Friday, July 10, 2009
I read with interest, a blog the other day about people using mobility aids at tourist attractions because they are overweight and could not be bothered to walk.
This is terrible. To use a mobility aid just because it is available, thus doing yourself out of the exercise of walking, and presenting as handicapped is something no one should do. Indeed why would anyone want to?? Being handicapped can have many problems that people who are not handicapped or have had no experience with a person who is, cannot realize.
I need to state here that I am not asking for sympathy, but I am hoping to make people think, as I wish I had done when I was younger!!
I speak from experience, since I have in the last 3 years, had to use a mobility scooter for a lot of things, as I am very limited in the time I can stand or distance I can walk..
I used to enjoy traveling, going on holiday, getting in the car and off. With no children, my husband and I could go as we pleased and we were looking forward to a retirement in which we could travel and have fun.
Now we cannot be spontaneous as have to plan everything carefully. And it’s honestly such an undertaking that we often give up and don’t bother to go away.
The airlines will carry the scooter free, but it needs booking in advance, so no last minute deals. Then they have to disconnect the battery, and tape it up tightly so there is no danger – fine, but I am not allowed to take scissors on the plane so it is really hard to undo the other end!!
Then there is the getting to the airport – my scooter is too big for the fast train therefore we need to take the slower train – 6hrs for 300km!! Then, on arrival at the station we need a handicapped taxi that will take the scooter. That usually means a long wait.
The other end of our flight – especially if its to another country – handicapped taxis that take the scooter are not always available – so what then?? To put it in perspective I am left with the option of chuffing down the freeway (say in San Francisco) on my scooter towing my luggage!! Humph!! Not sure the police would like that!!
Even a normal shopping trip is an undertaking (no last minute dash to the shop) – the scooter has to be loaded onto its trailer (its too big for our car) and I have to find parking big enough for car, trailer and ramps so I can unload and load (we live about 12km out of town). Then, if the shops are busy it can be a real problem maneuvering, since it is silent and people don’t hear it, and it has the turning radius of a bus!!
Also, since my husband is now 80, he will not be able to handle the lugging about of my scooter much longer. This means that we will have to move into town, to a smaller house with little or no yard, away from the home we love, that we planned and built in the quiet of the country.
OK – so why have I told you all this – because it all comes back to weight!! I was overweight from a very young age, but it didn’t stop me doing anything and even though I tried, unsuccessfully to lose I wasn’t motivated to do so!! My knees have collapsed as have my hips and ankles because of carrying that extra weight for so long!!
Had I lost weight when I was younger this may not have happened or if it had not to the same extent and could have been dealt with at the time. Now, even though I am losing weight, my knees will not heal, my ankles and hips are damaged beyond repair. My hope is that less weight means less pain, maybe!!
There are many younger people using this site, and I would say to you – please think ahead, think of you being older and having these problems and the way it would affect your life. Then use that as motivation to lose the weight while you are still young enough to enjoy life and to get everything you can out of it.