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How I Came to Love My Mobility Scooter

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Having an invisible illness and using mobility aids can be difficult in many ways. It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that you might need these things, and to finally make the decision to use them. On good days I can walk with no aids, but sometimes I need to use my walking stick, and other days I need to use my mobility scooter.

It can be hard for loved ones to accept that you may need to use aids and to understand why this may the case and how the aids can help. Luckily for me I feel I have an open dialogue with my support system, so that they understand in the best way that they can why and how these things help me. Judgement from other people when you are out and about, however, is a completely different thing.

Seeing someone who you may have seen walking on other occasions, or who is younger than you and that you may not expect to need a mobility scooter, can provoke a reaction. I typically get either looks of judgement, disbelief or sympathy. However there are those people who show no judgement at all – these are the people I value most when I am on my scooter. I have never been one to really care what people I don’t know think about me, and this has only strengthened with age, but making the decision to buy a scooter was a difficult one for myself.

I thought about it for months, and tried hiring one for days out, and then later hiring one for a full week. It was after trying this that I realized the freedom that it could give me. It allows me to enjoy long days out that I couldn’t otherwise cope with. It enables me to go out with my dogs and my husband, even on days when I am having a flare, and when wouldn’t usually be able to leave the house! It allows me to be part of longer walks that I couldn’t otherwise manage, and to see beautiful places that I wouldn’t be able to reach on foot. It permits me to plan full days worth of activities out of the house and to be part of events that I couldn’t have attended on a bad day.

Don’t get me wrong, when I am able to walk even a little bit, then I do my absolute all to push myself – and I would always rather be walking if I can. My aim is to gradually be able to walk more and use the scooter less as I gradually increase my fitness level and lose weight.

I want to be clear that using an aid of any kind isn’t lazy. It doesn’t mean you have given up. It doesn’t mean you aren’t determined. It does not mean you are weak. The complete opposite is true: it means that you are strong enough to know when you need help, that you are self aware. It means that you won’t let your illness beat you, that you will disregard the judgement of others. It means that you will do anything you can to work around your illness and live the life you want the best way that you can!

In short, yes, it is hard to come to terms with owning a mobility scooter, and I can face a great of deal of judgement from others. But for me, it allows me to do more, not less. It allows me to work around my illness, and not be stuck inside on bad days when I want to be out. I am grateful to have my scooter, and for all of these reasons, I have come to love having it – and I am not ashamed to say that.

Getty Image by ekazansk

Originally published: May 24, 2018
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