The Scooter Mishap
When I go out shopping, many times I use a mobility scooter. If I go to a small store I can get away with using my rollator walker. The large supermarkets or super retail stores are impossible for me to walk comfortably. If I am going out shopping, I want to enjoy it, not constantly stopping to catch my breath.
Grateful but inefficient
These scooters are fairly wide and have a large basket. I’m sure you have all seen them. I am very grateful that stores provide them for their customers. Legally, they do not have to. With that being said, aisles and displays are not set up with these scooters (or drivers) in mind.
Retail stores have round racks of clothing on hangers as a display. Many of them place the racks close together so you can barely get through walking, let alone with a scooter. However, I am determined and the item I want is always in the middle. I always manage to maneuver my way into the racks, but getting back out seems to be a problem. There is always one rack wanting to come with me, hangers attached somehow to the cart as I drag it with me.
A little destruction
Then there are the supermarkets. They are always fun for a little destruction! The aisles are wide enough, however, the displays placed in the center of the stores running vertically with the aisles are a danger for turning. I am proud to say I have only demolished one Rice-A-Roni and one pasta display!
Then trouble happened
Last week, my husband and I went grocery shopping at one of the larger markets. It was going to be a very large order. I gave him his list, I had mine and we went our separate ways. He normally finishes quickly and goes to the cafe and has coffee. I think he sneaks a donut in too! I’ve seen traces of powdered sugar!
It was my scooter
Everything was going along very well. I was taking my time, looking at various items, and enjoying my little outing. My basket was full and close to overflowing, with just a few more items to purchase in the frozen food aisle. I got what I needed when suddenly I heard a piercing alarm. Looking around to see where the noise was coming from, I realized it was my scooter. The battery was dead. No warning light, no warning alarm, just stopped moving in the middle of the frozen vegetables.
Breakdown in the broccoli aisle
Proud of myself
I am proud of myself. There was only one brief second of panic. I found my cell phone and called my husband. He said he would get another scooter and we would transfer the food over. Five minutes was turning into ten minutes and he had not returned. Meanwhile, I am blocking the broccoli. I found out it was a pretty popular item!
On our way
Finally, a man with some rather large muscles wanted some broccoli too, so I asked him if he could push me out of the way. He got me in front of some frozen meat pies, so I figured I was safe for a little while. My husband finally returned after searching the parking lot for another scooter. We got the food transferred and went on our way.
There was a time and not too long ago, I would have had such an anxiety attack if this happened. I would have been embarrassed, close to tears, and very short of breath. With breathing exercises, I have learned to stay calm in a situation like that.
If I cannot find my husband, people are helpful. I’ve learned that my scooter rides around stores with my oxygen can be adventurous. I know it would have been too much for me to find a store employee, but someone else could. I didn’t panic. I’ve come a long way!
Have you been in a similar situation? How did you react? Let’s share stories!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?