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Coming to Terms

There is a certain difficulty in coming to terms with a disability.  Where, in my 20’s, I could participate in Bi-Athlons and run 3 miles followed by 20 miles of bike riding, to now, in my 50’s, where I can’t run a single step and all of my walking is predicated by me pre-determining each single step.  It’s not an easy  adjustment to admit this as the progression was very slow and almost unnoticeable to many of my family and friends. 

I am blessed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, an inherited disease where my legs don’t function as my brain would normally dictate.  The motor control of my legs is disrupted with very, very small tremors to my legs and each step that I take is a thought out, predicated process.  Running is impossible.  But to my advantage my case is very minor compared to those with HSP who are wheel-chair bound and require Baclofen pumps to control the tremors.  I inherited this through my French-Canadian mother.

The disease travels through French-Canadian mothers into their children.  My mom was one of thirteen and had two brothers who were afflicted so much that they became totally disabled.  Again, my case is relatively minor where I can still walk without a cane for short distances. 

My family, my wife and two children, had made many trips to Orlando Disneyworld and Universal Studios in the late ‘90s into the early 2000’s.  Each time we went on vacation it was harder and harder for me to walk the miles necessary to participate.  In early 2016 we planned out another “anniversary” trip to Orlando and my wife had rented me a typical scooter that we would take to the parks each day for my transportation.  Issues arose as first the scooter was heavy, had less than necessary battery power, and lastly left me feeling truly handicapped as people frequently would step directly in front of the scooter as if my motion was an afterthought to their day.  Mostly the typical scooter leaves you at wheel-chair height, feeling truly handicapped and somewhat lesser of a functioning human being.

The last thing that I wanted to think about after the 2016 Orlando vacation ordeal was purchasing a scooter for my personal use.  I was resigned at the age of 53 to just living out my life and eventually using a cane and then a walker to get around.   My persistent wife, Katherine, studied the market for available options and came across the Triad CSX.  She pitched to me the differences between the Triad scooter and typical scooter.  The Triad would leave me sitting around head-height to other folks walking head height and it had a more robust battery/power system.  

So I finally “came to terms” by buying a Triad CSX.  It allows me to be mobile at work and home with the same head-height as the adjacent walking folks, has a battery that last for 20 miles, and has three power settings so that I can get up inclines as steep as 17 degrees.   I am an aerospace design engineer and use it mostly at work to get around the manufacturing plant where my progressive disability had limited my mobility over the years.  I think that the ability of the Triad CSX to leave a person in an “upright” position is a big advantage for folks who are on the edge of admitting that they need mobility assistance.


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