Hell on Wheels – My Trip to the Grocery Store While One-Legged

July 16, 2019

Hell on Wheels – My Trip to the Grocery Store While One-Legged


Tonight’s report from the foot surgery front is a tale of grocery store adventure and gratitude.

It’s my 5th foot surgery, but the first time I’ve been sentenced to be completely off my foot, with no weight on it, for almost two months. I’ve been saying “just call me Crutches and Knee Scooter Kim”. All the other times, I’ve had a big ol’ black surgical boot.

I need to start getting out and about, and did a test run today. A quick run to the grocery store, with the crutches instead of the knee scooter. I was figuring to crutch into the store and grab a scooter, or “grocery store go-cart”, as I’m calling it.

I was Hell on Wheels, my friends!

My view from the grocery store go-cart, crutches sticking out awkwardly on the side

I have some observations from driving the go-cart at the grocery store:

  • There are many things you can’t reach, such as bags for fruits and vegetables, most of which were placed up high (although I should have remembered to bring my own bags and not used plastic)
  • Everyone seems to be on their phone, standing right in front of whatever it is you need, and oblivious, even the people who work there
  • Conversely, when people do notice you waiting (patiently), they couldn’t be kinder; people truly want to help you
  • It’s kind of fun to zip down the aisles at full speed
  • People go out of their way to get out of your way when they see you coming (sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!)
  • You have to be careful with the crutches sticking out of the cart, or you can accidentally take out the cereal aisle
Not my disaster… but I came close!
CREDIT:MICHAEL DARDEN, Goshen News, Goshen, IN, from a natural disaster in Hawaii
  • The grocery store go-cart turns on a dime; you can easily do a 180° turn in the middle of an aisle
  • The RED-ALERT-WE’RE-BACKING-UP! sound is really loud
  • It would all be better with a rearview mirror

With only six weeks of being semi-ambulatory, I can view all this as an adventure, but I’m a lucky one. My consciousness has been raised about those whose every trip to the grocery store is a challenge, and I really appreciate the Americans with Disabilities Act. We should do more to ensure that people who are physically challenged can have an equal experience. Period.

Something marvelous happened. I was humbled and grateful when, after driving the go-cart to my car, retrieving the crutches from its basket and creaking-crutching slowly over to open my Honda Pilot’s hatchback, a man offered to put my groceries in the car for me. He had a prosthetic leg. He had been on crutches for more than a year after a car accident until he was able to utilize the new leg. He had true compassion for my blessedly temporary situation, and we had a meaningful 1-minute conversation.

My helper’s name was Phil. Thank you, Phil, and as I said in the parking lot, I know your kindness will be reflected back upon you.

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