“This Bad Boy gets me where I want to go…”
I was paralyzed at the age of 17, gunshot accident, I know it sounds like the opening sentence of what could be a very short story. Or perhaps more likely the beginning of a self help book entitled [hooray for me hooray for you]. But it’s neither of those things, it’s just a statement of fact I was shot when I was 17 years old. That’s an odd time of life, not adult, not child, just raging adolescent sure of everything and knowing nothing. Although I don’t suppose any particular time in life is ideal to be shot. But there you are, statement of fact, and now at the age of 71 simply ancient history. Something that might produce a slight tilt of the head and a wistful smile at the memory.
My life has always been active and full of adventure. I’m not a “girly girl”. I love being outdoors, riding my horse, deer hunting, riding my four wheeler, shooting my pistols or my Nikon camera.
My profession of 38 years as a Beautician, a Stock Broker…livestock, horse trainer/trader, then I went to the dogs. We have a very large kennel in southern Illinois where we raise Designer Dogs. We prefer the herding breeds crossed with the Poodles to get the non-shedding hair coat from the Poodle and the intelligence from the herding breeds. I worked 7 days a week, did it all, cleaned the kennels, whelped the puppies, ran the web site, did the sales…my gift is being able to sell ice to an Eskimo!
I began to notice my right foot dragging, my balance was off, I was tripping and stumbling more than usual, there were spells of vertigo, all of this was disturbing.
I was planning a big riding trip out west with my oldest granddaughter and some friends…it never happened! I ended up having brain surgery instead, followed by 7 weeks of radiation and physical therapy. I survived that go around and my new normal was impaired use of my right side, especially my hand, and my ability to walk normally, but I could walk!
Fast forward three and a half years, lots of MRI’s, a Gamma Knife surgery, and there I sat with my Doc telling me I’d best go home get my affairs in order because the tumor was back bigger and badder then before and pretty much beyond his skill level. That was not the end of my story, obviously, A good friend found a place in Pennsylvania called UPMC a WORLD CLASS Hospital with a miracle working surgeon who performed an 11 hour surgery that did indeed save my life and has given me 3 more good years!
Yes, I did lose more mobility, can’t expect them to mess around in your brain and not come away without some deficits. We were able to winter in Arizona, then buy a house and move full time to Patagonia. I had looked at the TerrainHopper 6 years ago before you could buy one in the US. I actually bought a lesser mobility scooter back in the beginning, it wasn’t worth much for getting off-road. When we moved to Arizona I began to search in earnest for a mobility machine that would get me out of my driveway! We have gravel and my motorized wheelchair won’t even go through the gravel…I felt trapped.
I emailed TerrainHopper to see if they shipped to Arizona. Todd answered back right away and told me they were located in Phoenix…a mere 3 hour drive! I felt like it was meant to be and immediately made an appointment to go up and try one out…I already knew I would buy one before I even tried one.
I placed my order the same day, “The Purple Pony” that’s what I named my TerrainHopper, was under way, it only took them 6 weeks to get my machine to me. Todd kept me informed every step of the way…he and his team are GREAT to work with. They offered advice on what accessories I needed based on my personal mobility needs. After watching me getting on and off the TerrainHopper they were able to recommend special adjustments for the seat and foot brace.
Now that The Purple Pony is sitting under my car port I could not be more thrilled with it. This Bad Boy gets me where I want to go…for starters it gets me out of the driveway, it crunches thru the gravel with ease! We do the dry wash, by we I mean “Splash” my Service Dog and I, he heels on the right side of the TerrainHopper. I opted for the 2 to 4 mph speed for the dogs sake and for when we go back to S. IL ,to visit, I can go trail riding with the grand kids on their horses. We can do the steep hills, the washes, or take a tour around town, this baby hops the curbs with ease. If we want to stop at the park for lunch I just pull up to the end of the picnic table, put up a handle bar, rotate my seat, and I’m ready to eat my lunch. If I want to head out to the BLM for an afternoon of target practice, with my pistol, I just load up my gun/ammo, in my carry bag, and head out. The TerrainHopper has given back my independence and freedom to be me again…this is my new normal!
— Kris, Arizona