People often appear a tad puzzled when they see Dave on the scooter for the first time. They seem to find it hard to reconcile their picture of the Dave they just saw walking home from the local grocery store with the Dave they see on the scooter. I wonder what they are thinking. “Is he lazy? Is he seeking attention? Oh, my goodness, is he much sicker than we thought? Are my Christmas drinks playing with my vision? What the actual devil is going on here?”
People seem to have an all or nothing approach to disability. Because you can’t walk, or you can walk, right? We don’t often consider the in between. The grey. The invisible disability. Where walking is possible one day and not the next; during some activities, but not others; for short distances, but not long treks; on the flat, but not up hill; a few times a week, not a few times a day. People also have a negative view of disability aids. Because that means there is something wrong with you, right? No one would choose to use an aid unless they had to, would they? When you’re less abled however, an aid can be a positive addition. It enhances your ability, rather than detracts from it.
If you need to pick and choose the times when you can afford to spend the energy to walk then what do you choose: grocery shopping or exercise; dog walking or medication fetching; a family get together or a day out in our beautiful city? In short: do you choose the logistics of life, or the living of it? One day we had an epiphany! What if Dave didn’t have to make so many choices because he had a way to achieve more without overtaxing himself? We hired a mobility scooter to test the waters and see if it made a tangible difference to our lives or not.
It has made an enormous positive difference to our lives! Dave is quite simply more involved in life.
Involved in the logistics: dog walking, grocery shopping, Christmas preparation, pharmacy visits.
Involved in his physical improvement: going for a swim, doing a session in the gym, walking up flights of stairs, lifting weights.
Involved in the living: going to the park with our niece, having lunch with my parents, dog walking as a family in the evenings, getting out and about in our community and strengthening relationships, gardening, a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens.
All of this: without pushing his body beyond its limits, without needing a day or a week to recover from an activity, without spiralling into illness.
A scooter is not a symbol of increasing illness and giving up. It’s a statement that Dave is on a quest for a longer and better quality of life. It’s a tool which will allow him to be proactive about strength and fitness. It’s a fortress against a lung transplant as his health is maximised. It’s a support for the times he will benefit from extra rest. It’s a respite for me as we share the day-to-day errands of life. It’s a key to new life experiences beyond our house or local neighbourhood. Yes, at its core it’s a mobility aid, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an aid to increased longevity and quality of life.
There is a catch. The expense. It’s unaffordable for us in the short to medium term. We have explored funding options but there is no funding that Dave can currently access. Having received offers of financial assistance from a number of people we have begun a GoFundMe page so that those with the desire and ability to contribute to the purchasing of a scooter can do so.
Any funds collected will be gratefully received and funnelled directly into:
1) the purchasing of a scooter
2) the insurance of the scooter
3) the servicing of the scooter.
If we are lucky enough to receive additional funds they will be:
1) used to purchase nebuliser equipment
2) saved for the purchase of a portable oxygen concentrator to enable trips to the Blue Mountains in comfort, and for when Dave’s lungs decline to such a level that it is useful more often.
We are aiming for $7,500.
We know that there are lots of people who will be unwilling or unable to donate. Thank you in advance to those who are in a position to do so! It means a lot to us!
Our GoFundMe page can be found at this link. Please check it out, consider donating, and share!