So today I decided that I would look for a wheeled walker on E-Bay in the hope that having something to lean on, with wheels and a small seat, would mean I can leave my wheeled chariot behind faster than the currently stated, and vague, ‘sometime’......
I thought there wouldn’t be too many to look at in my chosen distance (they have to be collected in person), but boy was I wrong. There’s one’s with baskets under the seat, some with ‘caddys’ under the seat (basically a fabric version of the basket), some with brakes, some without.
There’s four wheeled versions, three wheeled and two wheeled. In the latter case there’s actually four legs but only two have wheels – not sure why, perhaps two fell off? Though there’s an awful lot that happened to if that’s fact. The three wheeled version is a V shaped contraption and so hence no seat or basket; if you had those there’d be nowhere to stand to walk, which would make everyone wonder why you had it.
The strangest thing is some are very....snazzy looking; it’s the only term I can think of. They look modern and sleek; almost fashionable – now I know the disabled want to be as fash conscious as the next person. But with our walkers? Really? Is fashion so necessary to that depth in our lives – will we see the ‘Sex and the City’ gals all shuffling round the Big Apple with their Gucci walkers and Prada zimmer frames in years (and movies) to come?
Perhaps the fashion houses are actually missing a gap in the market here.......designer mobility aides? You could have the Rolls Royce group of mobility scooters; the Versace season of zimmerframes, the Vera Wang collection of walkers and finally the Louis Vuitton range of designer baskets, caddies and bags for all of the above.
I'm sure they'd make a killing from the more mature fashionistas who are, ahem, aging somewhat now and yet don't see anything to meet their exacting fashion needs in the shops, stores and malls around them.
However, for me it just needs to be cheap and move; a seat is brilliant (I can sit down when my knees, hips and lower back threaten a riot) and a basket is a useful addition for my arch nemesis - the supermarket, with its ubiquitous ‘shopping shuffle’. You know what I mean; that almost zombie like shuffle that carries you a certain way around a supermarket.
And God help anyone that goes ‘against the flow’; I remember a pensioner once saying a woman “should be shot” because she was going the opposite way to the rest of us zombies and was fighting ‘upstream’ to the washing powder she’d forgotten to pick up.
He seemed to think that kind of madness would obviously lead to an Armageddon of biblical standards. I recall to this day his puce coloured face and strident barking at her retreating back before he was swept away in the dogged plodding of his zombie brethren.
So I finally decided, with the help of my husband, to pick the one that had the nicest drive to get it, had the most genuine reason for selling and the best price. I’m afraid I didn’t go for one with a carbon or chromed frame, ergonomic grab handles, sleek inline brakes with their 'easy grip' levers and bump absorbing wheels.
Still, I do wonder how I will fare with my new style of wheels in the shopping shuffle; I mean being in a wheelchair is bad enough – especially when, like the washing powder lady, you try to turn back for something you forgot. I haven’t managed it yet in the wheelchair, the tide is just too strong – but perhaps the walker is my first step back to self propelled freedom.
It will certainly make a change being able to choose where I go rather than husband or daughter dictating it. Now there’s a thought – film magazines and chocolate here I come......
This is Simi, thanks for reading......