The Expense of Maintaining a Power Chair
I know I have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. Having a disability is expensive.
Do others realize how expensive a disability is?
It’s one of the aspects of the disability that is probably not thought about by the able-bodied community. When able-bodied people see us, I tend to think of some of their thoughts.
I imagine them thinking that sucks. They can’t walk, climb steps, drive a car, you know most of the physical stuff. However, I wonder if they ever think about the extra expenses we have to incur because of our disability.
I’ve been using a power scooter since I was 18. At that point in my life, I was still walking pretty well. However, getting around a college campus in Pennsylvania, especially during the winter months, was difficult.
I only used the scooter while at college. When I came home for winter break or summer break, I could still drive a regular car and walk where I needed. My scooter really didn’t get a lot of wear and tear back then.
Expense for scooter repairs or maintenance
Since my early thirties, my scooter has become a part of my daily life. I use it both inside and outside of my home. Like all mechanical things, scooters and power wheelchairs all need routine maintenance and repairs.
I think non-disabled people might say just call your insurance company. Well, sadly they don’t assist with repairs or routine maintenance issues. Those expenses fall on us.
Unfortunately, most disabled people live on a limited income. So when these repairs or maintenance issues come up, it can be a huge financial burden. These Durable Medical Suppliers' hourly rate is on par with what most mechanics charge to fix your car.
Another barrier is that most disabled people don’t have the means to get their scooter or wheelchair to a Durable Medical Supplier. Here comes another charge for pickup service.
They tell you it’ll probably be a week or two for us to order parts and repair your chair. Can we offer you a rental? There is another expense.
The repairs now with the added pickup and drop-off service and rental probably doubled if not tripled your repair bill. This unfortunately is the harsh reality for most disabled people. It’s something that we need to save for because unfortunately, these repairs and maintenance issues are always sneaking upon us.
My scooter recently broke down
My scooter broke down recently in the grocery store. It was a Friday night before a snow event and the store was a madhouse. All of a sudden, right in front of the check-out lanes, my scooter stopped moving.
Luckily my girlfriend was able to push me out to our van. I’m also lucky that I have a manual wheelchair I can use until it’s repaired and we are able to drop it off ourselves.
I started to look at the positives before I let the frustration of the moment get the best of me. I’m grateful that I’m in a position to be able to pay for the repairs needed without it hurting too much. I am equally lucky that I have an amazing partner who will have to push me around until I get my freedom back.
Which emotional aspect of SMA do you find most difficult?