Scooters

Monday, August 12, 2019

On Saturday, something wonderful happened. Yes, I used the word wonderful.

I had been going from person to person: case worker, PT workers, Recreational Therapist, my OT guy who specializes in scooters and electric wheelchairs, Psychologist, Dr. P (the doctor with the name no one can pronounce) and mentioning to each one that I wondered if I could buy (not that I had the money but I always figure I can get it somewhere, fundraiser, sisters, friends) – really what I was asking was whether those scooters that I saw in my old neighborhood, that seemed to be driven by little old ladies (I’m sure little old men drive them as well, but in my neighborhood it was little old ladies I noticed); and they had various attachments for carrying groceries; and I saw them all the time in FairWay – the giant supermarket; but I had never seen one in the castle.

Last Friday, the recreational person comes into my room and she’s very excited about something. She talks very fast and maybe I had been dozing, but she seemed to be saying that someone had left a scooter when they left the castle.

Whether they died or went to a nursing home was what I thought. I didn’t quite get that she was saying that it was just sitting outside PT and when Matt the OT guy came on Saturday, I could take a look at it.

So on Saturday, around 10:30 a.m. Matt goes with me to ground level PT and sure enough, sitting there is an electric scooter.

He tells me that it is probably way too small for me, and that it’s an old, low-end model. But then asks if I’d like to take it for a spin.

Absolutely. He shows me how the seat pivots so I can get in. It’s insanely easy to operate. Honestly, it is a little cramped but who cares. The turning radius is very wide so I have to back out of the elevator on the first floor, and do a broken u-turn to get it pointed in the right direction.

The controls: one knob for speed with a turtle icon to designate slow, and an antelope jumping when the knob is turned all the way up (think 11 in Spinal Tap).

And a lever that determines whether you go backwards or forwards.

It all feels very natural to me since I’ve been driving since I was 15. I realize that the top speed might be 5 or 6 mph, but when the traffic on either side of you are people walking their dogs, kids playing around (I had made it into Central Park with ease) and was just so happy to have gotten there without the pain that usually went with the trip (back giving out; remembering to lift my left foot which droops; sitting on the rollater every 1/2 block); and feeling very snug and comfortable going up and down curbs.

The first day out, I went to the Northern end of the park with Matt, and for once it was the other guy who had to go back. He was sneezing and coughing and tears coming from eyes; apparently the spore count and pollen count were high that day.

When we got back to OT, he said I had taken to it like a duck to water (we did see some ducks in Meer Pond) – and there was no doubt I could drive one of these things.

Then like a customer tailor he pulled out a measuring tape: elbows, hips, length to knee, femur, spine; and all that sort of thing.

He told me again that this particular one was junk. And old. And he was pretty sure that Medicaid would pay for one, but he couldn’t be sure. And that batteries at improved enormously since this one was built.

I told him that if I could keep it til this Friday, I would use it to go to the infusion center which is only 5 blocks away (every two months for the Crohn’s) which was one of the reason I picked this place.

I had figure that after a certain amount of PT I could walk it. That hasn’t happened. But with this vintage scooter -five blocks might be 10 minutes – tops.

I need to make sure I can keep it until Friday at least.

The charger seems to work, but the little green light on the transformer doesn’t go red or green. The needle that measures voltage does jump up to the top of green after I’ve had it plugged in all night. So I figure the red/green LED on the charger is just out.

What I’d like to leave you with is yesterday I went out with my friend Matt (not the OT guy but an old photographer friend) and he went around shooting and I went to the falafel stand and got a real Coca Cola in a can (not the watered down stuff they have in the dining room) and one of the best falafel sandwiches (it’s the place by Meer Lake or Pond or whatever it is) I’ve ever had. They wrapped it all up, and width the sun shining on my face, I navigated back to the Castle, got in the elevator and up to my room, and from there I leave it to your imagination.