illustration of a woman on her couch with her dogs on her lap

Life wi the Broons: why can't mobility equipment be stylish?

The sixth in a series of blog posts by our Scots writer, Anne Brown.

Equipment tae help mobility is invaluable. It’s jist such a shame that so much o’ it is so very ugly!

The stuff you buy for yoursel is fine, because you can choose between ugly and no quite so ugly. Fur instance, I bought a wee powerchair tae make shoppin trips easier - great when we’re babysittin as hubby can take the wean and I can take masel. I chose a bright blue one as it matches ma car. I bought an all terrain mobility scooter tae take the dogs oot in country parks, I chose a black shiny one wi alloy wheels as it looks as smart as you can get a mobility scooter tae look.

The problem comes when you get stuff you didny choose! The neuro-physiotherapist gave me “Foot-up’s”: great Velcro thingy’s that attach tae your shoes and stop your feet floppin aboot when you’re walkin. The only thing is they’re black, so in the summer, when you might want tae wear light troosers and shoes, they stick oot like a sore thumb! The choice is to look stupit wi big black things on so everybody looks at your feet or stagger aboot wi your feet draggin so everybody looks at your feet. We’ve all heard of function wi form or in some cases form before function but in this case it’s function wi nae form at a’!

My latest started wi a phone call tae the MS nurse. I explained tae her that ma hands were getting really sore wi the handles o’ ma elbow crutches. I’d seen a friend wi crutches that had shaped handrests so were much mair comfy as they spread the weight over your hands. She said she’d refer me to the physio to get jist those very things.

The appointment duly arrived an the physio ordered said crutches fur me, great. The day I got the call to say they’d arrived, I wis in the car wi younger daughter, so we went straight up to get them. I tried them oot and wis very impressed till daughter started laughin! She’d noticed on the front o’ the handrests a large L on one side and an R on the ither! Bein sympathetic to ma plight, she giggled away, offerin tae put arrows on the fronts o’ ma shoes and tae sew ma name intae ma claes tae complete the set. I understand that some folk might need an L and R but why no put it somewhere discreet?

A couple o’ weeks later we were goin tae the “Horse Scotland” awards dinner. The invite wis a thank you from Bannockburn Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for helping oot wi a video (it’s called 'Free Rein' and is on YouTube) so I’d splashed oot an got a frock. A long frock, an a wee bolero thing wi sequins on. Hubby got oot his kilt an dickie bow so we were a’ set tae go oot wi the hoi poloi. I wis even gonny attempt to put a wee bit o’face on, although wi the double vision and shaky hand it meant wipin off mascara and eyeshadow from where it wisny suppose tae be! Noo the whole ensemble wis to be finished off wi a pair o’ big ugly shiny crutches wi the indignity o’ havin an L and R tae show which way roond ma left and right are in case I forget!

We had a great night oot, but I’ve still got tae find some way to cover the L and R! Anybody any suggestions?

Illustrations by our wonderful volunteer, Elfreda Crehan.