Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Scooter That Saved My L(W)ife

By Allan M. Friedman, CFILC's Technologies Manager

A wheelchair wasn't going to cut it.  It just wasn't going to work in our house. 

My wife sustained a severe injury to her right foot last summer.  She recently had surgery to repair it.  But the healing process takes a long time and she must be off her feet for most of it.  So we needed to find a way for her to get around in our house; our circa 1979, two-story, fully carpeted house. Unless, of course, she stayed in bed the entire time.  If you knew my wife you'd know that is out of the question.

She couldn't use crutches. We tried a walker but it proved to be too difficult as well.  She's not very strong.

Kaiser, in their usual one-size-fits-all way, would only provide a standard hospital wheelchair which doesn't work in our home.  Pushing a standard wheelchair on carpets is extremely difficult and besides, our interior doors are thirty inches wide and our hallway is forty-two inches wide.  The wheelchair is also thirty inches wide. Have you ever tried making a hard right turn in a confined space like that?

Fortunately, I was able to borrow a scooter from the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition (CATRC).  This scooter has been our savior.  Now my wife can move around the house quite easily. It gets into every room (on the ground floor). And with a couple of homemade ramps (plywood and two x fours) she was able to get over the two inch step to our front door and the four inch step at our back door.  This scooter allowed her to continue working right up to her surgery last month.

photo: http://kidsonroll.com/MobilityScooters/
Thanks to the scooter her frustration over the limitations of her injury are over.  She is so happy to be able to do things and go places. The only negative aspect is loading it into the car.  It's heavy!  I was glad when she stopped working so I didn't have to lift the scooter in and out of the car so much.

When she got home after the surgery we faced a new dilemma.  The scooter was a great solution while she had a cast on her foot and could sit normally, but now she has to keep her foot elevated.  We thought we'd try a wheelchair again but with her leg extended it was impossible to get into the bedrooms and bathroom.  The scooter solved that problem too.  A laundry basket on its base lets her keep her leg up and still navigate the house.

It will be many months before my wife is able to stand or walk.  We both work for non-profits and don't have the resources to buy something like this new. Thanks to CATRC we have been able to use this scooter to help her through this.  And I don't have to do laundry anymore!

photo: http://www.rootandscoot.com/index.html

Do you have an AT success story that you would like to share? Please use the comment box to let us know about your AT adventures.


  1. AS an Advocate have i seen first hand how consumers benefit from Assistive Technology. I had a consumer who was in the process of getting a scooter but did not follow up with the process as her Medical Benefits had been terminated.

    Thanks to a non profit organization who's main focus is the Re-use of Assistive Technology consumer was able to get a scooter and is now able to live more independently.

  2. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!
    My Site

  3. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
    Portable Wheelchair

    Keep Posting:)