Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Friend Is Not My Yardstick, And I Shouldn't Be Yours

This post is from Rhonda:
In a recent conversation a friend declared that she was torn about getting a TravelScoot because while there are days that she suffers, and it would be convenient on occasion, she didn't need a scooter/mobility device as much as I did and feared that getting one would mean that she had given up walking.

This struck me odd, since I surely haven't given up walking. In continuing our conversation, I realized that she was comparing her need to mine as though I was the measuring stick for her ability. Wow, that is a lot of power to assign to someone else.

After a little thought, I realized that as a defense mechanism, I have been very vocal about my need. Also, I have posted a lot of pictures of me using my scoot and told a few stories. In truth, I don't always use my scooter. My scooter use is directly related to my pain level on any given day. There are some days that I will use my scooter for a ten minute run into the grocery store that I could probably "endure" on foot, and there are other days that I choose to walk a great distance, if my pain and asthma are managed and I feel up to it.

Although it is common to see my husband walking next to my scooter holding hands with me, I still do enjoy walking close to him and holding hands, so sometimes I do this instead of riding. I guess what I am trying to convey is that I have customized my scooter use to suit my needs and desires. Just because I have one doesn't mean that I have to use it all the time. However, having made the decision to use a TravelScoot now has probably extended the time before I have to have a mobility device.

I do however, fully intend to keep walking when I can and where I can, right up until the end, and using my TS in between for need and pleasure. Since our conversation, I no longer feel that I have to justify my current need so vehemently and instead will start telling people that I fully intend to keep walking and have never even considered quitting. My TS is here to serve a purpose and that purpose is to improve my quality of life now and keep me active and vital, because I deserve to be, not to replace walking.

Everyone has different needs just as we all have different bodies. How do you use your TravelScoot and do you sometimes choose not to use it?

From Elizabeth: If you have a response to this post and would like to send it to me via email, my address is


  1. Most people don't understand that if you have a scooter, you have some mobility and that mobility depends on where you are, where you are going, and the pain level of that day.

    I don't use mine in my house because if I start really hurting, I can lay down or take a hot soaky tub. Something I can't to a work or while out shopping. Also, at home I've got walls handy to use as a stablity device if I need it. I've also noticed that the more I use it for the long hauls, the more I'm able to do the short ones. It's like I'm not wearing my legs out and, thus, giving them more walkable longevity. So my 'yard stick' is pain level, distance, and will there something I can grab if my legs suddenly collipse? OK, you can add: just how ornery am I feeling today? And yes, I like to ride sometimes just because it's FUN!

  2. Good post. We need to remember that a TravelScoot is just a tool, like a cane or a chair or a car. It helps you. It isn't something that you lean on. If one can walk, they walk. When they need help, they use a tool. For some the reality is they will be on it constantly; others it is a fill in. Doesn't matter. Accepting our physical limitations is a major step for some. Don't feel ashamed if you need help, whether asking someone to hand something to you or to get on a scooter. We do what we must to get along.

  3. As Dean says, "accepting our physical limitations is a major step for some", and I am one of them (I was 26 when I became disabled, I'm 40 now but I've never accepted the new "me").

    I must confess that I was, and still am, somehow a little ashamed to be using a scooter... worried about what other people might think, etc. Because when I use crutches, no one knows if I have been using them for years, or I just twisted my ankle last week... but when I'm scooting, I guess I'm making it clear that my disability is not a two-weeks-thing. But actually, I've come to realise that this is a great thing, because using the scooter and not being able to "hide" that my disability is long-term, is proving very liberating. It allows me to forget about all the "acting" and just be (and enjoy) who I am. They say that pride is the soul's rust - if that's true, then the Travelscoot is "unrusting" my soul, and replacing my useless pride with mobility dignity in the process. I wish I had started using one before!! Because it's not only about being mobile: it's also about accepting who I am and living my life. Our lives! If one mobility aid can give us such thing, then we should be all for it.

    Anyway, while I think scooters have been common for many years in the States, it's been barely 1 or 2 years since I started seeing them on the streets of my city (Barcelona, Spain). So I think they catch people's eye, not because they're judging one person's level of disability, but because they're still a (relatively) rare sight.

    I also can relate to what all of you say about varying pain levels and the "strategy" of saving up your energy and "pain resistance" for those times where you really need them, and just use the scooter the rest of the time. It makes so much sense, but for some reason I felt as if I was the only one feeling that way! Understanding that I'm not so different (even though each disability is unique) makes me feel better.

    Thanks everybody for your testimonies, and thaks Elizabeth for your inspiring blog!