Suddenly it was there: the virus. What at first seemed far away, hits Mariëlle totally unexpected seventeen weeks ago. The 46-year-old top fit food coach could not have suspected that she would be sentenced to the four walls of her house by the corona virus for weeks. “While everyone was still allowed to shake hands, I suddenly became ill. But I was in top shape, so the doctor said that I would recover quickly.” That did happened after three weeks, but the recovery didn’t last long. While many were talking about the flu or mild symptoms, the virus hit back twice as hard shortly afterwards.
The start of the rehabilitation
Mariëlle lost her voice for weeks, suffered terrible lung pain and lost all her energy. “Sometimes I texted a friend that I had managed to put my own plate in the dishwasher that day.” Even though walking 500 meters is still the furthest she can go, Mariëlle is improving little by little and is now able to work again. “My wishes became very small. I would already be happy with getting my voice back.” Mariëlle is down to earth and an energetic woman. But in these uncertain weeks, her voice was not the only thing she was afraid of losing. Despite the fear, after nine weeks she decided it was enough. During a conversation with us, she told us how Scoozy helped her recover.
“The walls were closing in on me and I was completely dependent on others. Although my family kindly took over everything, my world had become very small by now. Of course, nobody was allowed to come by and I couldn’t talk so calling someone was not possible either. That’s why I wanted to go outside so badly.”
No more shame
During one night while staring at the ceiling, Mariëlle decided not to hold back. She put her hesitation aside and went looking for a mobility scooter. “I wanted to regain my freedom, think about my happiness and look at the possibilities. The very next day I had a scooter. I was able to walk the dog myself again and to visit my parents.”
In the meantime, Mariëlle had joined a Facebook group of people with similar experiences. That group now has more than fourteen thousand members. Her story has not gone unnoticed. Mariëlle shared her experience at LINDA.nl (Dutch magazine) and EenVandaag (Dutch news television). Mainly because she finds it important to say that everyone can get the coronavirus, even when you are fit and healthy.
The stigma of traditional scooters
Before Mariëlle got sick, she had never heard about Scoozy. “In response to my story, I was asked to try Scoozy during my recovery.” Until that moment Mariëlle, like many others, had suffered from the stigma associated with traditional mobility scooters. “People on the street don’t know how to react. Suddenly it’s for real and they see you as a sick person.” Her friends’ reactions also often shifted from laughing to almost crying. “A young woman in a mobility scooter, that’s just not right. That’s why I started driving with Job from Scoozy.”
“When I was riding in Scoozy, people almost fell off their bikes to see what was passing them so fast. I made a big impression with my bleeping sounds, moving wheels and the speed in which I was driving by.”
Mariëlle admits that she had to get used to the joystick control. That is quite different from the steering wheel of a scooter. But she likes a challenge. “The next day, I immediately turned Scoozy in the fastest position,” she says with a huge smile on her face. When she had some trouble with the joystick, she picked up her old scooter again. But she could not get used to it at all. The old scooter had become to slow for her. Besides, with Scoozy she was able to go to the forest and ride long distances. “I remember thinking back and thought: I have my life back.” The reactions were suddenly very different, Mariëlle noticed. “When I was riding in Scoozy, people almost fell off their bikes to see what was passing them so fast. I made a big impression with my bleeping sounds, moving wheels and the speed in which I was driving.”
How Scoozy helped recover
By far the biggest difference for Mariëlle was the change in mentality. “I’ve been stuck in my own house for nine weeks. Being dependent on others doesn’t suit me at all. Scoozy has played a big role in my recovery. I felt much better when I suddenly had the feeling of freedom again. It made me feel human again.” Fortunately, Mariëlle is improving everyday and she has switched from Scoozy to an e-bike. She can now look forward to the future. What she would like to say to others? “I hope that the stigma will be removed. That a lot more young people will discover how wonderful it is to be able to transport yourself again despite illness or handicap and how much fun Scoozy can give you.”
“I hope that the stigma will be removed. That a lot more young people will discover how wonderful it is to be able to transport yourself again despite illness or handicap and how much fun Scoozy can give you.”