Pedistrian Crossing

After seven months using her motorized wheelchair, Mom’s confidence is increasing, along with her speed.  Unfortunately, her skill level isn’t keeping pace with her self-assurance.

We’ve learned to live with the wheel-level black scrapes along the hallway wall and the chunks of missing drywall on most of the corners and the gouges in several doors and doorframes throughout the house.  In fact, we’ve repaired the office door – twice – after she’s ripped it from its hinges when she has attempted to maneuver in and out of the room.

We’ve tried to buff out the scratches she’s inflicted on dining room, living room, bedroom, and office furniture.  We’ve covered up abrasions on the black surface of the refrigerator and dishwasher with waterproof magic marker.  We’ve moved heavy desks, buffets and bookcases back onto their designated carpet grooves after she’s crashed into them and shoved them several inches out of place.

We’ve talked repeatedly about getting the interior of the house painted since it’s been well over 20 years since the last coat of Latex was applied.  But, we have to restrain ourselves because we know that within the first month, the pristine surface would be hopelessly marred with scratches, nicks and grooves wherever Mom careened off a wall or door molding.  Not only would this prove to be a colossal waste of several thousand dollars, but it would drive us crazy.

But now, with her newly-found assurance motoring around the house, we’ve come up against a new threat.  Hit and run.

You see, Mom’s wheelchair – The Red Menace – is not only stealthy, with its almost silent electric motor, but it weighs about 300 pounds.  So, when Mom decides the time has arrived to make a bathroom run, she plops into the driver’s seat and guns it, plowing full speed ahead.  She doesn’t look left or right or pay attention to various portals through which an innocent pedestrian might emerge.  And, to make matters worse, she still can’t drive in a straight line.

So, if you’re caught in the foyer or, God forbid, the hallway while The Red Menace is bearing down on you, there’s no guarantee that she’ll be able to safely pass you on the right or left because she’s usually swerving around like a water snake crossing a pond.

This morning, as Bill was emerging from the kitchen for his trek to the office, Mom came speeding into the foyer and almost amputated his leg.

“Mom!” he shouted at her as she hung an abrupt right and lurched down the hall towards her bathroom.

“What?” she shouted back at him.

“You almost took my leg off,” he yelled.  “Watch where you’re going.”

“Sorry,” she called over her shoulder as she sped into her bedroom.  “But when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go!”

We’d like to put in pedestrian crosswalk signs or stop lights around the house but, since she usually only stare at the space roughly 24 inches above her feet, she probably wouldn’t even see them.  Plus it would just give her one more thing to run into.



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