Disabled scooters and supermarket trolleys

We were looking forward to a day out at Burghley Horse Trials thinking we were prepared: tickets and parking organised and a disabled scooter booked for the day. On arriving I was presented with something suitable for people able to operate right-handed controls only. This was my first lesson, having right-sided weakness this was not an option. For a moment we feared having to give up on our day out and return home but fortunately this worry soon disappeared.  Not quite as robust looking as the first one, and as we later discovered with a shorter battery life, but nevertheless one I could operate, or so I thought.

Off we went, admittedly I was self-conscious as it was early days for me being out, bumping into people I knew but who didn’t yet know I had had a stroke, just wondering where I had gone? Nowadays I would have a completely different attitude but to illustrate how I was feeling at that stage I would not allow myself to be in any photographs taken that day.

We had done a fair amount of chatting, looking at stalls and enjoyed something to eat. Confidence increased at such a rate that we were about to attempt going around part of the course to watch closely some fences being jumped. Well what an experience, I was worried I was going to go over one bump and I’d go one way the scooter the other, whilst watching a fence I was too nervous I would topple off or over or even both, there didn’t appear to be anything other than steep slopes, after all this was a cross country course.

A couple of hours passed and I was getting the hang of this but needed the ladies, well honestly no one tells you what to do or rather what not to do!! Remembering too that with brain injury logic doesn’t always serve you well. I spotted the disabled toilet and there was a slope leading into it. Fortunately no one was waiting so I proceeded at speed!!! I hadn’t taken into account a metal surface would be different. My mother, walking quickly, intended to open the door for me but I was too fast: I hit the door causing it to fly open and before we knew it we found ourselves inside.  Thank goodness it didn’t go through the wall and straight out again the other side. Not only would it have been extremely embarrassing, there was a huge drop to the ground and I needed a wee. Doesn’t bare thinking about.

Well once inside, I had to turn the contraption around to free my mother now pinned to the wall and be able to have help to get off.  I cannot to this day remember how many turns, jolts etc. it took before I was finally facing the correct way, but I did begin to wonder if I would ever get the scooter out again. By the time I had successfully manoeuvred it around I was so hot, flustered and exhausted. When we eventually made our exit I asked Nick & Henry if they were concerned we had been so long, or did they think we had gone off without them, to which they both replied in tandem “no we knew exactly what was going on we heard all the crashing and bashing and saw the rate you flew up that ramp. Do you think you were meant to reverse or leave it outside?” I was so red faced I could not get away from the place quickly enough but back on grass I returned to snail pace.

We soon returned to the car for cake and a drink. After which I decided I couldn’t cope with returning the scooter, what if they asked me to park it in a small place. I remained at the car and asked Henry to do so on my behalf. He agreed but when he was gone for absolutely ages we were wondering if there was anything wrong. Eventually he returned saying he was exhausted the scooter was worse than a supermarket trolley plus incredibly heavy. Not long after leaving us it went slower and slower until it just died, battery totally flat and Henry still had some way to go. Had I not covered so many miles in the loo it might have lasted for the final trip back to its owners?

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