How hybrid mobility fuels my life with Pompe disease
Having a variety of mobility aids allows a columnist to adapt and keep moving
I have this recurring dream where I’m driving a sublime green 2015 Dodge Challenger down the Pacific Coast Highway toward the beach. I call it my “I have no muscle” muscle car. It’s trimmed out in light blue with “Pompe Champ” and “Smashing Pompe” printed on the sides and hood. Green is the official color of muscular dystrophy awareness, while blue is one of the Rare Disease Day colors. Because Pompe disease falls under both umbrellas, I can spread awareness as I drive all over Southern California.
Then I wake up from the dream.
The power of hybrid
As I drive to work on a typical Tuesday, I count at least 20 Teslas during my quick 15-minute commute. Everywhere I turn, I see advertisements for electric and hybrid vehicles.
A hybrid vehicle has two sources of energy: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that uses energy stored in batteries. Hybrid vehicles are better for the environment than traditional gas-powered ones, as they produce fewer emissions.
When you’re driving fast in a hybrid vehicle, it uses the gas engine. At slower speeds, or when parked or idling, the electric motor takes over to save fuel. The vehicle uses both energy sources to achieve its best performance. Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular.
As I travel “On the Road to Pompe,” it feels like my body relies on a hybrid mobility due to my late-onset Pompe disease. My energy levels vary daily. Some days, my muscles feel strong, but on others, they feel weaker.
On days when I feel weaker, I might use my hiking stick to walk to my car and to my desk at work. Sometimes I use the hiking stick to help me stay balanced on uneven surfaces. It’s a must-have at places like parks and fields. When I go to the beach, a ski pole helps me walk through the sand and reach the ocean.
Then there are times when I’ll use my electric wheelchair, the “Dolphinator,” to get through the day’s events. The wheelchair allows me to conserve energy and keep my muscles strong for the activity at hand. Hybrid mobility enables me to enjoy life to the fullest.
As I keep my Pompe muscles moving, there are times when no mobility aid is needed. I’ll decide how I want to move each day based on how I’m feeling and the activities I’m doing. This will change from day to day, even moment to moment, so I’m constantly thinking about my mobility and trying to plan ahead.
Just because someone uses a wheelchair doesn’t mean they can’t walk. Sometimes I surprise people when I stand up from my wheelchair to go use the restroom, or park it to walk into a crowded store or get in line at a concession stand at the ballpark.
I have multiple ways to get from point A to point B, and those options keep me on my toes. So look out for the Dolphinator, or a tall guy with a hiking stick on the move. I am living my best Pompe life because my hybrid mobility fuels me.
Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.