There are a lot of words that describe me, some of which I like better than others. I guess my favorite title the past seventeen years has been “Nana.” I’ve also enjoyed being known as a speaker/writer and especially as a Christian. I’ve given myself some titles like hard of hearing, disabled, or handicapped. There are things that happen and the right descriptive phrases just don’t seem to always fit.
I get a lot of funny emails that discuss the good and bad things about being a senior citizen. I’ve been a disabled widow since age 45 and more of those do apply than don’t. I’ve been riding a scooter since 1993 right after my husband died and I moved to town. Since I was not driving and had sold our vehicles, a scooter was answer to a prayer I had not even prayed. God knew it would take me where a wheelchair without a caregiver would not.
So my first scooter became my legs to the apartment pool, the grocery and drug stores, the mall and several restaurants. It was also a great babysitter for my new grandson and later his little brother.
There was no thought at that time to the need of a handicapped conversion van. When I became well enough to drive in 1996, I bought a small car and had a lift put on the back for the scooter when I wanted to take it with me. One of the first problems I discovered with that was driving in bad weather. I even ruined an expensive cover driving on the interstate in a torrential rainstorm.
So a couple other terms have applied to me…hindsight and foresight! If only I had bought a ramp van back when prices were lower and before I gave my money away. As things changed over the years it would have worked during the good and bad times. Even during the time I couldn’t drive, it would have been better to have had the ramp for my caregivers to use.
And now in weak times, once again, the scooter and ramp van fit my needs like a perfect pair of gloves. The scooter is a substitute for my feet and legs. Some folks comment because I don’t have on shoes but in the summer my feet swell. Why waste my money on shoes? Just call me the “shoeless lady.”
The largest disadvantage a scooter has is how close one is to the ground. That can be an advantage when someone needs to pick up something they drop. It is also an advantage when one has to transfer to a low chair or toilet.
The disadvantage in a grocery store is that everything I need is always higher than I can reach. Asking for help is a good lesson to learn, but can be frustrating when no one is available. One example of my frustration is that my favorite crushed pineapple is always on the top shelf and whole slices of pineapple are near the bottom.
And this is where senior terminology comes in. Some seniors are hunched over or have lost inches due to osteoporosis. So here I am in the world of “little people” but I can’t climb like they can and someone who comes up with all these emails has a new title for senior citizens and, of course, scooter riders.
I had an aquarium once and I knew there were fish called “bottom feeders.” I didn’t know that someday this would be a new name for me when shopping in a grocery store. So a new name for me is “bottom feeder;” I’ve always said “if the shoe fits, wear it!”