RA & Mobility: A Scooter Can Save Your Joints And Your Energy

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • I have a scooter named Molly. She is has red “fenders”, her top speed is six miles an hour, and she has given me my mobility back. It is a wonderful relationship!


    I have had Molly for a few months, but she just recently made her maiden trip into the world with me as her driver. I have had a bit of a tough summer, but Orencia seems to be doing much better for me than Humira, and so I finally decided to try a day trip this past weekend. Molly, my husband and I had a wonderful day, and it was only possible because of Molly.


    There are several different kinds of scooters. I bought Molly from the Scooter Store online. Before you purchase a scooter, it is wise to do a little research on such things as turning radius, ground clearance, and battery life, to name a few. You will want to purchase a scooter that fits into your life in a way that allows you to do what you want to do.

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    I wanted a scooter that would allow me to explore department stores and to get around at outside events. I chose a scooter with a 3” ground clearance and the ability to run for ten miles on a single charge. I wanted to make sure it didn't run out of juice in case I was into a sale at the mall, or talking to a character somewhere.


    My scooter has four wheels, but the turning radius is still very good. There are 3-wheeled scooters available, and they are generally less expensive, but I chose the stability of a four-wheel scooter. I am not “solid” on my feet these days because of RA knees, ankles and feet. I felt the stability was an important plus for me, and so I chose my four-wheeled Molly with her strikingly red “fenders”. I'm still working on adding some bling!


    Molly is considered a “travel scooter”, because she breaks down into four pieces for easy transport. The heaviest piece ( the battery pack ) weighs around 37 lbs. That is a bit heavy for me, but I think I could lift it for a short period of time if I were not flaring, and if I had to. Fortunately, my husband is always with me, so he put Molly together for me.


    I would like to share a bit of my adventure with you, because I am so happy that I finally got out of my house for a day trip. This “mini vacation” did my mind and spirit a lot of good.


    My husband and I loaded Molly in the back of his car about 9 a.m. on Saturday. I have two keys for Molly. One is on a flower key chain. The other is on a four leaf clover key chain. My dear husband decided we would take the four leaf clover key chain because he was a little concerned about Molly's “staying power.” So, off we went with the four leaf clover key chain in my pocket and Molly in the back of the Escape. By the way, my husband's worry was for naught. Molly did just fine!


     Decisions, Decisions.....




    We drove for two hours to get to our destination, across the mighty Mississippi River into Illinois. We arrived at our first destination around eleven. Assembling Molly took about three minutes, and then we were off!


    My husband and I spent a couple of hours at the hamfest looking at new radios, old radios, and flea market “stuff” that had seen better days. We were inside looking at the exhibits, and outside on a rather hilly ground looking at things that made us shake our heads and smile.


    The good news is that Molly did a marvelous job getting me around to everything I wanted to see. She even took me up hills and across a threshhold to the exhibit hall that would have made many scooters shake in their wheels. I just turned up her speed and took her right over that daunting-looking barrier. As I have often said, attitude is everything.


    After we saw all we wanted to see at the hamfest, we headed off to downtown Quincy and a view of the river front. The dreaded heat we have felt all summer, receded this past weekend, so the day was beautiful for sight seeing.

    The Might Mississippi


    When we left the river front, we headed out to Best Buy. We both like to look at the latest computer gadgets and dream of our next purchase...someday...down the road. We also went to Big Lots, which was conveniently located next to Best Buy, and spent a good half hour there looking at “bargains”.

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    At this point, I was getting a bit fatigued, but still feeling good. I was so amazed. If I had not had Molly, we would have only made it to the hamfest, and I would have been exhausted and wanting to go home so that I could ice my knees and ankles. I hate feeling like a “wet blanket.” For once, my husband was able to look as much as he wanted to look, and not worry about me falling on my face...literally.


    I woke up Sunday morning feeling tired, but not unduly so. My ankles were swollen “normally”, as were my knees and feet. No nasty side effects from our day trip with Molly.


    I do want to let you know that sometimes people look at you differently when you are on a scooter, or they don't look at you at all. The people at the hamfest were generally friendly and did not seem put off by the whole scooter thing.


    I did turn my head quickly once, and saw a woman in the kitchen area looking at me and whispering behind a raised hand to another woman. I couldn't see or hear what she was saying. She just sort of froze when I “caught” her whispering about me.


    I had the impression she was talking about why I should need a scooter, because I look “fine”. Not sure of course. I smiled at her, but she didn't smile back.


    It pains me to say this, but it seems to me that men are generally less critical of women, than other women. I work with some women who still think I am not sick, and that I am taking advantage of FMLA at work. I don't waste my precious energy on them or their ignorance any more. I am not unkind, but I refuse to let them cause me grief.


    The other visitors at the river front kept their distance. I think being on a scooter may make one invisible to many people. The good thing is, children are not like adults. They still see you as a person. You are just a person on wheels to children, and they engage you in conversation.


    The park at the river front


    I have always made an effort to talk to people using mobility devices. I have had this habit a long time, long before I was diagnosed with RA.


    I realized, even then, that people avoided eye contact with people on scooters or in wheelchairs, and I thought it was such a waste. I wanted to talk to and meet these people on wheels. I thought they might have some good stories, and after all, they are just normal folks, like everyone else. I was so right.


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    Me and Molly.....


    I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and my tale of a day outing. If you need a scooter to be able to get out into the world and live your life, I hope you will seriously consider getting your own version of Molly. If you do, I am quite sure you will become fast friends.

Published On: August 13, 2012