The time has wheely come


The time has come, I think, to use my wheelchair as a matter of course rather than just long family days out.

I have, among many other things, tricompartmental OA of both knees as well as pseudogout, and they are incredibly painful, but I manage with crutches, stubbornness, and a healthy dose of swearing under my breath. But on Saturday my son asked me if I'd like to go vintage shopping with him and his wife. He's just bought his first house and was looking for quirky bits to buy. We only went to three shops - granted they were fairly big - and we walked slowly as we browsed. We also broke it up with lunch.

By the end of the trip I had to be helped out of the car and up the garden path, and things haven't settled down yet. Horrendous pain in both knees keeps me awake at night, and it doesn't ease off during the day except for maybe 30 minutes once the pain meds kick in. I knew I'd pay for the trip with pain, but not for this long, so I think the much-pondered question of 'when should I use a wheelchair' has been answered for me.

I do have a mobility scooter but it's too big to go in my car and insanely heavy. I am planning on using it around the village but my wheelchair is nice and light and I can self propel as long as it's not continuous, so I won't be completely dependent on others. 5 days and counting of severe pain is too high a price to pay for a few hours of browsing, so Penelope (so named because she is all pink) will be making a regular appearance I think.


  • Loggiemod
    Loggiemod Member Posts: 220

    Hi @upthecreak love the name for your wheelchair. Yes scooters are heavy, we had one for my Mum which folded and went into the boot of a car but she couldn't lift it so it was only useful when we took her out.

  • grubber
    grubber Member Posts: 8


    I am sorry to hear that you now have to use a wheelchair, but I must confess I am tickled at the name 'Penelope'.

    In 2003 I had the pleasure of meeting the voice of 'Lady Penelope', Sylvia Anderson. She was a very nice lady, although she did grumble a bit at my beard stubble when I asked her for a kiss.

    Lady Penelope's pink Rolls-Royce (registration FAB 1) had a retractable machine gun. I would humbly suggest that you resist the temptation to fit one to 'Penelope', as after using it there could be a lot of admin.

    Kindest regards

  • upthecreak
    upthecreak Member Posts: 15

    @grubber it wouldn't do for a lady to suffer stubble rash I suppose!

    As for the retractable machine gun, I suspect the mere sight of it would be enough to clear a path through the crowds in Tesco, so there would be no paperwork to do!

  • KPez09
    KPez09 Member Posts: 23

    I have a travel mobility scooter. I went into a store and they allowed me to pick up the heaviest bits of each one so I could check if I could manage. I use it for shopping and taking my dog out. I have resigned to the fact that I can't mentally cope with the days of pain from not using it. I hated it to start with as I'm only 42 and it feels wrong to be using any kind of mobility aid at my age, but it's better than the suffering

  • upthecreak
    upthecreak Member Posts: 15

    Well, my mind was made up for me recently, and I will never struggle to do things for the sake of appearances again.

    I went shopping with my youngest daughter, and my son and daughter in law. It was just a mooch around a couple of vintage shops, very leisurely, very slow, and broken up with lunch in the cafe attached.

    Horror of horrors, there was a steep flight of stairs to the floor below, and rather than act 'precious', I told them I'd be fine as long as I took it slowly (there was no lift).

    I was using my crutches so I did have something to give me support, and I managed fairly well, although by the time I got home I was in tatters.

    Well, that was a few weeks ago and the pain in my knees has got worse and worse to the point of tears, and then this weekend just gone I had the most painful CPPD attack in my knees (calcium crystals in the joint) which I am positive was exacerbated by those stairs. I mean, I already had the CPPD diagnosis, but this attack was like nothing I had ever felt.

    I know a wheelchair or scooter wouldn't have helped with the stairs, but it would have helped with all the other walking around, and I would happily have stayed upstairs and had a coffee by myself while the others wandered around down in the basement.

    Never again. I have since used my wheelchair twice for shopping (now there's a cardio workout!), and as the weather improves I will be going out and about on my scooter. I won't be putting a brave face on things again.

  • N1gel
    N1gel Member Posts: 161
    edited 3:20PM


    If you've used crutches a long time (as I did) you should probably take special care of your elbows when using a wheelchair for long trips.

    There's an alternative to the "do I use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter" dilemma that I've just discovered. An electric 'power attachment' for your wheelchair.

    The one I've got is basically a wheel at the bottom of a T shaped structure which clips on to the front forks of your wheelchair.

    It's compact enough to fit in the boot of a family car with its quick release clips. I can lift it in and out unaided from my chair, two people could certainly do it.

    It's revolutionised my life, I can walk my dog through the village on the pavements as it's no wider than the chair (you can in fact manoeuvre inside the house with it).

    Not cheap at about £2.5K but it saves my elbows!

    (I haven't thought of a name for it yet tho)