Monday, August 27, 2012

My way to freedom!

Anyone with a mobility impairment of any kind will certainly relate to my day on Saturday! Now that I think about it, an impairment of any kind not just mobility, visual included. I saw a facebook posting from a friend with a visual impairment who just had a marvelous time at her state fair in upstate NY. Even though I was going to talk about a "block party" I went to on Saturday, my friend's posting inspired me further.

Picture the day -- hotter than hot, lots of people, noisy with bands in the parade plus another musical band. This sort of an environment is probably my worst nightmare. Or at least my worst nightmare all these years, until recently. First of all, why my worst nightmare? Let me explain that. My walking has been affected in my almost third decade (26 years) with MS. I have foot drop and spasticity in my left leg, an overall weakened state with vision problems and all the stimuli plus the heat, made everything worse. The days of negotiating crowds does not happen anymore. All this requires standing a lot, another impossibility.

Please understand, I was going to this event if I had to spend time figuring out how. So, I did.

I used my little mobility scooter which comes apart and is kept in the back of my van. The streets had been blocked off which meant I had easy access to riding along without too much interference. I knew the time of the parade and made sure I wasn't on the street. There were some "clunky" curb cuts which I sorted out and used ones that my scooter could manage.

Spontaneity always amazes me in situations like this one. Friends of ours had set up a small tent on their lawn in town and invited us to come and watch the parade from there! I could easily ride my scooter to that spot and relax a little. So, I was in a safe place there and watched the parade with some other folks who were part of our friend's family. The heat was tolerable because I didn't have to walk. It then started raining but the scooter was out of danger because of the tent. I watched fire truck after fire truck, parade after parade and was happy just to be in the middle of it all.

Once the parade was over, I got on the empty street and rode along looking at the different sales and booths along the way. Did I feel free coasting along in a little scooter. Who knew this is what my life would become. Sometimes I wonder if people looked at me with envy since my mode of transportation seemed preferable to theirs -- or maybe that's what I wanted to think! Really people were hot and sweaty but not me. Our car was parked nearby so I carefully negotiated bumps and potholes to make my way down the hill. As I write, I am realizing how easy all this really was. We even stopped in our local market on our way home, not easy to get into but David pushed me up a tall out of code ramp!

I came home not tired since I had not walked at all. And I really didn't feel badly about it either.  Importantly, I had a great day and hope to have more days like these -- it is so important to be in the world. I never think anything is impossible anymore. In the earlier days I used to put my scooter together but now David does that for me and saves me a lot of trouble.

The small town parade is what summer is about -- and I had really thought my days of enjoying the fun was over.

Please don't let life slip by can do this -- I know it can be hard as you battle all those demons related to things you could once do.

Try it and you may even enjoy yourself!

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