Hell on Wheels

All posts in the Hell on Wheels category

HellonWheels

Published May 21, 2018 by helentastic67

Hellonwheels

Hellonwheels

How she came to be? As you may already be aware Hellonwheels was a nickname a friend of my sisters gave me, way back when, even years before I got my license to drive and that wasn’t until my thirties.

Drivers licence

SHUDDUP. I will not take any criticism about how slow I was to learn to drive and get my license. I was a thing and then the other thing and then you will hear about getting it just in time later.

But, today I thought I’d give you the rules and regs of having a mobility scooter.

Rules for Mob Scooter

My process was when I was referred to the council, The City of Yarra a year or two after I developed my disability, it all started to happen.

I was referred to many people to act upon all the things I needed and wasn’t aware of. I thought I’d just start getting carers to help me dry and dress, make my bed and clean my home. An OT (Occupational Therapist) would come out to access how I manage, how I get around, transport etc and she had the brilliant idea to organise a mobility scooter.

Mobility Scooter

Some people just think you go to a shop and buy one and your good to go.

That’s not it at all…

The OT negotiated with my GP, had a copy of all my medical conditions etc. It was deemed I would be safe on a scooter and that the general public would also be safe on the streets and then the man with the van came out from Scooters’ Australia with three scooters.

Test Drive

The first one he told me all about it and I got on and they walked beside me as we did a block on the footpath, we went over some cobbled stones in the guttering, (difficulty rating: some) and along Hoddle Street past my favourite shop there. (It’s called Schotts) Past a laneway, which I did not stop for.

First test drive

Not stop for prompting him to tell me “I just got killed!” Prompting me to tell him cars never come out of there. My left foot drifts out of the footboard, all because of my Drop-foot and if I’m not putting weight on it, it just does what it likes. Back home, the man disappeared into the van and backed out on a second scooter, slightly bigger.

Second test

I got on that one and repeated the ride, being careful not to get myself killed in the same places I’d neglected my basic knowledge of road rules as the first time.

All went well, I can’t recall much about that scooter, it might have been too bouncy or rather big? Big can be a problem when it comes to storing a scooter.

But alas I almost forgot, the man disappeared into the van a third time and came out the biggest scooter. Good to have options and all but I confess I looked at the OT and told her ‘this one must be the big fat Elvis!’

Third test

I think I had a little ‘Go’ on the big fat Elvis, but didn’t bother going around the block like I did with the first one.

Now which to choose?

Choosing scooter

Choosing scooter 1Choosing scooter 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s just tell you all the reasons why I chose the first one. It was the smallest, easier to store, the seat comes off, the front handle (part thing) folds down and the scooter (I’m told) fits into my car boot. Except and he rattled off several cars makes and models, so let’s just say most. Probably not a Porsche or Mini Minor or even….  I don’t know.

Mini Minor

My mum has a little Mazda and I don’t even know if it fits in her car boot as we’ve never tried. Point being, if you go to a shopping complex or a day away holiday, you can take Hellonwheels with you. The tyres are solid, so no worrying about flat tyres and I have a satchel on the back.

Mazda

My scooter was the cheapest at $4,000.00. Of which I obviously did not have and she was not at all fazed by this.

The OT got her letter writing hat on and started pounding the pavement to get me funding.

Now, you probably wonder where Hellonwheels lives? When I first got her, I lived in a single storey terrace house opposite Public Housing. I had a small backyard and no cover out the back. Again, no money, again more potential funding.

Shed for scooter

The gate at the front that gave us access was replaced and a power supply was required. The landlord also sorted the power supply in my backyard for the scooter.

Funding was sourced for a shed to go in my backyard. It ended up with the scooter and my gardening supplies. It took up half my backyard and because the clothes line was so loose it was able to stay up and I still had half to use for my washing.

Shed

The shed has been mine to keep, the next house I lived in, the scooter lived under a BBQ cover as there was not enough room for the shed to go up.

Hellonwheels now resides in my scooter shed under the building I moved to 6 months ago, with my gardening things. There is power to the scooter as it needs to be constantly on live power. Not a battery. Every outing on my scooter is a potential adventure. Also, a possibility of a way to engage the community in discussion about disability and hopefully not a chance to need to make a claim on my Insurance. I have up to $10,000 if I injure someone but I’m really not planning to need it. Fingers crossed.

Underground garage

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Fat Furniture

Published May 18, 2018 by helentastic67

Fat Furniture

Fat Furniture

Who loves a good classic piece of furniture? But hates how disability makes us fat. Well, strap in you will love this post.

The early days of my disability I started to get just a tiny little jelly belly, yes, it’s how it starts.

Jelly Belly

I used to create a diamond shape around my belly button and push together so it resembled the buttons on a Chesterfield couch.

Chesterfield

Then I got my disability and I could only do it one handed, not nearly as effective, clearly.

My belly has gotten bigger. Yeah, it’s the only word for it. Bigger, still jelly, but bigger. But there are rare moments I actually appreciate having a belly. I know right?

After disability

Last week I departed home on my Hellonwheels and halfway down the street, running late for my local appointment I heard the clown horn on my phone in the satchel bag, on the back of my scooter. Running late, couldn’t stop to check it, have to prioritize and get to where I’m going, then check it.

Running late

Around the corner on the High Street, to the pedestrian crossing, press the button for the lights to change and grab phone. The lovely Noelle, start to respond, we have an understanding we text when we can, but when we’re busy we let the other person know we are unavailable.

Unavailable 1

So, I tucked the phone on the top of my thigh under my belly. Not the safest option for an iPhone, I didn’t pay off on contract. The first and only phone I’ll probably ever get funded, but I don’t have any tummy muscles, so think I’m safe.

Hiding Phone

So, there you go, a bonus from having a disability.

Bonus Disability

Normal

Published May 14, 2018 by helentastic67

Normal

Normal

Lately, I’ve had a new batch of carers come to me for a variety of different services. They have come from different cultural, religious backgrounds and different ages and beliefs and education.

Different

And again, here I come explaining some common-sense stuff, some manners (you heard me) and that it’s not sad or against God if someone is Gay.

Common Sense

I’m not Gay, but seriously I didn’t survive this long without having Gay friends. But it’s weird that again a new batch of carers and I have to be the one to explain what I accept as normal is actually ‘NORMAL’.

Normal is normal

If I’ve got a guy in the peripheral of life who is my friend, values me for who I am, is the right amount of bitchy, right amount of foody talk and a decent degree of understanding and empathy. What do I care they are into penises? And not V-jay jay. It makes life easier that I know they’re not trying to get into my pants.

Gay friends

They obviously appreciate me for the other parts of me. I think I’m lucky for my Gay friends.

Oh, yeah the manners part.

Good Manners

Sometimes I have carers who just help themselves to things, like tissues or rechargeable phones (WTF). Some girls walk through the lounge, grab a napkin (and I’m watching this as I follow them) they scrunch it up and throw it in the kitchen bin.

Seriously, I’m more than a bit “Green” and I’m not made of money.

Not made of money

Help

Published May 11, 2018 by helentastic67

Help

Help

A simple guide for when around people with eyesight problems (ie, they are partially blind).

Partially blind

DO NOT SPEAK LOUDER. (We are not deaf) or stupid, which you seem to be if you can’t tell the difference.

Don't shout

Giving directions by pointing and using words like “over there”

That does not fucking help!

No. 1 I might not be looking at you.

No. 2 I might not be able to see where you are pointing…

Give directions

Happens to the best of us, my own family do this to me. I once followed a woman who was leading the “vision impaired” around the back entrance. The other vision impaired person had a guide dog, I hung back to follow because I can see ‘something’ whereas the guy was completely blind.

The woman waved a hand in a direction and yes, you guessed it said ‘over here’.

Over there

How to direct someone who’s visually impaired is to use ‘Verbal Cues.’ OK, were now veering slightly right, your one o’clock. There are about ten steps, one metre apart with a small single brick step up each time. The Entrance is fifteen metres away.

Verbal cues

Ready?

Step!

Step!

Step!

 

One Word

Published May 7, 2018 by helentastic67

One Word 2

One Word

You know those things in life, I’ve managed to excel at and what I consider winning at life skills and yesterday I shared a piece of my Helen’s wisdom with my Case Manager over our lunch meeting and he managed to trump me with just one word.

One Word 1

It’s with his permission I share this story with you.

When I moved to my home four years ago, I had plenty (too many) of door-knockers, you know the ones, bible bashers, God bothers and since watching a show a few years back called “The Heart of Dixie” I’ve based how I deal with these situations, based on this particularly great, but grumpy character. In short, the character is the Mayor, he’s a retired sportsman of African American background and he’s seen as a tall black drink of water, so it’s very funny when he greets everyone with a strong and grumpy ‘No’ and he just repeats it. Until whoever is asking something of him, goes away.

Hart of Dixie

So, on a Saturday I’ll open the door in my PJ’s and encounter a sweet young Asian girl or two well dressed, clean faced boys (sorry men) and before they get a word out I start with the “NO!”

Answer door in pj

If the brochure in the hand comes out or they open their mouths, I just repeat “NO, NO, NO, NO!” you get the idea. A good head shake never goes away. Then I step it up by closing the door. Sometimes I’m peeking around the door with “NO, NO, NO” and the head shakes to see if they are still there. Why are they still there? Then I slam the door.

No no no

I must say, I thought I was nailing it, I really did until I met with my Case Manager yesterday and somehow this topic came up, he told me what he does in a word, trumped me. He opens the door, says one word and then slams it!

Ready?

Wondering what the word is?

“GAY!”

Gay

OMG! They win again, I could lie, I guess, but I just thought it was way too good.

Today I re-countered this story to my carer while she thought about it, I suggested I didn’t know if all religions had the same opinion about Gay and Lesbians and told her I didn’t care enough to research it.

Religion

But, I think sometimes life with a disability can be pretty depressing and sometimes it’s these amusing moments that we should share to make it all worthwhile.

Feel free to use either of these methods to dissuade annoying people from pestering you at home.

You’re Welcome.

You're Welcome

Quality

Published May 4, 2018 by helentastic67

Quality

Quality

Why is it control freaks have such a bad rep? I mean, I utilise many methods of Quality Control with my carers and family.

Control Freak

 

There are good and bad things about outsourcing your chores around the house and by saying that I’m talking about things I can’t do myself or they leave me exhausted and still trying to get through my admin/emails at 1am which is ridiculous.

Quality Control

I can only spend so much time watching how someone does something or I might as well do it myself. So, I’ve found ways to do quality control.

I ask my carers to wash dishes, but not dry them.

Doing dishes

There are several reasons for this;

  1. I don’t see the point in drying dishes when they can be left to dry by themselves and I put them away later.
  2. It leaves more time for them to something else.
  3. If they dry the dishes they will stack them on the bench, I have limited bench space, so before I an even make my breakfast, I have to put them away. Or the carers will put them away. * I often can’t find things so I have to think where my carers would have put them.
  4. And likely the most important; I can check that things are actually clean! Because sometimes, they are worse than if I tried to wash them one-handed.

Today a carer containerized up some cat food from the supermarket, I gave her the containers and a small plastic crate to carry them all around to the fridge in one trip. When asked where they were, so I could put them in the freezer, she said she had put them in there already and some hours later when looking for the plastic crate to relocate my “Lunch making” things from the fridge to the kitchen in one convenient trip, I discovered she had put the crate in the freezer with the containers in it.

Cat food

A complete waste of space in my fridge/freezer, as the smaller crate in the freezer, allows me to fit in plenty of other things if stacked correctly.

All in the freezer

I had to drag out the larger crate and I discovered the containers had leaked and giving me another job to clean the inside of my freezer.

Cleaning Freezer

None of the containers had even been sealed properly.

Fighting the Big Fight

Published April 30, 2018 by helentastic67

Fight the Big Fight

Fighting the Big Fight

You know those days you think “Wah” (like a baby) why do I have to be the one to stand up for when people are idiots? And if you don’t do something to make a change, they will keep being ‘idiots’. I had that moment as I often do a few days ago.

Being idiots

Now, by all means we all do it, sure, but then there are times it can be beyond painful.

Then there was yesterday.

I do like to upsize my meeting with my CM (Case Manager) to be help at my favourite café (Where I also go on a Wednesday) and then I wandered down to my GP appointment, so far, so good. Left the GP’s clinic and walked a short distance to the tram stop. I would normally walk to the next stop near the café so I get a little exercise.

Walking to the tram

Now the weather report. It’s a lovely day in Melbourne, it’s summer, there is blue sky and it’s not hot and muggy. T-shirt weather, everything is right in the world.

T shirt Wearing Weather

I was waiting for about four minutes for the tram, I could just hope the tram would be a flat-bed tram (Disability friendly) so I wouldn’t have to work so hard to pull myself up and get a seat. Then along came a woman, she literally huffed within a minute and she complained about the lack of trams. I told her they shouldn’t be far as I’d already been waiting a few minutes. I don’t normally check the timetable.

I decided to check the timetable myself out of curiosity. It was just before 5pm so trams run everything eight minutes. After 5pm, every six minutes. Not bad right?

Waiting for a tram

A young lady came just as that time and checked the timetable and had her head in her smart phone. Then announced it’s twenty minutes until the next tram, but then there’s three of them.

Negative Nancy and her sore legs.

Negative Nancy

I asked the younger woman how she knew this? She mentioned some Apps on her phone. I felt so old. I have a smart phone, but it’s under utilised and I refuse to put Facebook or my blog email on it, because the excuse I use is that I’m not 14…

Not 14 Anymore

I have my personal email on my phone for convenience, but mostly so I can cull the rubbish and anything of value waits until the end of the day.

Anyway, I digress Ms Apps (not a negative term) mentioned there had been a medical emergency on the tram, hence the hold up.

Negative Nancy: “Oh those people on drugs! I just want to get home!”.

Medical Emergency

Seriously? Was there a Zombie Apocalypse I didn’t know about? I tried to level the situation by saying “You know, if someone is sick or ill or had a heart attack on Public Transport, they are legally bound to get them an Ambulance. If no one dies, it’s okay!”

Ambulance 1

Negative Nancy (you know she had something to say about that) “How long does it take to get an Ambulance?”

Don’t know if you’ve had to get an Ambulance, but I have and I wasn’t dying nor did I think I was dying and I was cosy in bed waiting, so it was no drama. It takes as long as it takes.

Again, I suggested whatever the commuters need, they would be triaged with everybody else.

Ms Apps stated she would walk to the next stop, it’s normally what I do and I nearly went with her, rather than submit myself to anymore shitty energy from Negative Nancy.

About a minute later a tram came around the corner down the hill. So, I decided our time together now had a deadline and decided she needed to be told. So, politely I started:

“I know you have maybe had a tough day and your legs hurt”

She attempted to cut me off thinking I would pander to her delicate temperament, but I did not let her.

“Yes, Yes, I know! But what you don’t realise is that right now, I can’t feel my left foot and most of my left leg.”

I started to also indicate a part of my left side and back I used to lift my left leg and despite my

“I have low vision badge,” she didn’t notice. I told her I had half my eyesight. Her demeanour changed instantly and she stated.

Invisible disability

“I’m so sorry! Had I known I wouldn’t have.” and she told me I looked ‘Great’ and good.

Hidden disability is a curse isn’t it?

She really hadn’t had her eyes or paid any attention to my cuff and collar on my arm or my walking stick.

The tram arrived and she eventually stepped aside to allow me to get on first to get an appropriate seat for me to not fall over getting on or off.

Two people got up to offer me their seats and I took one of them up on the offer, very much appreciated.

Negative Nancy took a seat to my left in my blind spot simpering like she deserved the seat.

She started to try to make conversation with me but I was really over it, so pulled out my phone. Conversing with her on my left would have given me a migraine and if you think that meant the trauma was over, think again.

Conversation finished

On my right was a guy on the phone, he was talking to a work colleague who was using drugs and driving around with his kids in the car.

Um, does anyone else want to hear about this shit on the tram? Unless it’s broken up with words suggesting they are going to get him help? No!

But instead, he punctuated every sentence with the biggest sniff and hark back, it was disgusting.

Luckily for him, he got off about five stops before me, otherwise I could imagine I would have silently help out with a packet traveler tissues and if he had been offended and told me he was not a child. I would have growled at him. I’m too young to be his mother. But here we are.

tissues

 

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