Shutting the door

It doesn’t happen often but sometimes my husband and I have to be in two different places at the same time.  We have one van. Today, I had to be at the hairdressers at 11 a.m. He had to be in Welland to have the van looked at at 10 a.m.

The weather is nice so I suggested I take my scooter over to the plaza which is only three blocks away.  I’m so used to him being here and doing what needs to be done, it was a study in logistics to get me together before he went.  Could I open the door myself with my very weak hands to get out? Could I work the key and turn it in the lock?  Could I transfer without a transfer board to my outdoor scooter?  Getting onto the board is easy but pulling it out from under yourself while you’re sitting on it is something else. Could I handle everything without dropping anything and not being able to retrieve it?  Could I shut the door? It’s tricky trying to hold onto a door handle and back up in a scooter at the same time to pull it shut.

We did a trial run.  I recalled a visit I made to an independent living facility in Columbus, Ohio some years back and they had ropes from the door lever handles to the other side of the door.  You could reach out and grab the rope end by the door hinges, give it a tug and the door would come closer to you.  As the door closed, you could actually pull it shut with the rope and then, when it was within reach, grab the handle.  Our door is metal so putting a screw-eye in it to take the rope wasn’t an option but tying a legth of rope to the handle worked like a charm.  I also tied a loop of twine to the door keys and put it around my wrist so I wouldn’t drop it trying to lock the door.

Transferring to the outdoor scooter without the transfer board was easy as long as I left enough room between the scooters for my feet to swivel. I can stand but I can’t walk. It went like this: Position outdoor scooter with key out and seat turned facing indoor scooter. Pull indoor scooter up beside outdoor scooter so seats are level with each other.  Leave about a foot between scooters. Pull out key on indoor scooter so it won’t move. Swivel indoor scooter seat to face outdoor scooter seat. Stand up, turn around, sit down on outdoor scooter. Swivel seat on outdoor scooter to face front, push in key and drive over to indoor scooter. Take key off indoor scooter so no one will take it. Anyone who can walk has no idea how much maneuvering it takes to be on one of these things.  How lucky you are to be able to walk out the door, lock it and walk away.

The trip to the plaza was uneventful although the expansion joints in the sidewalks played havoc on my neck and spine. I know why people ride their scooters on the road.  It hurts to ride on the sidewalk.

My hairdresser colors and cuts my hair while I’m sitting in my scooter. I sit on an extra cushion to raise me to sink height while she washes it. I shopped at the plaza, had a certificate framed and had lunch before riding home.

I think it’s important for me to realize just how much I really do rely on my husband to look after things but nice to know that with a bit of planning, I can still be independent.


6 Responses

  1. I can attest to the sidewalk problem. Those seams/bumps can cause sciatica symptoms to flare up…my scooter has no suspension.

  2. Good story and its amazing how you just do these things. Its like we have to be good problem solvers just to get through the day. I had the simplest of problems the other day. Very trivial but it mad me so annoyed with myself. i had a huge craving for peanut butter & we had just bought a new jar. I was home alone so I put some bread in the toaster & got the PB jar out. I’ve never had a problem opening a PB jar before so I assumed I wouldn’t this time. I was wrong! I tried non slip mats, hot water, banging the jar, sticking sharp knives up the lid (& occasionally into me) & screaming at the jar. Lets just say after 20mins I had some nice cold plain toast. Took my husband seconds to open it once he was home. Maybe you heard the scream?

    Later I shall describe my porridge making effort. For days I was vaccuming up oats.

  3. Hazel…..gahhh! I LOVE pb on hot toast, but have to resist most times….I’m sure that has happened to me, too. LOL. ‘Banging the jar’….did you do that to it upside down? I discovered that banging the new jar top real hard on a wood trivet breaks the seal and they open easier. When my husband closes jars real tight, those I cannot get. I’ve screamed at the mayo jar before. Porridge eh?

    • Melody – i banged that damn jar in every position possible. It was surprising that there wasn’t a PB jar shaped hole in the kitchen window! Then there was the porridge. You’d think just because 3 bears can make it, how hard can it be? Are we sitting comfortably?

      Ok new packet of porridge. Instructions: 1/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup milk. Stir & microwave for 90 secs. Stir then another 60 secs in microwave. Heres what really happened.

      1/3 cup oats – all over the bench. Try again & get most of the oats in the cup but drop the cup trying to tip it into the bowl. So now 1/3 cup of oats on floor along with a hungry beagle licking them up. Decide to skip a step & just pour oats in bowl. No longer care about measuring it. Onto 2/3 cup of milk. Bugger almost out milk. Doesnt quite make 2/3 cup. Spill most of it onto bench anyway & this starts to make a paste with the oats. Figure I’ll just use water instead but as i turn my chair from the sink to the bench I run over paw of beagle still eating oats of floor & spill the water over me. Turns out both my chest & chair seat had oats on them & the water just helped make them stick even more. At this point I am no longer hungry & dump everything in the bin. (Hint – if you have porridge paste on bench don’t wait until its dry to clean it!) Two days later I was vacuuming & found oats in another room! I hate porridge.

  4. Guys, you do not seem to realize how lucky you are actually. I live in Ukraine which is TOTALLY inaccessible. Years ago I brought a scooter from the US and it is kept in my garage because the longest trip I can make on it would be 50 meters until I reach the first curb. There are no curb cuts on the streets at all, so if you use a wheelchair you have to take the risk and ‘drive’ on the road, along with cars. Or stay home. Sometimes, it makes me smile when I read about your “problems”. Sorry for being honest.

    • Alexander – don’t be sorry. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how bad it is elsewhere and how fortunate we are to have our ADA laws. Life for disabled in certain countries can be brutal, I’ve read. Glad you posted. I’m truly sorry for the circumstances you face.

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