If you’ve ever met me in person, you know that I have mobility issues due to severe arthritis in my right knee. I have tremendous pain when walking and standing. I need, and will be getting, a knee replacement at some point, but until then, my pain took over my life.
While dealing with doctors, figuring out healthy ways to manage my pain and just plain old living life, I found myself starting to avoid doing the things I love. I had to gear myself up for comic cons and theme parks- two of my favorite things to do. I would go, spend that time in tremendous pain, and usually have to leave early. When you take away the things that make you happiest and are in constant pain, it begins to have an effect on you, and not a good one.
These things also have a tendency to snowball. Not going out means less invitations to go out in general. Staying at home is isolating. My pain got so bad I had to stop my workouts. I have worked out on a regular schedule since I was in middle school, so stopping for the first time in my life has been depressing. On top of all this, I’m a 52 year old woman, so that means menopause. I found very quickly that menopause means weight gain. So, the added weight and not being able to workout, made the pain even worse.
Thankfully I have a very smart kid…
He sat me down and just said, “Please get a scooter. Then you can have some fun again.” My first response was, “NEVER!” Like you, I had the image of a lazy, fat and old person on a scooter at Disneyland. I wasn’t that person, and darn it, I wasn’t going to become that person. But here’s the thing…
That person does not exist. I was taking a stand on a complete non-issue. People on scooters have any number of conditions that make walking and standing impossible for them. I was one of those stupid judgy people. My thoughts were, if they were really disabled, they’d be in a wheelchair. For me I thought, wheelchair=legit. What an idiot I was! So, I guess Karma came calling for me on this one. Fair enough.
So, how was the first day out with the scooter? Humbling. Embarrassing. For about 5 minutes. I wheeled up to bag check and the trams to go to Disneyland, and realized that without the scooter, I would already be in severe pain, looking for the next opportunity to sit and gritting my teeth through the day, quietly gutting it out. With the scooter, I was smiling and laughing with my kid and no pain! I was looking forward to, and enjoying, a great day! Believe me, your embarrassment disappears really fast when you’re out of pain and enjoying life again.
Now, I go all the places I used to go again!
Are there people that don’t want to be hanging out with someone traveling on a scooter? Maybe, but I am pretty sure I haven’t met them yet. My kid, a teenager, is not even a little embarrassed. If anything, he wants me to get a side-car for him (um, yeah, No.)
So, I’m going to my first comic con with a scooter in April at WonderCon, which is daunting. I am super anxious to roll into the con on my scooter, but I’m going to take care of myself. If I run into an ex and they think me travelling on wheels to be amusing, well, they’re the asshole, not me. If you see me, know that I’m grateful to not be on my feet, not due to laziness, but I am out of pain and can now participate in my life. Turns out living my best life just needed a little transportation upgrade.