Hannah has wheels. Hannah has a horn. Hannah has front and rear suspension, and she is coming for you at 4 mph.
I wouldn’t say that the purchase of my mobility scooter has been 7 years in the making, far from it, but definitely the last 2 or so. The absolute reluctance of owning a wheelchair/scooter has been for no other reason than feeling like I am ‘giving in/up’. It’s when I really went through a self evaluation during my recent relapse that I asked myself ‘wha the f*ck is the problem, Hannah?’. I have never explored what the problem is, or why I have even seen this as a ‘problem’ before. All I knew was that I didn’t want to ‘waste’ money on one as it will never be used because like hell am I ‘giving in’ to all of this. Full stop. Oh Hannah…
It has taken a horrendous relapse for me to finally see what I have been blinded to for so many years. I planned on doing some Xmas retail therapy with my sister, and the evening before something just hit me. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, you are going to get that mobility scooter, Hannah. I WANTED to get one, I WANT my independence back (for the most part), I WANTED to take back what this disease has slowly taken from me over the years.
Off we went to the motorbility store, I saw the one I wanted instantly (which in itself just shows that I have subconsciously known what was needed and what I was looking for). I took it for a test run around the shopping centre, knocked over a few displays in the shops, ran over strangers feet, reverse parked into Costa, and most importantly…I managed to get around with ease and get everything I needed to get done with not only having my energy in tact, but symptoms weren’t going cer-razy and I could enjoy time with my sister and niece. Something that hasn’t happened for a while without it ending in me feeling like I have just left a battle field (which yes, is the case the majority of the time in Primark, regardless of how people tackle it). That’s when I FINALLY didn’t see this as me ‘giving in’ but I saw this as something that will ENABLE me to do so much more. A couple of hours later I rolled back to the motorbility store with a huge smile on my face, and purchased my first set of wheels (albeit the smile slightly faded once I handed over the bank card).
I have had my scooter for a month now, and my God it really has helped me out no end. I like to refer to it as my ‘enabler’; it enables me to go about my day when my legs are simply like ‘nah, not today mate’, or the energy (or lack of) is screaming at me to SIT.DOWN.GAL.
One of many symptoms that I will go into, because it links into the cascade of events that happens when I walk, is walking AND thinking as my energy is used up. I will use going food shopping as an example. The amount of concentration that is needed for me to move my legs, coordinate them, keep my balance, trying to work through the random spouts of vertigo that comes along as and when it pleases, work through the cog fog and confusion that again, hits as and when it pleases, all whilst trying to select what is needed off the shelf. Give me a choice out of the many products just sends my little head into an absolutely whirlwind. Taking what I deem as an absolutely ludicrous amount of time selecting what loaf of bread to get is absurd yet comical. Choice, choice, and more choice. Oh my, I need to make a decision, I mean come on Hannah, it’s a loaf of f*cking bread! I then end getting myself into a frustrated fluster, before heading into aisle 9 to stock up on my tea and coffee.
Now, I never go into any situation involving me making a decision blind. I am constantly writing things down on my phone or yelling things at Alexa to add to my list for me to look at when I am out. So now I am walking, coordinating myself, dealing with the vertigo, reading and trying my damned hardest to remember what I have just read a second before on my shopping list. All whilst acknowledging people with the polite ‘hi, byes, excuse me, how’s your Mum doing? Still on for gin on Saturday? Oh, that reminds me to get a pizza – what are you fancying? (Another decision)’, and then head to to the till which is just a completely different palaver. I didn’t mention that finding the words and getting them through that filter between the brain and mouth and in a) the right order, b) clear and concise , and c) making any kind of sense that doesn’t represent the slurred ramblings of a drunk needs to be added to the endless symptom list. I’ll leave it there as hopefully you get the idea of my quick pit stop at Sainsbury’s, total time for a basket of goods on foot – 1hr 30 mins.
Although now I have my scooter, I can get this completed in a perfectly reasonable time of about 20 mins or so! Hurrah! Whilst yes I still have all of the symptoms mentioned; I am no longer needing to multi task them all, and can tackle each one as and when it comes along. I am sat down; I am not using vital energy/ resources thinking of my next move, needing to keep my balance, coordination and ploughing through the cog fog. I can STOP, check in with my brain, collect myself, take my time whilst sitting down to work it all out, and THINK. There is a brain in there, it just has a lot of nerve works to navigate around and regardless of the route, I get to the destination eventually.
Walking AND thinking. Think about it the next time you move. Think about exactly what your mind/body needs to do, and if one step is missed then HOT DAYMN.
Whilst I don’t, and thankfully need to use my scooter 24/7, it is there for me to get from and around A to B as and when required. I am no longer pushing myself and body through unnecessarily dramas. Want to meet for a coffee? Cinema? Go on that day trip? Cinema? Pub? Lunch? I’ll be seeing ya there feeling as fresh as I did when I left the house, and wheeling up with a full bank of ENERGY (dependent on the day people, let’s not get too cocky now Hannah).
By the by, I usually get a fresh tiger loaf – medium cut, and always has to be Yorkshire tea and Nescafé golden roast. I can confidently make that decision sitting here.
By the by by, I tend to do an online shop for the big main one, because even a scooter built by fairies and God himself couldn’t get me through that experience.