(with apologies to Shakespeare!)
“To scoot or not to scoot, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the restrictions of limited mobility, or to ride wheels against a sea of obstacles, and by opposing overcome them?”
Recently a friend took me to visit a lady who has just acquired a ‘Travel Scoot’ electric scooter, because of bad neuropathy in both feet. She kindly let me take it for a test drive in the school playground behind her house – fortunately school was out for the summer! She was most helpful in explaining all the bells and whistles that come with it. She even showed us how it comes apart for packing to go aboard a plane or train – hence the name – as well as how to load it into the back of their van.
The test drive was fun! It can go quite fast and can turn almost on a dime. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and I was quite impressed with its speed and responsiveness. It has a useful detachable wire basket on the front to hold handbag and shopping.
However, it is not portable for me – I tried a couple of times loading the base frame with wheels into their van, but it was not safe. My bionic leg can support my weight when I’m just standing, but not if I’m trying to bend and lift something like that at the same time, no matter how light. On the one hand, it may be easier on my van, where I could brace myself against the back door like I do when loading and unloading the rollator. On the other hand, the back of my van is about 4 inches higher than theirs.
The whole contraption weighs 27 lbs – the battery alone weighs 6 lbs. It might be possible to instal a hoist in the back of my van, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about lifting it in and out, or rely on my husband being with me if I want to use it. Right now that’s how it would have to be. But right now we also have a second-hand electric wheelchair for me to get around the neighbourhood. Mind you, that weighs a ton (well, I exaggerate just a little – try 150+ lbs) so it takes at least two people to lift it.
Here’s my dilemma: down the road I can definitely imagine myself on a scooter like that, but would I become lazy and lose the limited mobility I have worked so hard to regain? It’s certainly a great option for travelling, whereas for now we are taking the rollator wherever we go. Ultimately I hope to walk unaided, but I’m not there yet, and at age 70 for how long is that realistic anyway?
Fortunately for us, we are in a position where cost is not an issue. The scooter I tried is about C$3,500 (eek!) but I have seen others slightly less expensive through the agecomfort.com website. Of course, it wouldn’t be covered under our Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), so we’d have to pay the whole thing.
If anyone out there has any comments or suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them.