I'm Brooke, and I need a wheelchair for my migraines.
I know, that sounds ridiculous, right? But I have chronic migraine, and a particularly shitty case of it, which means:
- I have a headache 24/7 and a migraine headache 25 days a month
- I have a lot of fatigue all the time as a result
- And the main reason: if I walk more than a block, my head pain gets drastically worse on the spot, and then I spend the next 2-3 days in bed with worse pain than usual, and sometimes wind up in ER because I need IV meds to break the worsening pain cycle. This does not encourage one to walk, as you can imagine.
So my world has been shrinking. A lot. These days I leave the house once or twice a month, mostly for blood tests. Being homebound is depressing, it's isolating, and most of all it is SO BORING.
Here I am, missing traffic cones. Or... being a traffic cone? Did I mention I don't get out much?
ANYWAY. I like naps, but this is ridiculous. I would like to leave the house. I would like to go out to the park with my son. I would like to be able to get to the food bank, which is only 8 blocks away but it's up a big hill so it might as well be on Mars. I would like to be able to ride transit without expecting to spend three days in bed paying for my hubris. I would like to not have to worry that I will be surprised by my evil nemesis, A Slightly Long Hallway, when I visit a new doctor. I would like to be able to just... go to the grocery store and buy milk if I run out.
Up until now I've been trying to make things work with a cane and then a walker, but they are not cutting it anymore.
(Despite their excellent sticker game. You tried, guys!)
Recently I had the chance to try out a mobility scooter, and it was AMAZING. I went to the skytrain and back (a mighty voyage of 4 blocks) and I wasn't exhausted or clutching my head in agony. I just about burst into tears on the occupational therapist.
But! I am on disability/welfare and it would take me a long, long, long time to save up the money for one. Meanwhile, trying to convince the welfare agency to buy me a mobility aid is an uphill battle. Literally, because their office is at the top of a hill that's too steep for me to walk up anymore. But also figuratively, because my disability is migraine, and that does not fit into the little ticky boxes on their decision tree very well. Meanwhile, the only scooters they are willing to consider funding are big heavy workhorses, which don't fit in my front hall. I'd have to take the bathroom door off the hinges and drive the scooter out into the building hall to do my laundry. A wheelchair would fit! But because I can walk at all, I don't qualify for one.
So here's what WOULD really improve my life: a folding power wheelchair. Not only would it actually fit in my apartment, a folding model would let me take it a lot more places, and specifically would make it a lot easier to see my parents / Greg's grandparents. And they make really cool ones now! I want to get a Travel Buggy City 2 Plus, which gets great reviews, and is from a company in Canada with authorized service people in my city who I've actually met and could come rescue me if I'm out shopping and the glompenspring breaks. (I assume it has glompensprings. This is a reputable company.) There are cheaper chairs out there, but they kind of look like a cardboard cut-out of a wheelchair taped to a remote control car. This one I think is the sweet spot between "not too janky" and "not the price of a lamborghini." Okay and also "not the price of a used Toyota."
WHAT WILL THIS MONEY GO TOWARD?
- The wheelchair! I mean that's most of it, it's $4,000 to start with.
- Rainy day rescue fund: money set aside for an extra battery or one unexpected service call. Also a wheelchair umbrella for literal rainy days.
- Accessories that are a very good idea: safety straps, safety flag, bag to protect it in transit, a backpack that attaches to the seat, a holder for my cane, etc.
- Accessories that are bad ideas: upgrade to the slime green seat and add a safety pizza.
I'm just kidding, obviously I already own a safety pizza:
However, I WOULD use some of the money to buy a real pizza to feed whatever able-bodied friend I can convince to come over on delivery day to help wrestle it out of the crate.
HYPOTHETICALLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
ARE THERE DONATION REWARDS?
Oh man, I wish I had the money and energy to do something neat to say thank you! But if I did I... probably wouldn't need help buying a wheelchair. But I tell you what, email me your mailing address ( brookeoclock at gmail ) and I will send you a postcard saying thank you! Or with a doodle of an eyeball and a game of tic-tac-toe I lost against the cat! No promises about which.
WILL THIS MEAN YOU COME TO CONVENTIONS AGAIN?
I am hoping this means I can take the trash out again. I miss all my convention pals so, so much, but honestly that is not a realistic goal for me right now.
I WOULD LIKE TO HELP BUT I AM ALSO BROKE
Oh my gosh, take care of yourself first! It's been a financial trashfire for everyone the last few years, and believe me I understand from broke.
WILL YOU MAKE VROOM VROOM NOISES LIKE A TODDLER WHEN YOU DRIVE THE WHEELCHAIR?
Yes. Yes I will.
BROOKE CAN YOU BE SERIOUS FOR ONE MINUTE?
Okay real talk, humour is how I cope because it's that or live in a tragic work of Russian literature. But this really does mean a lot to me. Migraine has stolen my music from me, my career from me, and now my friends and family and the outside world from me. This would give some of it back and I cannot tell you how exciting and wonderful it would be to have this be a "YES" in a world that has been saying NOPE to me a whole lot. If you are able to help, I appreciate it so much. Thank you.
- Juli Mallett
- Sibylle Machat
- Laura Davidson
New Westminster, BC