Tuesday, August 11, 2020
A Mac Truck in a Small Parking Lot
Have you ever felt like you've been run over by a mac truck?
Have you ever felt like you were trying to get around in a small parking lot in one?
Do you ever wonder how a handicapped person gets around inside their apartment? Or do you take it for granted they just can?
I'm attempting to create humor here as sometimes my patience is thin. It depends on how tired I am. Since people who have fibromyalgia often say they feel like they've been run over by a mac truck; I feel like I am trying to maneuver a mac truck in a small parking lot.
About two months ago, I began using my Drive Scout Mobility Scooter in my apartment. Fortunately, this apartment is wheelchair accessible... mostly. In a manual wheelchair, I could go forward into the bathroom and small kitchen, but couldn't turn around. There is certainly no room to swivel a regular electric wheelchair around. I'd still have to back them in to get certain things done. They are low to the ground, so reaching up over counters is a painful strain.
My scooter has a swivel seat and is higher, so I thought I'd give this mini mac truck a try in my small parking lot... I mean apartment. It's like trying to get into a public restroom that says it is accessible but really isn't. This happened at a Walmart store. I was able to get in, but because of the placement of the door, it was impossible to reach over the handlebars to pull it open to the left and get out. Who engineered these things?
Since I started using the scooter, it has been easier to reach kitchen counters by swiveling the seat. However, when I ride forward into the kitchen, I must back out... around the bend. Tight squeeze. The entrance is not in a very convenient place... the back door to the back patio is. But these apartments are supposedly wheelchair accessible. Ouch, every time I hit a wall, door, corner, or anything else I collide with. Not ouch to me, ouch to the scooter and the things I run into. In order to get into the refrigerator and cabinets on the far end (far for me), I must back in... around the corner. Back, forward, back, forward, until I get lined up enough to get around the bend. There's usually additional forward, back, forward, back to get into position without hugging the cabinets on either side. My kitchen reminds me of the RVs I used to live in.
To the bathroom is around a corner where I park in front of the bathroom door, swivel the seat, transfer to a stool, and scoot across the far end (feels far to me) to the toilet. There's no room to turn around, so I must back out to the other end of the hallway before turning the bend to return to the living area. I don't always calculate this turn without needing to realign and try again. This becomes a major obstacle when I tried doing this in the middle of the night in the dark... but turning on a light was too much shell shock to my senses... and being half asleep didn't help my driving ability. I'd Y turn to get out of the bedroom, steer around the bend into the hallway, pull up the bathroom door, etc. Back out into the living area to turn around and drive back into the bedroom. I finally gave up and put my camping toilet in the bedroom.
"Y" turns take a lot of practice in a scooter. Forward, back, forward, back, until I can get it lined up to back out without taking the wall with me. Reverse across a larger area takes a lot of practice, too. So does patience. I can back into my work station and swivel to use my computer. Many times, though, this takes multiple tries until I get lined up comfortably.
I love having the floor of the scooter to put things on for transport... especially heavier items like a gallon jug of water. I love having the basket in front to put things in for transport and carry basic necessities around with like a bottle of water, a pad of paper, lozenges, portable cell phone charger, and more.
I did check into what the two other wheelchair accessible type units are like. They are the same except for no wall between the living area and the kitchen. Not enough improvement to make it worth moving again... not that the people already in those units plan to move anytime soon.
By the way, the first thing I tried was a small salon stool on wheels. It worked great scooting all over the apartment until the wheels got dirty, wouldn't roll easily anymore, and when I elevated the seat to get to the counters, the top came out of the base and nearly spilled me onto the floor. This is the one I use in the bathroom now. It stays in the down position. I then tried a larger one. When I elevated it up, I found out I am not heavy enough to get it back down again. And the seat was too big, so I kept sliding off until I placed a piece of rubber shelf liner on it. It didn't work out, and I gave it away to someone else who needed one... and is a larger, heavier person than I am.
What color is my mac truck? It's black with red trim!