So today marked my first solo venture out with T and the Mean Machine. I have been a little worried about this. Nothing to do with T as such; more my confidence and coping (driving) abilities with our new 4 wheeled friend. But I really really wanted today to go well for us both.
Now, when T was measured for said machine a few weeks ago, a very kind man named Graham showed me how to assemble our new life accessory for easy transportation. He showed me how to take off the wheels, add and subtract the footplates and fold the frame. He told me it would fit in any car that way.
“Just out of interest, what car do you drive?”
I told him of my minty green Fiat 500 (named Maurice for those interested).
Graham laughed in my face. He then informed me that I may need to think about getting a slightly bigger car… Not on your nelly Graham. I love this little pea. I will make this work.
It took 20 minutes of grit and determination, several failed attempts at shutting my boot and some serious dismantling of the Mean Machine but, I did it. In your face Graham. As long as we don’t ever plan on travelling with anyone else in the car or taking any luggage with us, and I drive with my knees almost under my chin… it works.
On our journey, T had another moment of epic awesomeness. He informed me that he believes he has a special power.
“When I look at a tree, then blink, I teleport it closer.”
I told him that that could be the case, but it was more likely that we were just driving towards it. He was not impressed by my answer. He did however, inform me that in the event of ‘baddies or villains’ coming along, he wouldn’t need a super power because he has his shaking (how he describes the unsteadiness from his ataxia) and he would just wobble away from them so they couldn’t hold onto him… Epic. Awesomeness.
Upon arrival at our destination, I had a slight panic as I couldn’t actually remember how to put the sodding chair back together – and it resembled a small Transformer; but we got there in the end.
Hurdles 1 and 2 complete. I felt like bloody Wonder Woman.
I was a bit worried about how T would feel about the MM (Mean Machine) today as he’s been a bit up and down recently about people noticing differences in his movements. With the addition of the wheelchair, this would only serve to draw even more attention to this. However, as always with T, I needn’t have worried at all. It completely took the pressure off him, particularly in the busier areas of the city. He didn’t need to worry about struggling to match the pace of the crowds or the uneven cobbles. He was happier and so I was happier. We wheeled along happily. Until I nearly chucked him out of it after hitting a loose paving slab. Thank god it has a seat belt.
We went on to have the most lovely day with our friends. The staff at Pizza Hut and the Jorvik Viking Centre couldn’t do enough – but not in an overly intrusive way, they were just ace. I wasn’t sure how the MM would effect T’s experience of the museum, but he was able to access everything. I know this won’t be the case everywhere we go, but for today, it couldn’t have been better.
As we stood waiting for the Park and Ride bus this afternoon, I felt really relieved about today. That was until a woman shouted me, and I discovered that we had forgotten to put the brakes on the chair. T had wheeled into a massive crowd of people while I had turned away for literally 10 seconds to check that there was space on the bus for us. I apologised profusely to T, and to everyone else and got us both on to the bus as quickly as I could manage, feeling like I had completely failed. I also had a small dramatic cry behind my sunglasses on the way back to the car. Then I realised I was being ridiculous. So I put on the Moana soundtrack, sang all the way home and got my shit together. T is fine, I am fine, the lady in the crowd is fine (albeit somewhat judgemental given the look she gave me) and thats all that matters.
Its also given T a great story to tell – he’s now referring to it as ‘The Incident’. Not that he’s dramatic at all…
There will always be bumps (or loose paving slabs) in the road, but next time I will be ready for them. And I’ll also put the brakes on.