Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Replace or Refurbish?

It's a very old scooter, at least as those things go. My dad got it after his hip replacement surgery, or at least one of them. Medicare paid. If I had to guess, it might be 30 years old. And it's a monster. None of this coming apart into polite, light little pieces. You can remove the wire basket, seat and batteries, but what's left is still heavy. It takes two to load and unload, and once in the car, it's wide enough to take a lot of space. But it's a workhorse.

Once my dad deteriorated enough that he needed company on his scooter treks, but still enjoyed them as outings, we picked up a second one so whoever went with him could (nearly) keep up. This one is modern, no piece over 30 pounds, and just doesn't quite have the speed of the old one.  But no matter, it still works. And we learned to tape down the speed control on Daddy's scooter to limit his top speed.

When Steve and I honeymooned in Arizona, both scooters came along in the back of the car. It made some of our plans bearable and possible. Without dogs along, both fit. And with both of us to lift and assemble, things were fairly smooth. When I left him in Sun City last winter without a car, the old workhorse took him nearly everywhere he really needed, in range of 3 community centers, the grocery store, pharmacy, bank, and a lovely little Mexican restaurant.

But it got glitchy. Many times it quit on the way home, requiring Steve to push it or get a push. Not helpful. It began to shock him when he touched the key. Not the kind of transportation he needed. It came home with us last spring, and he switched over to the newer scooter for excursions in this neighborhood, including the 4 mile round trip bike trail. At least here there is a car available in the evenings and on weekends, making fishing possible, along with shopping.

Our first thought was to get Steve his own new scooter, courtesy of Medicare. But his (now former) doctor nixed that after sending him on a runaround to get the proper one ordered, which is the main reason she's now his former doc. The plan had been that then we'd offer the old one up on Craig's List cheaply so somebody else could refurbish it. Now it looked like we'd be the ones doing the refurbishing.

The local (18 miles away) scooter store has a repairman they work with. We got on the list, meaning about a week wait. Thinking the batteries might be dying, we took them to the Battery Store to be replaced, but they tested fine after a night's charging. That saved about $200 from the anticipated cost.

Last night the repairman showed up. He took about an hour working on it. A couple loose connections were corrected and a pinched wire fixed. The piece causing the shock through the key was moved back a tad, being too close to the key, or the key being too long for it. Whichever.  I had feared a whole new wiring harness would be required, and hadn't even wanted to estimate the cost, just hoping it was less than a new scooter. As it turned out, is was less. Much less. It all came in under the $75 minimum for his house call.


And Steve started a conversation with him about other items which might be available to make life easier, more accessible.  I jumped in near the end to discuss options for camping after I retire, when we want to do some traveling while we still can, especially when Sun City is the main address and we're looking to escape the summer heat, see mountains, visit family. They are available, but we need to decide just what we'll be using before we decide what's needed.

Meanwhile, Steve will have a scooter he can depend on for Sun City living, and I'll have one to get me through the airports when I fly in and out and we both have no car down there, as in Christmas this year.

And a final piece of good news: Steve got directed to physical therapy, a new and much better therapist this time, and has been doing his exercises faithfully. His knee pain has gotten so much better that he's quit taking the "good stuff", those heavy duty pain pills. One day he stood up wrong and needed pain meds again but made it through with Tylenol. That's all.


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