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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!’
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.