Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh how I wish it was a Vespa scooter

Like other people who have been caretakers all their life, it is very hard for me to accept help.
It used to be so frustrating as a medical social worker to see patients struggle, risk falls or limit their activities because they would not use a handrail, cane, walker, or wheelchair.
I understand now the huge psychological impact of having physical limitations. It is devastating. Then to add insult to injury, an assistive device identifies you as different to the whole world. I am 55 years old. I don't want to have to use a cane, walker, wheelchair or scooter. I don't want to be considered old, I want my body and mind to function like everyone else.

For Jim, who sees everyday how painful it is for me to walk, it is difficult to understand my reluctance to use a mobility scooter. Heck, I am already publicly identified as "handicap" as I have my service dog, Bailey, and a permanent handicap parking placard. So what is the big deal to add a scooter?

We rented a scooter for a week in Las Vegas. It came apart and fit in the trunk of the car. Jim and Jeff had it apart and in the trunk before I could get my seat belt fastened. It was amazing the difference in my quality of life. Not only could I go to see Jeff in the World Series of Poker, we could go through a casino to a restaurant located in the back, we went to museums and stores all in the same day! Usually, if I walk for more than 100 yards, that's all I could do for the entire day - due to lack of stamina and pain. It was eye opener to me to realize how restricted my world had become. It had continued to close in bit by bit without me realizing how much I have been missing.

This week, my scooter came. We took it to the Crocker Museum in Sacramento - a place we have wanted to visit since moving to Elk Grove a year ago. It was wonderful being able to stop in front a painting, read about it and take as much time as I wanted enjoying it.
Why did I wait so long? I don't know, I am excited about the new possibilities; but it still makes me cry to think that is where I am today.


  1. Darcie, I'm so sorry you have been delt a bad hand (sorry Jeff!). Thank God you live in a day when scooters are available. If you need to use one to improve your quality of life, then I say yeah, baby!! (here the 'Born to be wild' music playing?).

    A Vespa is cool, but the cool factor can't make up for a better life. And sis, I'm not so far behind you with arthritis in my knees, hips, neck and hands.

    Love you!!!

  2. Thanks Larry, just keep your balance and you will be able to use the Vespa for a long time -but not in stores:)
    Jeff refuses to turbo charge my scooter so I might just have to settle for racing stripes!

  3. Have you read the book, My Stroke of Insight?

  4. Anonymous, thanks for your suggestion. It is a wonderful book written by a stroke survivor that was/is a brain researcher. It was very difficult for me to read (emotional) and I had put it down a number of times.

    HOWEVER, I think every stroke survivor and their families/friends(and medical professionals) should read it as it describes so many things that are hard for us to articulate (and difficult for them to understand). It also gives so much hope. I refuse to give up and continue to improve everyday.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to suggest it and giving me the opportunity to recommend it.

  5. My first liberating experience with a scooter was also a rental, at Disney. Now I have a stable of them including a Segway with a seat! (And a bona fide Vespa that I unfortunately haven't ridden in three or four years.) If you need a rugged outdoor ride check out the EV Rider Breeze. Oh and Logan, my service dog loves it! We can get a really good pace going.