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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Mobility equals Independence for the Disabled

I especially realised this after I had gotten rid of my last bastion of independence, my Car, I felt it was the right time to let it go, I guess I could've driven for a while longer, but there were other factors involved in my decision, availability of parking, distance to walk to my vehicle etc. The closest place was under a large eucalypt tree that are renowned for dropping branches, bark and a sticky gum like substance, they are often referred to as "Gum Trees" as a generalisation, though some might not be a "Gum Tree" as such, that's how I understand it anyway. This particular tree did in fact drop a branch on the side of my windscreen and cracked it, although not impeding vision in anyway, it wasn't in my "field of vision". It was time to face facts, it was the right time to the let the car go!

Having MS, one eye was affected by Optic Neuritis and had become like looking though fog or a film of oil was on the surface of my eye, yep being a Mechanic in a previous life I have had a film of oil over both eyes before, so it's great description from my point of view....

So I have given up my Bicycle (although, may try again one day, trike?), I previously had to let my old trusty Kawasaki GPz 900 go, that was a very sad day for me, both the Bicycle and Motorbike were not viable because of balance problems. I mainly rode Motorbikes, cars are tin death traps with drivers who are more and more distracted with gadgets these days, it isn't safe on the road and it's getting less so as far as I'm concerned :)

So what now? Well the world of Mobility for the Disabled has come a long way since I was a lad, not that I needed disability aids pre MS.

Enter the "Scoot" as I like to call them or Mobility Scooter, don't like business names for things that then become mainstream.

I had organised a local disability aids business to bring down a second hand one for me to view and have a go on, I needed to also see how it would fit or not, in my small abode etc. The owner bought one down, it was in good condition for a second hand scoot but it wasn't suitable, simply it didn't have armrests, would be handy for a MSer I reckon, "no big deal" he said he had another one he could bring down to show me......three weeks later and a couple of phone calls to see what was happening and still no show, he was to busy. Still haven't heard from him, his loss, no sale. Didn't solve my problem though, I still needed wheels. My contact at the MS Society was also keeping and eye out for any bargains she might come across, through her contacts.

The Scoot! Click to enlarge!
I'll cut a long story short(er), there was a lady who unfortunately needed to move into a nursing home as her MS had progressed to the point where it was necessary (I find this heartbreaking, but I won't dwell, lest I start getting emotional), I went and looked at it and bought it, done deal. It's a bit rough around the edges, some cosmetic damage, but it was always serviced so hopefully I can get some use out of it while I wait to see if I qualify for a government funded Mobility Scooter, at the very least it will be 12 months away so I thought I would take a chance on this second hand one, while waiting. It was just the right price for an interim Mobility Scooter and for an Ex Mechanic who always liked to tinker with machinery and is often bored out of his brain. Let the fun and games begin, if nothing else it will keep me occupied.

It will give me a chance to tinker with something, slowly, while I test it, clean it up and replace a few parts here and there, nothing major hopefully, it's a chance you take with anything second hand though so it's all good. So far I have tightened a few nuts and bolts and cleaned it up a bit, straightened the basket as it had been whacked at some stage I guess. People are expecting me to "pimp it" I have my doubts on that though, I just don't have the skill, patience or motivation, any more, might get some Ferrari decals (yes I know it aint Ferrari red), but that's about it, oh and maybe some led lighting for a brighter headlight, though modification requires a deft hand and a clear mind lol.

The Scoot! Click to enlarge!
I will need to replace one of the armrests though, for cosmetic and practicality reasons the rubber is starting to tear away from it's steal mount and the handlebar "loop" may need some thought most likely a bicycle hand grip like those foamy looking ones might do if I can make it fit the diameter of the bar, no rush it's still useable. Of course Australian prices are ridiculous for parts for these things, so I will see if overseas purchasing is a viable alternative, I'm guessing freight may kill that idea though. It cost me $300 AUD, I probably could have bargained but I think it was worth it, time will tell though lol.

Happy and safe Trails, whatever your mode of transport, I will post more Scoot related blogs as I fix, learn and actually use the beast....beware tech tips coming! :)

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