Forum

First night out in my wheelchair...

Well, last night I had my first night out in my wheelchair and had a great time. I was out with my friends who are all nurses, which was helpful as they are all used to “driving” wheelchairs. We went for a meal, then to the theatre to see a fantastic Motown tribute concert thing (The Music Hall in Aberdeen for those in NE Scotland), and then to a pub (The Bells) for a couple of drinks before going home. Everywhere we went, staff and members of the public couldn’t have been more lovely and helpful, although I found the suggestion of lifting me in my wheelchair up a short flight of stairs a bit alarming - I walked up them myself, albeit very slowly, and somebody followed with the chair.

I did find that people who were being helpful were a bit patronising at times, but this may have been because they thought I couldn’t be quite right in the head. My experience with using my walking sticks has been that nobody really takes me seriously, I knew I’d be almost invisible in my chair, so I decided to be as outrageous as I wanted and my lovely blue wig had it’s first airing, along with my blue sequinned wedge platform Abbatastic boots which I can’t really drive my car in, let alone walk very far, but that doesn’t matter if you’re in a wheelchair, I wore my trainers to drive. I always drive on nights out, my friends are all so lovely and accommodating with me, the least I can do is save them a taxi fare.

Can’t wait for the next night out, I have more pretty shoes to wear, and different ideas about outfits, haha!

Luisa x

Hi Luisa

So glad you had a fantastic night for your first trip in your wheelie. It ain’t that

bad, is it, and you reserve your energy for enjoying the night. I love the fact of

your blue wig and “Abba” boots, you sometimes do get ignored from being in a

chair, but you sound as if you are not going to let that happen, well done you.

Many moons ago I had to make the choice to use a wheelie, it was either that

or not go out, and my children were tiny and needed me with them, so I suppose,

the decision was made for me, but I promise you, I have never regretted it. I have

used a powerchair for yonks now, and it is one of my best friends.

Take care, and enjoy your independence.

Pam

Good for you Luisa!!!

I also find people are a bit patronising when I’m on my mob-scooter… but then I think that they are trying to be kind and friendly and helpful… so I think the more outrageous the better! I have a ‘I LOVE MY HARLEY’ sticker on back of scooter, which always makes people laugh and loosen up a little.

Anyway I’m so pleased you had a good time. First time is always the hardest so will be easier from now on.

Pat x

Hi Pam,

It really isn’t too bad, although having your face at bum height takes a little getting used to! (I’m 5’8, so used to being taller than most) I’ve been using the wheelchair for about the last two months to go to work, but this was it’s first “proper” outing. Although I’m tired from the late night, I’m definitely not as tired as I would usually have been if I’d been walking, and we were able to venture further because we were not limited by my ridiculously short range when walking.

I really don’t care if people notice me or not - if I’m invisible though, it doesn’t matter how outrageous I feel like being - last night, only one drunken bloke asked if my royal blue hair was real (I answered yes cos I felt like it), then thankfully his girlfriend took him away, he was going to get annoying.

L x

Nice message, Luisa. I live in Dalgey Bay but I’m originally ‘fae Dundee’ - I went to university in Ai’birdeen (trying to pit 'awn the accent). I’ve had MS fir 13+ yir’s and I have R/R MS. Your message is good, thanks and I’m married to an Optometrist from Northern Ireland (she studied at London University but it must be hellish for her because I’ve always voted S.N.P (37 years). I used to ‘work at the Grill bar - if it is still there’ (in the summer). So if you require any help with your eye-sight my wife will help - she also works p/t at the Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh. 'Scotland has a high incidence of MS - wonder what’s ‘causing it?’

Best wishes,

Marcus. x.

Thanks Pat - my mobility scooter has chrome effect flames on it - it only gets used for walking the dog though, it’s too heavy for me to get it into the car.

L x

That is BRILLIANT…

I cannot wait to visit all the places and friends I have not seen in over a year.I will be one HAPPY girly when I get a set of wheels.

I will look a strange site with my metal band T-shirts n hoodies and tattooes and facial piercings.I think I would love a PINK wig as PINK is my fav colour…

I cannot wait to be able to wear a page of wedges again,well I could walk in them but sure would look pritty in them…

Congradualtions and here is to many more happier days of freedom for you.

Charlie,x

Hello Luisa,

I can well imagine that you get annoyed with people patronising you. I find it really funny that when people see my walking stick they talk louder!!! LOL!

Moira

Thanks Marcus - The Grill closed down - I was never in it for long, no ladies toilet and grooves in the floor for the clientele to spit kind of put me off. I’ll forgive you for your horrendous attempt at an Aberdeen accent, haha!

Thanks also for your offer of your wife’s eye services - Edinburgh or Dalgety Bay is a little far from Aberdeen to travel though, esp if I can’t see (ON is what got me my diagnosis, so been there, done that), but thanks anyway.

I have my theories about the high numbers of Scots with MS - vit D, diet, skin/hair colouring, etc but who knows for sure? Not any of us!

L x

Thanks Charlie,

My tattoos are mainly hidden by my clothes - I’m not really into piercings - like I said, I’m really past caring what people think of what I wear, and I have a bit of an outrageous streak in me anyway (sure I was a transvestite in a former life), now there’s no reason to behave and fit in, not that that was something I did anyway, but now the guards are off! Once I decided I needed a wheelchair, I knew that my wardrobe would get used properly again, I miss being able to wear pretty shoes - if you don’t have to walk in them, there’s no stopping you! Good luck for when you get your wheels.

L x

Thanks Moira,

People talk louder? That is bizarre, makes you wonder what’s going through their minds - seagulls and trombones probably, definitely no coherent thought! The people who patronise me get a smile, they’re usually trying to be helpful, so I don’t mind so much - the ones who really annoy me get sarcastic comments.

L x

Why thankyou.

Your like me,even before MS gripped me so tight I dressed like a lady,if I wore a pink top it would include,pink shoes,pink belt,pink handbag.I spent so much time being like everyone else I forgot who I was.Then a few years ago I decided to be ME.

I do not agree in tattooes on the face and kneck.I also cannot hide the one on my hand.The rest on my arms n ankle I can hide when I need to.But being ME,displaying may tattooes and piercings,some missjudge me terribly but moving to a new area I have to say I have made many friends.I am accepted for being diffrent.Yup I even have a cupper with the local police.I have to as I am Vicechair of the Tennants association.

Being DIFFRENT is GREAT.People accept us for being who we are on the inside,some are ignorant and judge us them type are not worth being in our lives.

I do not need a drink to have fun,I could dance on the table tops stone cold sober.I LOVE having fun.Being ill with MS will NEVER stop me from smiling.

Is going to ask my GP if they can put in for an electric wheelchair,I have been debating it for a while,it was hard enough to come to terms that I am now disabled and then to consider a wheelchair,but I am in need of one now.

I wish you all the happiness and wish you more and more days of getting out and about.

Charlie,x

W’oops, I forgot to ‘mention about the wheel chair!’ - stupid me because I used to play rugby for Ai’birdeen University but I use a ‘wheel-chair now’ (although my wife sometimes ‘pushes it’) - I don’t paticularily like the wheelchair but it does have it’s benefits - and you get to ‘sit down all the time!’ and use the ‘disabled toilet’ although I’m ‘fixed up’ with a catheter - it didn’t used to work but it has been ‘fixed now’. I used to ‘enjoy’ running along Ai-birdeen beach - I used to run the full way early in the morning (5 a.m.) when the only other partners were the seals! and in the ‘summer’ it was 'fine ‘as you used to say’. "Aye, Aibirdeen was a fine place with all you ‘loons & quines’ or am I being too rude? I don’t mean to be. My ‘late’ grandmother and (grandfather - whom I never met) were frae Orkney and Shetland. I’ve been to Orkney (over 4 times but not to Shetland) - they apparently have a high incidence up there of MS but I myself don’t have any ‘relatives’ with it - I think that the surname ‘Stout’ comes from Orkney. So long just now 'cos my fingers are getting sore!

Marcus. x.

Thanks Luisa,

MS is a b*stard but it’s nice to have someone to talk to. My wife’s brother has MS as well and he is a teacher in england and my next door neighbour’s (a police sergeant) brother has MS as well (and he had to give up his job) - I used to work (8 years) at ‘Sky’ but I’ve had to give up now and I’m on DLA and not working (I’m 56 now and not driving because my foot was too slow from the accelerator to brake pedal - when I was tested - I’d been driving for ‘42 years’ and my last position was Director in the motor trade - you may have heard of ‘Stout Brothers’ - it was my (late) father and my uncle - there was a ‘local motto’ - ‘there’s no doubt, a Stout’s about!’ and my initials are MS as well (how unlucky is that - but it could have been worse because I went to school with a girl called Vicki Duncan (need I say more but she was ‘loaded’).

Marcus. x.

Woops! - I almost forgot, ‘the Grill’ was more a ‘Man’s pub’ (if there was such ‘a thing’) and I remember that ‘ladies’ used to ‘scurry’ across the road when they needed to go to the toilet. What I remember (when I can’t remember what I had for tea last night - memory problems even though I went to Aberdeen Uni.!). Aberdeen only had ‘one’ football team and Dundee had 2 but it was definately more a ‘man’s pub’.

Marcus. x. (MS can take a bit of getting used to - if you ever get used to it but what I seem to remember about Aberdeen was that I was quite a ‘poor student’ but lot’s of people (not everyone) had lot’s of ‘oil money’ - sp’ose you know that anyway but (in general) I used to get on ok with Ai’birdeen Fowk!) - (I used to support Dundee United when I was younger (NOT NOW - I DON’T SUPPORT ANYONE) but it was many afternoons that I used to ‘pull pints’ for people watching the game at Pittodrie?

Hi Marcus,

I have absolutely no interest in sport whatsoever - the only reason I have ever been to Pittodrie was to do my motorbike lessons - the bike school had a container full of motorbikes in one of the car parks, and I got my first few lessons going round the car park (no cars in it) before I was let loose on the road.

Most of the population in Aberdeen has something to do with oil - my brother does the same job offshore as my late husband used to do. All you’ve got to do is look at the general age of the cars on the roads to see the affluence of the area - it’s not the same as when it first started, but there is still a lot of money in the oil industry.

I haven’t heard of Stout Brothers, and I’m not sure what the significance of Vicky Duncan is? But I don’t know much about Dundee, and I’m 37, so maybe I’m the wrong age and from the wrong area to know these things?

I think you’re right, Stout is a common name in Orkney. That was a fair distance to be running all the way along the beach, it must be about 3 miles from end to end? I used to be one of Bobby Watson’s highland dancers (you might have heard of him, he was quite well known in his day, was on The White Heather Club on TV with Andy Stewart) and I was good at it, but we all have things we used to do that we can now no longer do because of this stupid disease.

Luisa x

I used to not get tattooed where it wasn’t easily hidden - my work at the time had a strict uniform and appearance policy, but now I have a job where it doesn’t matter so much, so I have one on the back of my hand and on the back of my neck, they are the most visible of my collection. I’ve never wanted my arms tattooed, but I don’t disagree with other people doing it, each to their own. I have always been a bit different, but now I can be totally me - sequins and feathers are go!

Re being misjudged on your appearance - I think that a lot of misjudging goes along with having a disability and using a visible aid, so it’s always going to happen, and I think that it’s just something we have to expect. Even though I’m now using two sticks or a wheelchair, I still find it difficult to describe myself as disabled - maybe it’s an acceptance thing.

I also never really used to drink much, I would be up dancing on tables or singing karaoke with nothing stronger than lemonade, but I’ve always known who I am and what I can do - nothing I do drunk will not be done sober, I’ve never needed drink to be outgoing, like some people I know, I don’t understand why they can’t just be themselves without alcohol.

You’ll know yourself what type of wheelchair suits you best - I went for a manual one because I need one I can get in and out of the car - they are harder work than you realise though, and on Saturday night I was lucky that my friends are willing and able to push me - I wouldn’t have been able to self-propel to everywhere we went.

L x