Amputees Amplified

Prosthetic Leg or Mobility Scooter? Your Call, Amputees of Canada!

As founder of Amputees Amplified, I have decided that from now on I will only be blogging using the only voice I can; that of an above knee amputee of over 40 years duration. That is all I know, so that is what I am going to blog about. So there! Get your own blog if you don’t like it. Lol.

Last spring, I had an incredible journey driving from British Columbia to Niagara Falls Ontario. Since it was a long drive of 4 or 5 days each way, I decided to remove my prosthetic leg and throw it in the back seat and just use my crutches to get in or out. It was a lot more comfortable that way when you’re sitting in the driver’s seat for 12 hours or more at a stretch.

So what on earth does this have to do with using a scooter, you ask. Nothing at all. Except for the strange ways people react differently to me, depending on whether I’m wearing my leg with long pants on, not wearing my leg at all and wearing shorts, or sitting on my scooter happily scooting away. I noticed right away during this drive that, all across this great country, people were going out of their way to be extremely polite to me, holding doors, carrying items for me in stores, letting me in the lineup, and once, even offering to pump my gas for me, as if I was incapable of doing such an activity.

What an eye opener. But we’ll get back to that. A few months before this trip, I happened to notice a really cool looking scooter parked at the mall I was at. When I spoke to its owner, I noticed he was a below the knee amputee. As an above knee amputee, I couldn’t help but wonder why he used a scooter when he seemed to be walking okay. But that day started me thinking about that. You see, the past few summers have been really hot, and by the end of the day the perspiration had built up in my socket to the point where I really needed to remove the prosthetic when I got home. Going to the grocery store or library was becoming more and more difficult because of this problem.

amputee on mobility scooter

Amputee Larry Gardner

However, I still had stuff to do! How was I going to get this stuff done if I wasn’t wearing my prosthetic limb? Well, I reasoned, I could do some of it if I had a scooter like that BK at the mall. Fortunately, I still work for a living, at a large university, which meant that my extended health benefits might possibly provide funding for a mobility scooter.

Now please keep in mind that at the age of 30 or 40, I was a very active AK amputee. I walked a lot, cycled, swam and skied. But as I approached the age of 60, most of these activities were put on the back burner. Except for walking and swimming. Fast forward to the summer of 2015, the year I got my freedom machine, known as a mobility scooter. This machine has changed my life in such a positive way that it is hard for “normies” to comprehend.

I like to try to explain it like this; it is about 10 blocks to the “town center” of where I live. The library and city hall are there, as well as the swimming pool and the shopping mall. I would never in a million years walk to this area. But all of a sudden, I can go anywhere, anytime I want! This is huge to a guy who hasn’t walked through a mall in years. Now I can cruise all over the place seeing things and events that I would have missed otherwise. All I used to do was drive and park somewhere. Now I can actually ride my scooter to the pool and right into the changing room and pool area.

So I see it this way: Having a mobility scooter enhances and augments my mobility to the point where the physical limitations of using a suction socket in extreme heat no longer limit ME! Most hot days I get home, take my leg off and jump on my scooter for a ride.

So please don’t get me wrong here. I will never undervalue my good fortune of having such an excellent prosthetist, Mr Tony van der Waarde of Award Prosthetics, nor the value of having a really really good prosthetic leg. Since using a scooter, I have noticed that I have had no problems with my prosthetic leg, and also, as a side benefit, there has been less wear and tear on my good knee and my lower back and residual limb.

The point is, just like all people are different, all amputees are different. After all, we’re people aren’t we? Each amputee has different needs at different stages of their lives. I need my prosthetic leg for things like apartment cleaning, working, and such everyday things. Also for fun things like jam sessions, where I need to carry my gear and rock out for four hours. It would be much harder to do without a prosthetic. But now, with my scooter, I can still get my shopping done, go to the pool, or just get outside and enjoy nature for a while.

So now, back to that perception issue. Even though I’m the exact same guy that you saw walking through the parking lot, now that I’m in my scooter, some people look at me very differently, as if I’m a vegetable with the brain power of a six year old. Some people see me coming and they literally jump out of the way in an extreme example of Canadian courtesy. At times it’s hilarious and at other times it’s really annoying to be patronized or looked down upon.

Bottom Line? I don’t really give a flying rat’s you-know-what what people think anymore. If you want a scooter, get a freakin scooter. Then you won’t be limited the next time you want to go for a “stroll” in Green Timbers Urban Forest, as in the video above.

I look forward to some feedback about this one. I gotta get the hang of this blogging thing! Thanks.

Larry

Larry Gardner
Founder – Amputees Amplified
Amputee Resources for Canadian Amputees
(Web):http://www.amputee.ca/
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(Youtube): http://www.youtube.com/user/oneleglarry
(LinkedIn): http://www.linkedin.com/in/larrygardner1
(Email): larry@amputee.ca
(Phone): (604) 715-0760

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