Like many who live with ALS symptoms, I rely on a rollator. But when out and about and covering longer distances, I use a mobility scooter. My scooter is perfect, and I feel comfortable and confident going almost anywhere with it.
Recently I crossed that almost off the list.
Mobility scooters aren’t often seen at gala banquets with everyone dressed to the nines, but I had accepted an invitation to attend one. Immediately, I stressed over the details. My outfit? I picked out something fancy, yet comfortable enough to sit in all evening. My drink? I planned to bring premixed thickened tea in a small travel mug. Would everyone stare at me and my scooter? That one, I worried about.
Nevertheless, I showed up and rolled in.
It was social hour, so I slowly circulated around the room on my scooter. Or I tried to. I was eye level to belt buckles and fancy handbags, and it was a challenge to catch anyone’s attention. I was virtually invisible as people around me looked at each other and across the room, but never down.
The ballroom quickly filled, forcing me to stay in one spot. I decided to make eye contact from a distance and let the person come to me. Soon, a few friends gathered around and we began to talk.
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But I was a midget among giants. With the background noise, my words weren’t heard. To top it off, my neck began to ache from constantly looking up.
Was the whole night going to be a disaster?
Just then, an observant friend tactfully pulled a chair next to me and sat to continue talking. That prompted two others to pull over chairs and we sat together, conversing eye to eye.
The rest of the evening, when someone approached to chat, I’d gracefully point to one of the chairs and invite them to sit down.
Not surprisingly, most everyone seemed immensely relieved to sit for a few minutes. Plus, I appreciated having them on my level for a relaxed conversation. The evening ended on a high note, and I went home with many happy memories.
For me, it was an important lesson that I can exert control over my surroundings.
For my friends, I hope they’ll remember to make the effort to sit the next time they find themselves chatting with a person using a mobility scooter or wheelchair. We “sitters” will appreciate you!
The world may not be a perfect place (yet) for mobility scooters, but if we meet in the middle, we can learn from one another.
Remember, I believe we can live well while living with ALS.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.