I’d like to introduce you to my “scwalker” (scooter/walker). I have some mobility issues and have used a rolling walker for quite a few years. About a year and a half ago, however, I realized I needed something more as I continued to lose abilities. I definitely wasn’t ready for a wheelchair, so I started looking for other options.
I discovered scooter-type-things of various kinds but either they were way too expensive, way too heavy, or way too big. This had to be something I could get in and out of the car by myself, yet sturdy and able to get me around. A battery-operated scooter could work but those are HEAVY! Besides, at that point my legs were still working; my spine just couldn’t hold me straight up for more than a very short distance. So I didn’t want to NOT use my legs…
And that’s how I ended up with my scwalker. It is actually a heavy-duty, all terrain knee walker, but with a comfortable gel seat rather than a knee pad, and the addition of a basket (and horn!) in the front. Once Pete got it together we arranged the angle of the seat to support my spine without letting it bend forward, with the added advantage that my spinal pain is at its lowest levels when I’m on the scwalker. A few other little adjustments to accommodate some of my other issues and I was ready to go!
The advantage to this, besides what I already described, is that I am nearly as tall when I’m using it as I used to be when walking. I can reach most items on supermarket shelves, and speak to people without having to painfully bend my neck back to look up at them, as I would have in a wheelchair. I am self propelled by my feet, and now after well over a year can have my hands free while I steer with my elbows. The handlebars are adjustable also, which allows for more comfort no matter the level of pain or ability on a given day.
And it can go FAST! Pete can’t keep up with me when I’m moving full-tilt, and neither can my grandkids. I can get around a store and grab what I need and be out in half the time I used to. It does tend to be tippy and in the beginning I nearly had a couple of spills as a result* but now it is like an extension of me. It is much easier (and less painful!) to get around on my scwalker than walking, and my balance is nearly impeccable from well over a year of use.
So between Maisie’s help with my ADLs at home, my scwalker when I’m out, and of course my husband and other family when they’re around, I nearly am able to have a normal life! There is likely coming a time when I may have to take Maisie out with me also, so I’m beginning training in preparation for that possibility. But for now I am thrilled that I’m not stuck at home on pain meds all the time, able to do nearly everything I used to, and am not nearly as helpless as I would be otherwise!
Here are a couple of photos of my scwalker, and following is a little paragraph about the one and only time I did fall, soon after I got it.
- OK, I did fall on – or off – my scwalker once. I was coming out of a store that had a fairly steep slope down to the parking lot. Since I had space and no traffic, I just let myself gain speed going down as I had so many times before. This time, however, the toe of my sandal got caught in the spokes of the front wheel, which stopped me so suddenly that I went over the handlebars…and broke my arm. Sitting on the pavement in the parking lot waiting for the ambulance was when I first became aware that this new thing wasn’t a toy…that I had to take it much more seriously. And I have. It has become an extension of me – a part of me almost – when I’m using it, and feels more natural than walking…but I take it very seriously.