If you have mobility problems, getting out and about is extremely difficult. And doing so without the constant presence of a helper, assistant, or caregiver is something that is next to impossible.
As multiple sclerosis affects my left side, I cannot propel myself in a manual wheelchair. So, forget any thoughts of independence. It’s just out of the question.
But earlier this week, I managed to visit both the health centre, and a bank, in our nearest town. Alone.
It was all thanks to my lightweight, foldable electric wheelchair. It is so compact, when folded, that it goes in the back of our car. The only trouble is that, although lightweight, because of my disability, it’s still beyond my ability to lift by myself.
So on Tuesday, after I drove the five miles to town, Lisa lifted the chair out of the car and I was quickly on my way to see the nurse. Encountering just a short delay from my appointment time, I practiced my very basic Spanish language skills, and was soon on the second leg of my journey.
It’s a fairly long but straight road from the health centre to the bank, although it is uphill and has several side roads. I negotiated all the dropped kerbs successfully, and it really felt good to be able to do all of it by myself.
In the meantime, Lisa was doing a bit of shopping without having to worry about me.
We met back at our car, as arranged. Lisa was there first and suggested we visit a nearby snack bar for a pastry and orange juice.
Finally, we returned to the car where we jointly lifted the folded chair back into the car, before I drove home.
It wasn’t a great feat, and was nothing to shout about, but doing it by myself made me feel good.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.