“So, I broke my mobility scooter…” my mum admitted down the phone. I sighed, knowing this meant that there were now two deceased scooters (both pretty old, in fairness), sitting in their garage. During lockdown, with Mum effectively shielding, using the scooter to get out into their pretty sizeable garden had been a lifeline for her, and I knew that a replacement was going to be needed quickly for her to get back to this level of freedom. “Alright, why don’t you contact TGA, they gave me Merida the WHILL, and they sell used mobility scooters and powerchairs, so they may have something suitable?”.
My mum has been making eyes at my powerchair for a while now. It’s not the first time. When I got my manual chair, she swiftly summoned up the courage to finally speak to wheelchair services and get a similar model (which she should have been provided with years before, but never mind). When my shoulders started to go and I needed a powerchair, despite her (very different) condition meaning she was perfectly capable of pushing her manual, she had been very keen to have a go in Merida, and loved it when I’d hold her hand and pull her and her manual along.
Within a couple of days, I got another call. “So, the nice man from TGA came and brought two scooters and a WHILL over…” I knew where this was going. “I may have chosen the WHILL!” Uh huh. Once again, the Mothership steals my style. She did at least have the decency to get her WHILL in grey, rather than my red, and named it ‘Morgan’ (there’s a weird family tradition of naming chairs and cars, just go with it).
Whilst she’s not getting rid of her manual chair – if anything, it’s great exercise for her – the WHILL does provide her with the ability to get over more difficult terrain, such as bumpy grassy gardens, and unlike many mobility scooters, is easy to take apart and pop in the car, meaning when my parents go on one of their many excursions to National Trust properties, I’m not worrying about Dad putting his back out pushing Mum’s chair. In fact, on the very first day Morgan arrived, Mum and Dad went for a five-mile ‘roll’ around the village, which they simply wouldn’t have done with the cumbersome scooter she had before. Seeing photos of her sitting in her chair, clearly so excited to be out and joining my dad on one of his long walks made me quite emotional, to be honest. Morgan is pre-loved and has been fixed up by TGA to get her working as good as new, and I have no doubt Mum is going to make the most of her.
Best of all, when my parents came up for my birthday picnic, we both rolled to the field in our WHILLs, and then had a race around the park. I maintain I won…