Category Archives: Mobility Equipment

Weekly roundup

I’ve had one of those weeks where life has seemed tough.  Every joint is hurting, I’ve struggled to sleep for over 3 months now and am beyond exhausted, I’ve had a bad run of migraines one of which kept me up all night on Thurs vomiting and I had a mast cell reaction on Fri night which now means I’m petrified to take my H2 anti-histamine.  So I’ve had a break from it, and the anxiety, and now have rampant reflux which is simply agony and my cough is back so acid is obviously spilling into my lungs.  After 20 years of living with these kinds of symptoms, and more, every second of every day, I’m kinda tired of the whole thing.

I’m not getting on very well with my Smart crutches.  I ideally wanted a black pair, but after reading the blurb realized I needed the smaller crutches with the shorter leg and arm rest lengths and they only come in red, blue and grey.  I settled for grey, which are actually still very smart with black stripes, and they are definitely much lighter and more user friendly than the NHS gutter crutches.  However, the cuff which goes round your arms is massive and as I walk along my arms just fall out of them.  Not sure why they’ve made crutches for tiny people and put a standard cuff on them?  I’ve kept meaning to ring the company for advice, but it’s just another chore to add to my list and I’ve not gotten around to it yet.  I think I’ll try sticking some foam inside to pad the cuff out and make it smaller (I don’t want to use any kind of tie because it makes them impossible to put on or take off on your own).

Monday I took my Dad 30 miles to our local hospital for a follow-up endoscopy (he’s had severe stomach problems for years).  We got there at 1pm, his endoscopy was due at 1.30pm, it takes about 90 minutes, so we thought we’d be home about 4pm.  Think again.  We sat in the packed, boiling hot, waiting room on rock hard chairs until 2.45pm when they finally called his name.  I told the nurse I was popping into the city to do some Xmas shopping for my Mum and would be back in 90 minutes.  I got back to the hospital dead on time to find my Dad, stony faced, sitting in the waiting room.  Thinking he’d finished early and had been waiting for me to pick him up I apologized, but he said “oh, don’t worry about it – I haven’t had the damned thing yet!”.

By that stage he’d been sat there for nearly 3 hours.  I pressed the buzzer to the theatre and asked a nurse what was happening.  Apparently there’d been several emergencies in that afternoon, which I understand, but not a single member of staff had been out to the waiting room to tell any of the patients what was happening.  They’d just left them there.  My Dad was told not to eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the procedure.  He wasn’t up in time to have an early breakfast, so hadn’t had a bite since his supper at 5.30pm the night before, nearly 24 hours earlier.  Good job he’s not diabetic.  By the time he had the procedure done and we arrived home it was 6.30pm – we were both totally fed up and my Dad was absolutely ravenous.

The week has not been a total right-off however.  As regular readers know, my Mum has been coughing up blood again and had an emergency CT scan last Tuesday.  We got the results and there has been no significant change since her last scan, so that was a massive relief.  We still don’t know why she’s coughing up blood, but it has happened before, went on for 3 months, then just stopped.  I’m convinced she has Ehlers-Danlos and has very fragile capillaries and it could just be that, because of her severe recent chest infection and all the coughing she did, she’s damaged some of them (is that even possible?).  She also has horrendous nose bleeds for no reason anyone can fathom and which can happen in the middle of the night while she’s sleeping.  Anyway, they’ve made her an appt to see a pulmonary specialist in Feb.  Not sure why, as there’s nothing anyone can do about her lungs, but we’ll go anyway and see what they say.

My other big news of the week is that the results of my second Camera Club competition were announced on Wednesday.  It was on a set theme of flowers, so I submitted 2 very different pictures: one of some poppy seed heads taken in my garden, and one of some wild poppies in a rape field taken on a walk with Bertie early one morning.  To my amazement the seed photo won me 2nd place and the poppy flowers won me 1st!  As I’d never taken a “proper” photo in my life until 3 years ago and am completely self-taught (which is code for ‘haven’t a clue what I’m doing’) I’m always gob-smacked that seasoned photographers think my pictures are good in any way!

1st place

1st place

2nd place

2nd place

Right, it’s now 8.30am and I really must get up and have some breakfast.  My dog walker doesn’t come on weekends, so I have to take Bertie out at 9am which, with the new scooter, is no bother.  I always wake between 6am-7am, regardless how little sleep I’ve had, and do nearly all my blog posts at this early time of day as my brain works at its best just after I’ve woken up.  I know this totally flies in the face of most people with M.E.’s experience, where their brains simply don’t work in the morning, but I’ve always been a Lark and do all my paperwork before 11am because after that my brain is simply not capable!

Mobility Scooter Review

I love to go out with my dog and to take photographs but my current hip pain is making any kind of walking impossible.  I do have a small mobility scooter, which dismantles to go in the boot of my car and which I’ve used extensively over the past few years, but it’s only designed for pavements or indoor surfaces.  I live in a very rural area and am surrounded by farmland, dirt tracks and woods, which are wet, muddy, boulder strewn, pot-holed and rough and it’s made me really sad over the past few months to have to stick to the roads with Bertie on his lead and not be able to go to our favourite haunts where I can watch the wildlife and Bert can run free.

A few weeks ago I rang my local mobility centre and asked if they had any all-terrain mobility scooters for sale.  I can’t afford new but they often sell second/third-hand and luckily for me they had in a Drive Sport Rider.  It’s not technically an all-terrain scooter like, for example a TGA Sport or a Tramper, but it does have very large wheels, rear wheel drive, all round suspension and a very large motor so it theoretically should tackle some pretty rough ground.

Even second-hand, all terrain scooters are really expensive – new they cost anything upwards from £3,500 ($5,480) and going as far as £20,000 ($31,300) for a caterpillar – so it was a huge financial decision for me.  For that reason I asked if I could hire the scooter for a week to try it out before committing to buy, and luckily for me the man said yes (although charged me £100 for the privilege :-/ ).

The Sport Rider is not your average doddery old foggies scooter.  Oh no.  The design was based on the Harley Davidson motorcycle and it definitely has the look of a mortorbike trike, being 3 wheeled and with a distinctive mortorcycle-style front chassis.  It has adjustable wing mirrors, rear lights, head light, front and rear indicators and a basic trip computer which tells you battery life, speed, miles driven and the time.  It also has a swivel seat, which can be pushed forward or back depending how long your legs are, adjustable armrests for height and width, and the backrest can also be angled.  It has an indoor (3mph) setting and an outdoor (8mph) setting and can zip along at a decent pace on the road.

Apart from the indicators, all the other controls are on the right handlebar (the handlebar is also adjustable and I’ve had to tilt it down somewhat to be able to reach!).  You drive by pushing a lever forwards and if you let go it automatically stops.  The scooter does, however, have an additional manual emergency brake on the left handlebar.

When driving along smooth surfaces it’s a seriously comfy ride.  I did, however, put it through its paces along some rough terrain.  It was bumpy, and you do need some upper body strength to keep the steering and throttle going, but I’m only tiny and quite weak and coped without any problems.  It took a bit of getting used to the fact that it’s a three, and not a four, wheeler and at times I did wonder how far I could tilt it without it falling over, but actually it’s incredibly sturdy (it weighs a ton) and due to the three wheels it turns on a dime.

I drove it over a bog, up a rain soaked field, a muddy rock strewn farm track and through water (not recommended as you shouldn’t get it wet!) and it took everything in its stride.  Needless to say I’ve decided to keep it 🙂 .

The salesman from the mobility centre needs a good slap though.  One of the most important considerations when buying a second hand scooter is how old the batteries are.  They only last about 18 months in any event, and can be seriously expensive to replace.  So I asked the salesman twice how old the batteries were and he replied “about 6 months”.  Lying little slimeball.  I took the seat off and removed the battery cover to check and the ticket inside said they were installed in September 2012 – over 2 years ago.  Instead of doing the 30 miles on one charge they were supposed to I was lucky to get 6 miles!  The scooter uses 2 batteries, and to replace they cost around £300 ($470)!!  How can this man sleep at night knowing he’s ripping off elderly and disabled people? 😦 .

So at the end of the hire week I rang the salesman to discuss the scooter.  I thought about it hard before hand and worded the conversation so that he was left in no doubt I knew that lying about a product breaches the Sale of Goods Act.  This resulted in him knocking the £100 hire charge off the purchase price and him fitting brand new £300 batteries.  Result!

I’m now looking at pannier bags for my bits and bobs (mainly my camera plus Bertie’s lead, treats and poop bags), an all weather cover (dogs still need to be walked in the rain sadly) and some kind of dog carrier so that Bertie can be safely strapped in that until we get where we’re going (you can get a proper pannier box which fits on the back but it’s not suitable for a mutt).

Class 3 scooters need to be declared to the DVLA though this is free of charge.  Insurance isn’t compulsory, but it’s best to be covered for theft and personal liability in case of accident.  I’m also going to need breakdown cover, because if this baby conks on me in the middle of a muddy field it’s not like I can push it home!

I can’t wait for next summer.  The scooter will do up to 30 miles on a single charge, so Bertie and I could tramp all over for hours without walking a single step 🙂