Friday, January 25, 2008

Coming Out

Yesterday was my first day out in the world on the scooter. I can't write about it much because I don't want to think about it much. I should have chosen a day when I would have been out 2-3 hours, not 7 1/2 hours. Exhausted, in pain and embarrassed by an accident. I ran into a really wide range of disablist and humbling experiences, many of which would not have happened if I'd limited my time out. Completely overwhelmed.


Elizabeth McClung said...

well, at least you went out, that puts you ahead of me, who has had an electric wheelchair/scooter donated two weeks ago and still am too chicken to take it outside. So I guess, I'll have to race to catch up (no I won't, I use the lowest speed setting as anything I don't manual control over terrifies me).

FridaWrites said...

Hi, hope you're feeling better, Elizabeth. Wish I were there to show you some tricks I learned the hard way. If there is an empty or uncrowded office building you can practice in on a weekend, that might help. I did that today, since it's easy to get stuck in restroom stalls if I'm not careful. Practice makes things much easier. If you can take Linda with you, she'll be able to see the angle you're backing out at better than you and can tell you how to adjust.

The main problem is that I'm left handed and that I keep using the left hand to accelerate--they can reverse the controls on the Amigo.

If you carry a small bag with a long, sturdy armstrap with you (I have a Kavu), you can use it to pull doors shut behind you and to hook on coathooks in restroom stalls to close the door. For doors you need out of regularly, hang a rope or cloth from the knob so you can more easily pull it closed.

To avoid wipeouts and tipping it, take turns slowly if you're going downhill/around a curve. Only corner fast on flat ground. Husband warned me about that (better intuitive understanding of physics).

If you go to a place you normally don't visit for practice, any embarrassing mishaps will only be witnessed by people you'll never see again. I should have done more of that first. My kids enjoyed being able to walk fast with me today--they're tired of poking along snail's pace.

I've almost worn out the seat handle on the GoGo already since I change angles often. That may not be bad since I don't like it locked in place.

It was really good to be out. Found out that I could do the buffet line at lunch today, but I didn't risk carrying my own tray.

You'll probably enjoy it, especially if it gives you more energy so you can make longer trips out.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Good tips, mine is on the left side as I have stronger, longer use of left hand. But the reverse controls, which are backward totally flummox me, so I have dented a few doors and walls but I had everything removed so it will hit as little as possible and can actually go from my study right to the toilet through the bathroom door.

Liz said...

Wow. Well, I've been there. It is pretty overwhelming.

here is a long ranty bit and a manners guide i did a while back. In the comments there are good links to more of those sorts of lists of wheelchair dos and don'ts.

Liz said...

though, you know, all my tips and don'ts are for manual chairs; i have only used scooters in the grocery store. so please add your own!

FridaWrites said...

These tips work really well for scooters, though I don't have to worry about someone trying to push me. I love the lists of questions/answers and am considering clipping and carrying to hand to strangers I don't want to answer. Might not set the best tone with acquaintances, but yes, the health questions are so tiresome.