Friday, April 22, 2016

A Peculiar Freedom

Before I left the hospital in September, the cardiologist who placed my stents ordered me gently to walk daily.  “Walk out your front door, pick a direction, and walk for 15 minutes; then turn around and go back.”  Thirty minutes a day was mandated, and although it’s difficult to complete some days because of the bad knee which seems to be getting worse, maybe because of the walking, I do it faithfully.

When I started the daily walks I was using a cane and they weren’t easy.  I teeter when I walk, like a penguin waddling on its short little feet.  The prescription of a walker with wheels and a built-in seat was a godsend and while it doesn’t make the knee hurt any less, it stabilizes my gait so at least I don’t look like I had half a bottle of vodka before leaving the house. 

My neighborhood isn’t one to walk in.  Through just my adult lifetime we’ve watched the area go to pot with the influx of many unsavory looking characters with whom I’d prefer not to interact so when I first started walking I went to residential areas nearby that have yet to become blighted by people who I will kindly say just don’t happen to share the same core values as I.  Over time I graduated to walking outdoors atop the levees that form the walls beside the Susquehanna River as it courses through Wilkes-Barre and surrounding communities.  They’re paved, smooth, and without the clickety-clunk of the walker’s wheels that was constant when I was walking over sidewalks.  And they’re more open to the enjoyment of the fresh air and sunshine than the areas below where each house is built nearly on top of the one next to it, so densely were they packed when they were built, many of them in the early 1900s.

When I started using the walker, there was one huge thing about it that was far from ideal.  I couldn’t ride the scooter to where I was going to walk as I’d been doing when I was walking with only a cane.  When winter came and I was grounded by the weather I started walking in various large stores nearby, using a shopping cart to ease the legs rather than the walker.  Then spring arrived and I found myself walking indoors on way too many beautiful days simply because I could take the scooter, park near a cart corral, and use that to do my walking.

I built onto the back of the Piaggio the first summer that I had it a very sturdy aluminum frame to use for carting things and with strategically placed eye hooks I could attach nearly anything to it with bungee cords.  Eventually I came to add what used to be a little metal shelf, but mounted to the scooter vertically to serve as an anchor for the crate that I usually carry because it’s so convenient for picking up groceries and the like.  I’d suspected for a while that somehow I’d be able to hang the walker from the frame, using the shelf thing to keep it upright during the ride to where I’d be taking it.  My suspicions were confirmed yesterday when I actually gave it a try and discovered that I couldn’t have made the dimensions of the frame so near to the leg span of the walker if I’d actually tried building it for the role reason of transporting the walker.  I enjoyed my first walk outdoors just a little later, taking the walker for its inaugural ride on the scooter.  It worked like a charm!

Even though I’d always considered riding a scooter to be a unique form of freedom (All the fun of a motorcycle without the hassle of shifting through gears.) now, I’ll be enjoying the peculiar freedom of being able to take the scooter to where I’d like to walk on a given day, but with the support of the walker to help me on my way.  I’ll venture to bet that there won’t be too many scooters on the road with handicap license plates and walkers hung on the backs of them, nor all that many riders feeling uniquely blessed with the ability to keep on doing what they love to do, but in a unique way.

1 comment:

SonjaM said...

Looks like a very smart approach to accomplish both goals: go for a walk in a pleasant area, and ride your scooter.