Life with MS……an evolution of machines.

Life with MS as seen through my machines.

This is my story of MS journey through my mobility machines since diagnosis 20 years ago. The variety of insights have often surprised, if not amuse me.

It’s been very interesting and instructive as the MS SYMPTOMS have progressed so have my machines, and this is my story.

The first ten years, in retrospect we’re less physically challenging than the emotion seismic shift that took pace, the coming to terms and acceptance of the reality that was happening to me, my self, my place, me me me.

My first aid to mobility were the power of others, the shameless use of a strong mans stride, hanging like arm candy, synchronized walking.

Power and balance were the first MS casualties, so I felt it had to be leached from who ever was willing and able to kindly share this most precious of commodities. There was almost always a period of training, to walk faster than me, so as too harness the power in their stride, and the strength and shape of their arms or me to hang off. A very exacting science.

It wasn’t limited to humans either, having a big strong dog also challenged me to harness Betty’s energy. This came in the form of the PowaTryke. Having always been a dog owner, and dogs means walks.

The POWATRYKE, a motorized tricycle, was the answer. With Betty tethered to the steering shaft and specially adapted pedals we would set off for the Park. The power is provided primarily by the bike battery and intermittently by the dog and rider.

This form of travel is exhilarating for both rider and the dog. I found it best not to travel on main roads, too distracting for Betty and other drivers, but using side roads to get to park destinations.

A basket on the back always ensures you have basic resources. Water for both of you, phone and doggy poo bags and a pooper scooper. That’s it.

The acknowledgments and comments are predictable from the persons delivering them.

Young children and parents were transfixed, as were teenagers. Older men nod wisely and mutter ‘one dog power’ under their breathe. Older women are mostly oblivious as they have more pressing issues to occupy them, but the most censorious group are by far more likely to be from this group.

The tuts, the sad shaking of the heads, the dog defenders, the anti-lazy brigade, to give their opinion of my outrageous behavior. Occasionally I would enlighten them but mainly it was a futile task to explains hat it was a great way to exercise a big dog, and unless the Tryke was constantly braked she would run and run with the wind in her ears.

Also the blast of Vitamin D, plus the feeling that I had exercised, which doesn’t take a lot of doing.

My very best piece of kit is a SEGWAY. This is coolest of the cool. Powerful, smooth with a hint of danger, all this and a very modern ability to self balance it self a hundred times a second. It feels like it curiously returns a steady gait and power, and all the confidence that goes with that.

It does get a little getting used too, and the ability to stand. Its likes and dislikes become second nature to you, and will betide you lest you forget. As it has tremendous torque it will throw you off if provoked. It mitigates itself by being fun and the ability to attract admiring glances from young men. That’s the Segway, not me.

The FREERIDER scooter doesn’t have the style but it does have comfort and most big shops will have aisles wide enough to accommodate you both. Shopping is no longer limited to he Internet and buying daily food from the market is a joy. Good for cruising around urban environments, but it is important to dress the part.

It needs to be warm, voluminous, rather like an Anna Karenina look than the bag lady one. Don’t forget your Bardot sunglasses either.

This brings me neatly too the LUGGIE This little indoors scooter belies its usefulness and power. Lithium batteries provide an ample amount of power, both quality and quantity. The great thing about lithium batteries is that it cannot be overcharged, so theoretically, if vigilant with the charging, it should never let you down. But if it does run out of juice, it can’t be pushed, only dragged, which is a right drag. No pun intended.

The Luggie is also aircraft compatible, it packs up neatly and the battery doesn’t worry airlines. But beware of potential damage to it when it’s out of your sight. It’s expensive to repair and not made in big enough numbers to warrant affordable and accessible parts. I speak from bitter experience here.

I’ve left, the VIPER, oh yes it’s real name, is the most exciting without the potential terror of the Segway.

It lends to all things ironic. Visualize a three wheeled, easy rider style powered wheel chair, with its exaggerated name brazened on its handle bar shaft. To take the analogy further again it’s vital to dress the part. Strictly bike please. It’s long battery life and power makes it fast, no limiter on this little baby. I’m not talking Harley Davison coolest and speed, all things, after all, are relative.

None of this replaces a good pair of sturdy legs, but it does go quite away to compensate. Drivers are mostly courteous, and a tolerant husband is priceless.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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