Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too. ~~Lawrence Bixby

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Progress Report

After several delays for various reasons (bronchitis being one) I finally got the spinner knob* installed on the steering wheel. It has made all the difference! I don’t know how people can turn the wheel one-handed without one. So now I am officially driving with hand controls! (My constant mantra: “Down go, forward stop, down go, forward stop.”) I’ve made a half dozen trips around town using them exclusively, including one through the car wash – not easy getting lined up on those narrow tracks! The only thing I haven’t tackled yet is parallel parking. I started to do it once and chickened out. I just don’t have the finesse yet that it takes to ease the car into a narrow spot with obstacles on both ends. Anyone want to volunteer their cars so I can practice?? I did well with one incident when I had to hit the brakes in a hurry – I don’t think I even lifted my foot.

I realized that Laurie will also have to figure out a new way to do her phantom braking in the passenger seat.

*A little more history on the spinner knobs: besides "suicide knobs," they’ve also been called “necker knobs” – the driver could use one hand to drive and the other to feel up the passenger – and “titty bangers,”  for obvious reasons.

We ran into some issues with the scooter lift for the Element. We decided early on against an exterior model because of the extra length on the back of the car (I would never parallel park!) and the weather issues. Turns out the power lift we thought would work (“we” meaning us and the
salesperson at All-in-One Mobility) won’t work with the tailgate, so we have to spend an extra thousand bucks to get one with a telescoping lift head. Disappointing, but it might be best in the long run. The manually operated one might have been difficult to manage in the years ahead. This one should be really easy for me to operate by myself so I can be independent when I want to take the scooter out on an adventure by myself.

And speaking of scooters –while we’re spending all this money, we decided to go ahead and upgrade the scooter, as the current one has developed some electrical problem that would cost more to fix than we feel is worth it. So I’ll have a brand new scooter when the lift is installed (within a couple of weeks). Now Liza won’t be able to keep up with me! The current scooter has been slowing down – yesterday I wasn’t sure I’d even make it home, it almost came to a standstill a couple of times, on ½ a charged battery. The new scooter also has a higher ground clearance, which is really important to me on these bumpy sidewalks (I’ve gotten high-centered a couple of times), more ergonomic accelerator, more leg room and- the real selling point -interchangeable panels, so it can be blue one day, red the next and silver another day; so important to color-coordinate my scooter with my attire, you know - fashionista that I am.


Tiffin said...

They have those little steering wheels that fit over your lap...usually for kids, but you could rig up a chopstick for the hand control brake thing for Laurie and she could brake with you. Not sure what you'd use for Necker Nob tho'.
Ever helpfully yours,
p.s. great news about the scooter lift and the upgrade. I hope Liza has a little basket to ride in if she gets tired?

dohlink said...

Wonderful progress, Terri. It seems that you have taken methodical steps to make sure everything is the best and easiest for you to get the most out of it and be as independent as possible. Your efforts are a terrific example for anyone else who is having to figure out the maze. I'm sure that will help many who don't know where to start. I'm mostly glad for you that you are comfortable with it all. Can't wait to see you and Liza zipping around on your new scooter. Or her on the side. Oh, can you get a side care for it?

Terri said...

Thanks for all the encouragement! Liza is not at all interested in riding on the scooter. It freaks her out. Even one day when she was hot and tired on a long walk, I couldn't get her to settle on it. So she's on her own! She won't ride the stairlift either. Go figure.

Terri said...

And Jackie, we mostly have Laurie to thank for the methodical steps, she's so good at planning and envisioning. I'm sure I wouldn't have been nearly as far along without her planning and support.

Nancy said...

Oh such great news. Glad about the assist you are getting from the pros. Well done on the hand controls. Tell Laurie her brakes never worked anyhow, so get over it!

As for parallel parking ~ How about tying some balloons in place or hang ribbons from tree branches to mark your parallel parking space? Soft and safe!

Carwash, eh? I'm proud of ya!

Love n

Barb said...

What model did you get, Terri? My mom got a Elite Go-Go 4 wheel Traveler. The 3 wheel was too tippy. Just so you know, none of the scooters like to go uphill for very long. They throw a fuse as a safety precaution (??) when faced with long, steep hills. I took her up to Timberline for lunch and the thing just plain old died when we traveled from the parking lot to the lodge. A couple of young, male employees came down and pushed her the rest of the way. It wasn't until the next day we learned what happened to the scooter. Mom rather enjoyed the attention and the ride with the two young men. :-)

Terri said...

I have an Elite Go Go 3 wheel, about 4 years old. The one I'll be getting is an Elite Go Go Traveler Plus, 3 wheel. I'm quite comfortable with the 3 wheel, it doesn't seem tippy to me at all. I haven't done a lot of hills with the old one yet, but it does lag a bit on the hills. I've had the thing just stop dead on a flat surface too, so....

Here's an image for you -- I was at Fred's with Nan one day shortly after her shoulder surgery. I was using one of the store carts and the battery died a long way from the doors, they couldn't get another cart to me, so Nan, arm in a sling, pushed me in the cart up to the doors! I was using my feet to move us along too. We were quite a sight.

Gwen thinks we should have a band named Crippled Creek.