The Runaway Wheelchair

RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy 6 Comments

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy received an email from Mur the other day, recounting the adventures of her first solo outings with her wheelchair. I laughed so much when I read this story, that I cried! Mur was kind enough to give me permission to re-post her message here on my blog. Enjoy!

runaway wheelchair
The Runaway Wheelchair
By Mur Shuker

Well friends, I almost met my maker today…and as with most of the events in my life, it would have been a hoot…and it all began because of a lost left contact…

As I was going to Lens Crafters in the Altamonte Mall to pick up my new pair of contacts (I somehow managed to lose my left contact from eyeball to eye case…go figure), I was bummed to discover that there were no handicap parking spots available. For those of you who may not be aware, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have difficulty walking any distance, and I was prescribed a ‘Companion Wheelchair’ (the doc didn’t want me to get a scooter…he was concerned that I would become too dependent on the new ‘wheels’…as if I relish the thought of not being able to walk on my own two feet, but, I digress…).

Anyhoo, I found a spot a bit of a ways from the front door of the mall. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to walk the distance I decided to pull out the wheelchair and ‘wheel’ myself in. The boys are off at camp, so no ‘companion’ to wheel me. But, seriously, how difficult could it be? I am woman, hear me roar…

…ok, maybe hear me SCREAMING (in my head!). You see, it seems that where I found my parking spot… well, it was slightly uphill. Being new to this blasted disease, and all of the gadgets I use to keep on, keeping on, I am still on a learning curve…

Have you ever tried to stop a ‘runaway’ wheelchair with your bare hands? It ain’t as easy as it sounds. I probably looked like I was skiing, veering right and left (Benny Hill music would have worked perfectly here)…thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic.

After what seemed like hours, I finally hit level ground. I am sure I must have had that ‘Botox Shock Look’ on my face along with a windblown head of hair. Feeling a bit embarrassed (and exhausted) I continue to wheel myself towards the building. The Mall doors are in my sight…almost there…

Well, trying to get through the Mall door was harder than I thought! I almost did a major face plant. Seems the doors have a bit of a lip/hump on the bottom. And when you have picked up some ‘rolling speed’ and you come into a full and complete (unexpected) stop, that whole ‘physics’ thing comes into play. Thankfully, there was a kind soul who ‘skootched’ me in.

A bit embarrassed at the whole ordeal, tired and exhausted (not to mention bemoaning the loss of several layers of epidermis from my hands), I make it to my appointment on time.

Got the new contacts in, bara bing, bara boom, I am out the door…Reality doesn’t hit until I realize I have to go UPHILL in search of my parked car! Ok, if I thought coming down the ‘Mall slope’ was bad, imagine my dismay at the prospect of ‘rolling uphill!’

I kept thinking of that ‘Lil’ Engine That Could’…”I think I can, I think I frickin’ can! And I did! I was feeling pretty impressed with myself when I realized my car was not parked on this aisle! My car was on the other flippin’ side!!! There was no way in hell, I was going to ‘Mall ski’ downhill and come back up again…screw that little engine…

After a few breaths of ‘good air in, and bad air out’, I started looking for an ‘in’ through some of the parked cars. I needed to have room to get the wheelchair through and not scratch up any of the cars…when all of a sudden, I heard an engine either approaching or backing up…it was right then and there, that I realized sitting in a wheelchair in between SUV’s in a parking lot is not exactly one of the smartest things I have done. I kind of felt like Daffy Duck during ‘Duck Season’…

Thankfully, I make it to my car, wheel chair in tow and I head straight to the Mobility Scooter Store next to TooJays…Got me one of them there Scooters…to hell with what I was told. I know my body, and I know I have a life to lead. And if I have to use one of them little scooters from time to time to get through daily life, ain’t no one going to stop me! There is too much life out there to let it pass me by!!!

And btw, I got the little flag too…at the moment it is orange, however, I will be altering it to make it look like a pirate ship flag…with a pink bow…

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy and Mur!

Comments 6

  1. MissDazey

    Thanks for sharing this, so funny and such real life adventure.

    I have looked at the transport chairs, I liked the fact they are lighter for Bruce to put in and out of the trunk. However, we thought if the fact they are not make for people to wheel themselves around.

    By the way, how do you guys get doctors to say not to walk and get wheels?

  2. Vicki C

    OMG that was great! Any RA morning I can start with a laugh is a good morning! Tell her thanks so much for letting you share!

    Vicki C. in VT

  3. Laurie

    I go to the Altamonte Mall regularly, and that parking lot is nowhere near level. Can’t imagine rolling myself in a wheelchair there, plus it is always such a zoo inside there!
    My husband is disabled, he broke his back at work in 2000, had surgery to fuse t7-l4 with rods. It took him until 2006 to be able to walk with a quad cane.In fall 2007 he could finally drive again. Last year he had cervial fusions, ended up with Guillan-Barre and spent 8 weeks in ICU and another 6 in rehab. He is back with a rolling walker, has minimal arm strength and is very weak. Had PT 6 months, only had minor improvement. The neurologist says that he will not improve beyond the walker and in fact, will probably end up in a nursing home (he is 51) He can no longer live by himself (we had been separated at the time of his surgery) so he is now living at my house. We asked for a prescription for a scooter for him since he tires so easily, it would improve his quality of life and with me having RA I can’t push him in a wheelchair; and both the neurologist and primary doc said no…not until he is wheelchair bound. Ticks me off because between our insurance and medicare it would be paid for.

  4. lisa

    that’s awesome….thanks…beware of small children who run in front of scooters……………they are relentless

  5. jdfwood

    Oh my, that was so good I could see the whole thing play out in my mind!!!! I have had a few adventures in my power chair, but yours was a good one!!!!

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