Katie Troy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, and she strives for optimum health and independence with a well-planned diet and a positive outlook. Katie is whip-thin with arm muscles like steel cords, and she is always encouraging others even as she navigates the world in an electric wheelchair. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns Last Wednesday I decided to leave the senior center around 5 o’clock and go to Walmart to look at some frames for glasses. I need two pairs – one for reading and one pair for distance. I can not and will not get bifocals or trifocals. They would make me dizzier than I already am.
So I looked to buy a pair from the kid’s section for $9. Pretty good deal! After looking at the glasses, I went cruising around the store in my wheelchair to see what else there was.
Well, a man in an electric wheelchair captured my attention when I heard him yell, “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” “Sure,” I answered.
“How do you push the shopping cart with your wheelchair?” he continued.
“I don’t use a cart,” I told him. “I just put everything on my lap.”
We began talking and he told me his legs were taken off from a train accident over forty years ago when he was nine years old. What I found unusual was that he had not had the chair very long because he was only recently diagnosed as “handicapped.”
He went to school, worked, and had a family, all with no legs for over forty years and no appropriate wheelchair. What is wrong with our healthcare system? I’m on my third chair in 10 years. The chair I have now I just got Monday.
The man’s name was Roger, and I also found out that he has diabetes, can hardly see, and is overweight. I started telling him about eating healthy and using vinegar and coconut oil. I gave him some of my cocktail and he liked it.
I told Roger about the Norwalk Senior Center and its many activities, and urged him to come and talk with me there, and maybe join a class or two. After talking more with Roger I found out that he was afraid to ride in his chair for fear that the battery would die and he wouldn’t be able to get home.
I really do hope that Roger comes to the senior center so I can give him more information and books to read.
Jesus has been good to me, and I believe that the reason I’m in a wheelchair is that it is my purpose in life to cruise the streets and tell people about eating healthy and not taking medication. When I attend the American Cultures class at the senior center, I bring bananas to share instead of toxic donuts. I also tell people to watch out for GMO’s – genetically modified organisms.
I know that Roger can’t get his legs back, but I could help him become healthier, and more knowledgeable about eating the right foods. He could lose weight and maybe control his diabetes and get off medication. I hope I see Roger again.
Editor’s note: Last week’s story, “Riding the Buddy Seat,” misspelled the author’s name. Her name is Loie Tannehill.
Published: April 10, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 52