Friday, June 29, 2012

Riding in the Ridey Carts While Shopping

Walt and I both have had the not-so-wonderful need to ride in the ridey carts while shopping of late.  So far, luckily, we have not needed them at the same time.  We have some observations that the as yet non-rider might consider. 

The motorized cart is a moving machine.  A machine.  A MACHINE with a Motor.  When I'm driving it - and I'm 51 years old - with fairly good dexterity - there is a delay between when I notice that you are not paying attention and when I release the "forward" switch and when the machine actually stops moving.  If you are not paying attention you might want to hope that the ridey cart driver is.  You don't have to have a license or insurance to drive the ridey cart.  There are no lessons or practice requirements.  You don't know if that ridey cart driver is a seasoned, experienced driver or a one-time, inexperienced driver because they just had toe surgery.  They don't make you wear a sign that says which you are.  They also don't require a drug test. 

There is no accelerator on the ridey cart.  It goes forward, backwards or stops.  If I am ahead of you and moving I am going as fast as I can go.  And...the carts go much slower than I would normally walk.

The profile of the ridey cart is larger than the shopping cart.  You know when you see one of those big carts with the kid driving the plastic car attached to the cart and Mom pushing?  That's similar to the size of the ridey cart.  It is difficult to turn tight corners and weave around obstacles like people standing in the middle of the aisle gazing at the shelf.  If you are doing that I'm going to have to wait for you to move and that means it holds me up as well as anyone behind me.  I'll probably write another post someday about shopping aisle and sidewalk etiquette but to simplify the concept - keep your cart on the same side of the aisle as you would your car and....if you have to get something across the oncoming traffic side of the aisle make it quick and be aware of your surroundings.

The "horn" on the ridey cart sounds the same as the back up alarm.  If you hear the back up alarm you may want to look around.  It is not loud or invasive so it might be hard to hear it.  We now take our Bear Canned Horn with us when we're going to need the ridey cart.  It is LOUD.  Loud enough to scare off bears so I'm pretty sure it is gonna scare that crap out of a person though I haven't had the opportunity or gotten the guts up to use it yet. 

Don't be surprised if you hear it in a store near you soon because I may just market those puppies to the ridey cart rider community although they are quite the eclectic group so marketing would be a nightmare.  Maybe I could just market it to the ridey cart manufacturers.  Ya...that's what I'll do.

Uh...maybe start a letter writing campaign?  I'm listing the names of some manufacturers at the bottom of this post.  If you are a ridey cart rider, plan to EVER be a ridey cart rider or know someone who IS a ridey cart rider you too have a voice.  Write them a letter and tell them to put a louder horn on the ridey cart (usually referred to as "motorized shopping carts" but I like the term "ridey cart" because that is what my kids called them when they were little.  I still call ducks "Gucks" for the same reason...but I digress).  Huh..just now I went to find the names of the manufacturers and they are primarly in China.  Well, I guess I'm back to marketing them to the ridey cart rider community.

I drive the ridey cart like I drive my car - giving pedestrians the right of way.  Unfortunately, the ridey cart is not quite as responsive as my car and this results in close calls.  It would not result in close calls if I wasn't the only one paying attention to my surroundings.  This is MY approach.  That does not mean ALL ridey cart riders have the same perspective.

If you run into me I am going to give you the stinkeye.   This is because I, most likely, have just "considered" 25 other people by the time you ran into me.  When you are the 26th person who has failed to acknowledge that a moving MACHINE is near you I'm going to be just a little frustrated.  I would like to have a one liner that would educate people during close calls or collisions.  I'm still working on that but not too hard because I'm hoping and planning to not need the ridey cart pretty darn soon.

Yes I DO worry that my butt is going to end up on People Of Walmart while riding the ridey cart but as my daughter Kaycee says, it is more likely that I will land there from melting down crying in the far aisle because I'm so exhausted from shopping.  When I walk in the store I feel fine but 3/4 of the way through I'm on overload and fatigue and pain washes over me.  Several times I've been at the back of the store with a full cart and was so exhausted that I considered leaving it and trying to make my way back to the car.  Those times I had no idea that it was going to happen when I walked in the store.  Like I said, I felt fine when I walked in.  So, so frustrating. 

I've heard of people with CFIDS/FM cutting in line at the cash register when they get like that.  I haven't done that.  Not because I didn't think about it or that it wouldn't help (and believe me it would help) but because I thought trying to negotiate for that consideration would take more energy than just waiting.

If you're ever in line and feeling expansive or empathetic or even empathic consider this:  The person riding the ridey cart is most likely ill or in pain of some sort.  They have just done their shopping having to consider and process all the same things as the ambulatory (walking) person does (ie:  menus, lists, price comparisons, locating items in the store, keeping track of how much they are spending, dealing with fellow shoppers not paying attention to others, smells, sounds, colors, etc.) all the while driving a vehicle that they only drive once or twice a week for an hour or so AND not feeling well.

If you want to make someone smile offer to let a ridey cart shopper cut in front of you in line at the cash register.  They will likely decline out of pride but it will make their day that you offered. There are of course other categories of people that will smile when you do that like the frayed mother who is shopping with her children or perhaps an elderly couple but NEVER, NEVER let a teenager cut in line - unless they are in a ridey cart, of course. 

Peace be with you and all that jazz

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this except for educational purposes without permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Desperately Seeking Kaycee

A quick post addressed to those people who are checking to see how Kaycee is doing:  We know you are there (and thanks for visiting and reading btw).  I told Kaycee she had several people finding my site by Googling her.  She thought she would try to yard up some of the randomness by letting me post her email address on here.  We are not sure it will work but it kind of puts an energy of open- ness out there.  What or who will the universe bring her?

So...if you are wondering how she's doing or what she's doing send her a quick note via email.  Her email address is

Please...only 'nice' emails.  There have been enough hard times of late.  And if you just want to start a dialogue ask her about any airport in the country.  Or ask her to tell you about cats.  Or ask her to tell you about "Dead Like Me".  Or ask her to tell you who Mindy Margerine is.  Or ask her to tell you about Jesus Money.

Peace be with you and all that jazz.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facing Fear

I have had a new challenge of late that has set me back on my heels in the literal sense.  It has forced me to look at what about my body I take for granted.  I have been on Disability for 19 years for a back injury and CFIDS/FM.  During this time I've had periods of being very, very ill to some periods of what I would call "remission' if there is such a thing in the CFIDS/FM spectrum.

I have had constant pain at varying levels and fatigue at varying levels. I have had the elements of my bipolar at play as well but other than just a few notable times where I've suffered an acute injury from a fall I have had complete and trusted access to the use of my legs.

I have something new lately.  I'm telling my doctors, chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist and acupuncurist and their response so far has been universal:  "Hmmm". 

I'm not sure why the response is so...what would you call that...laissez-faire?  I'm weary of trying to decipher the "back story" that explains the odd responses I get from the medical community.  It can be illuminating but quite an effort to figure it all out.

I'm telling them there is something strange going on with my legs and I'm having a hard time swallowing.  My legs feel uncoordinated and floppy except for my quad muscles which are permanantely flexed.  When I walk I feel very unsure of my feet and my legs.  Each step feels very choppy and robotic and the more I walk the worse it gets.

Is this alarming? I'm not sure.  I have been trying to not over dramatize it, especially given the lacksadaisical response I've gotten from my medical care providers, but it has been eating away at my psyche.  Playing doctor a little bit it could be: 1) The disseminated HSV1 has gone somewhere in addition to my lungs. 2) A side effect of the physical therapy I have been getting on my back or 3) multiple sclerosis or a bunch of other equally ominous possibilities.  Or...I could call one of the Indian doctors who treated me in the hospital and they would likely tell me I'm having a panic attack.  (Honestly, I've been casting about trying to produce any explanation that would indeed make it a panic attack.) 

Aloe blooming in the next site over
It turns out - upon close introspection - that I now do not trust my legs.  I am afraid to go walking very far by myself and I'm afraid to go swimming by myself.  I don't have a car most of the time so even going to get the mail or going to the pool on the other side of the Park has seemed daunting.  I am afraid to go swimming because I dont know how my legs will do in the water.

This is all very foreign to me.  I have taken for granted my ability to put one foot in front of the other without thinking about it.  The swallowing issue is freaking me out too but not as much as the leg issue.  So yesterday I decided to face my fear demons and walk no matter how much fear I was feeling.

I walked once around our loop yesterday and once around the whole Park in the middle of the night.  The walking did not get easier, by the time I got back to the RV I was barely moving and just shuffling along but I felt empowered - like I didn't let fear keep me stuck.  Today I walked around the loop twice and around the Park once with the same result. 

The walking test just further enforces to me that I need to invest the energy needed to get at least one doctor to give a shit.  It infused me with strength as I faced yet another fear and overcame it.  I know this about myself - letting fear keep me from progressing makes me crazy.  The noisy message I have to tell myself to keep myself from doing something I know I need to do will drive me literally insane.  If I want to be at peace and have serenity I HAVE to face my fears.

Copyright (c) 2012 - Chardale Irvine.  All rights reserved.  You may not publish or reprint this article without the permission of Chardale Irvine.  Thank you.