kind of mobility aid is that every perfectly able person believes that it is so much easier to use a curb cut than actually stepping up and down the curb. This entitles them to wait to cross at only those curb cuts.

This may also mean that you have been slowed into crossing the street. Of course the cars will beep at you just as the light turns green because you have obviously blocked their path on purpose. And remember, the people who previously blocked your use of the curb cut to start across the street are also standing in line to walk up the curb cut on the opposite side of the street.

And I'm sure whoever decided that curb cuts need those raised dots was worrying about the blind. While my scooter can roll over them easily the same can definitely not be said of my walker.

Those are just as bad as trying to control my walker over those beautiful brick paver walkways and driveways. Don't clench your teeth as you chatter and clatter across. And although you have to hold on tightly, be aware that at any moment your walker may be stuck sending you almost over the bar. I guess you could view all of that as replacing the need to use a shake weight to strengthen your arms.

I could go on and on about problems you'll find even in places that are considered to be accessible. But I really think the only way to get through is to see the absurdities of the situations and smile instead of dwelling on the problem.
And if you're like me accepting your situation may be helped by doing things like "tricking out your new wheels". Here's a photo of mine. That reflector on the front is actually a folding cup holder with a reflective White Sox sticker I added on the front. I've found a great saddle bag. And when I needed new wheels, well, you can see that I went for the fancy pink rims... I mean legs.

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