When the possibility of using a mobility scooter was first raised I involuntarily contracted as another sign of my disability flashed before my eyes. I saw it as something in me I had lost because of my Parkinson’s.
I went to a theme park today and knowing my walking has become shuffling, unsteady and exhausting I knew I was putting myself in a situation where a mobility scooter was necessary. I lasted about 10 minutes on my feet before having to stop and rest. I was holding everyone up so I relented and climbed onboard the red machine. I had to give up driving after my diagnosis so this was the first time in nine months I had taken charge of a motor vehicle. With some trepidation I turned the ignition key and the electric motor came to life without a sound; I expected a throaty roar of the engine but alas nothing. I shrugged my shoulders as much as my Parkinson’s will allow and laid my hands on the controls. They consisted of handle bars looped at each end with a moveable lever extending from the centre; I was informed that pushing the lever away from me propelled the machine forward, pulling the lever toward me put it in reverse and letting go applied the brakes. I was ready…
I gently pushed the lever and the mobility scooter lurched forward then settled into a steady pace. I was off!!! The wind streamed passed my face and the surroundings became a blur as I raced ahead, knuckles white as I grasped the handle bars…meanwhile toddlers and old people confidently strode past me and left me in their dust; I was actually doing 2mph! But I was mobile, in control and most importantly sat down resting my legs! I drove around the theme park with growing confidence. I even did a U-turn!
I now realise my fear was misplaced; using a mobility scooter is not about what I’ve lost but what I gain from using it, no matter how fast or slow I go.