*Update* Mountain Medical has offered to provide a loaner scooter to Bob on Friday after he's been assessed. "People always step up," says Debra Powell. "Yay for the City of Kamloops!"
— Sylvie Paillard
An impoverished and brain-injured disabled man has been trapped in his tiny one-room apartment since his scooter broke down in February. And as the process of getting a new scooter drags from weeks into months, he's asking the community for help with a donated or loaner scooter before he completely falls apart.
On Feb. 14, Bob Pattenden's Medichair was hauled away after it died in front of his doctor's office.
Since then, he's stayed alive only by the grace of the 12 neighbours in his low-income building, who have been bringing him food and tobacco.
Pattenden's left leg is nearly useless and it used to take all his effort just to reach his scooter.
"I'd have to crawl to the store to get something," he said.
Despite his neighbour's help, the isolation, lack of exercise and fresh air is causing him to despair.
"I feel like I'm falling apart," he said.
Pattenden lives in an alcohol- and drug-free North Kamloops building that houses 13 tenants who are all physically or mentally challenged and impoverished.
He's given his landlord, Debra Powell, authority to advocate for him. She said she's been witnessing his fast deterioration.
"His entire life is his scooter," she said. "But it doesn't seem to matter what Bob's personal situation is."
He is booked for a home visit from an occupational therapist on Friday, which led him to believe he was getting a new Medichair.
But he just learned that appointment is merely to assess whether he's in need of a scooter - despite having had one for the past seven years, being on disability assistance and possessing a doctor's note stating he needs one.
Now he's being told it could be six months until he is mobile again.
"I can die faster than what they can do," he said.
An Interior Health spokesperson said an occupational therapist evaluates Medichair clients to determine the best kind of scooter for their needs.
"Clients who have previously had scooters but need a replacement may require a reassessment to determine if the previous scooter is still most appropriate for him or her," said Tracy Watson, IH communications officer.
All clients are assessed based on priority of their conditions, said Watson, "not unlike an Emergency Room, in which the sickest patients are seen first."
Pattenden acknowledges that his former scooter was too small for him.
But the length of time it's taking is hazardous to Pattenden's health, said Powell. And contact with his occupational therapist has not helped with interim options.
That may change once the assessment is complete since the next step in the process is when personal circumstances come into play.
"For example, if there is a request for financial assistance, a social worker would advocate for the client and help determine the best funding alternatives," said Watson.
Powell isn't optimistic after seeing how social services deals with her tenants.
Each one is linked to some form of social support system, yet Powell said she's never seen a worker at her building since she purchased it seven years ago.
"No one comes to see Bob," she said. "I get to the point sometimes where I can't stand to see what I see."
She and Pattenden hope someone in Kamloops can spare a scooter for the period of time it takes for him to get a new one.
Anyone willing to help is asked to contact the building's assistant caretaker, Cheryl Robertson, at 250-376-4767.