Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Easy Shopper

I was talking to my mom the other day, and she told me that she "didn't want to be considered disabled". Now my mother is eighty six years old, she still drives, lives alone, and her mind and her eyes are as clear as when she was twenty six. Her problem is her knees, they are apparently worn out. The fact that she carried eleven children for nine months each, then again for months after they were born, might have something to do with that.

Today I went grocery shopping with Mark for the first time since my foot surgery. I instructed him to take us to the 'big' Publix supermarket, because they have the electric carts that I always see obese people riding around in. After he dropped me off at the front entrance, I hobbled in and grabbed one of the electric carts. After a few starts and stops and a close call with an old mans foot, I was on my way through the store. So this is what it is like to be crippled, I thought, as I zipped by elderly ladies slowly making their way through the aisles with the aid of only a cane or walker. Each one seemed to be giving me the evil eye as I passed them, probably saying to themselves, "what a wimp".

Shopping from only three feet off the ground is a totally different experience than I am used to. For one thing you can't see the overhead signs until you get all the way to the end of the aisle, this required me to double back more than once. It's funny how much of an ass you can make out of yourself doing a U-turn in a grocery store aisle, and nobody says anything because you are 'handicapped'.

The people who put these places together are definitely marketing to a different crowd at the three foot level. In the cereal aisle I was suddenly aware of all the sweetened, fruit flavored, cereals that are packaged like a child's comic book, with all sorts of come-ons that no four year old can resist. One thing that I did notice at that level, is that a lot of the products are cheaper than the big name equivalents higher up the shelves.

I hope that the last two weeks aren't a harbinger of things to come a few years down the road. I, like my mom, don't want to end up 'disabled'. It clearly cuts into your independence, and being unable to get out to a nice tavern on a Friday night would make me crazy. I think I'm going to start saving for that expensive wheel chair I told Dennis I would get some day. The one with the seat that lifts you up to the same level as everybody else at the bar


  1. Post Script to this post.
    While searching for the right photo to illustrate this story, I discovered 'wheelchair porn'. Disgusting and perverted. I only clicked on three pictures before I realized what kind of filth I was looking at. (and besides it was hetero stuff)

  2. Now that's the chair I was talking about; it will get your butt right up to the bar and even a little higher to see what's happening on the other side of the room.
    As far as shopping, you went along just to ride in the power chair. Mark has been doing the shopping for years and I am sure he would have done just fine on his own.
    Did you wipe off the seat before sitting down? The stores in California provide wipes at the front door to clean up the carts and/or your hands.

  3. Alan and his never ending new experiences. At least we all may have something to learn from his experiences.

    I have seen other wheelchairs that go up and down stairs and others that lift you to a standing position.

    If I were you I would save for one of those electric 3 wheeled scooter chairs. Wheelchairs will make you look disabled the scooters will make you look like you are just going for a ride.

  4. Could your mom have knee replacement? If she is healthy in every other way she could most likely be a good candidate. I am glad to hear she can still drive, but should she? Just wondering if she is still as sharp as she used to be. There are so many elderly that should have there license's taken away.

    You seem to be recovering well and quickly, so don't worry. You will be shopping as usual in no time.

    I have seen several stores that now provide wipes to clean the shopping cart handles, etc. Great idea.

  5. No Russell.... she should absolutely not be driving. I had a near death experience in 1992 while driving with her and haven't let her drive me anywhere since! I can only imagine it has gotten worse!
    (name withheld for obvious reasons;)

  6. Alan's Mom would NEVER have elective surgery!!! She should have had her knees replaced many years ago but would never do it. And with the SEVERE pain she has in her legs, it definitely makes driving a danger. All those older people whose foot "slipped off the brake" probably also suffer the same condition.

  7. Has your mom ever considered living with one of her children? Does she have one of the Med-Alert buttons to wear around her neck in case of an emergency? Does anyone call her daily to she how she is doing? She seems like a strong woman. The longevity genes are definately with her.

  8. Our Mom could/would never live with one of her kids! She had a hard enough time at my house when she was recuperating from surgery years ago! While some call her, MB stops by and is the one who keeps closest tabs on her. Which is why, when her phone is off the hook, MB gets in her car to check!! I'm not sure she'd go along with a Med-Alert might make her look "disabled"!

  9. You guys should get her one of those necklaces whether she wants it or not. Just leave it at her house and let her warm up to it. I wish my mom had had a Med-Alert when she was going through a heart attack.

  10. Who wants to see Alan in that last chair that raises up? I do...and in the same pose and outfit. teehee