I'm using the past tense here, not because the problems have gone away, but because I have some tools at my disposal and because I've become so mindful of my movements and out of necessity, walk very slowly (which usually isn't a bad thing at all). It’s been more than a year since I’ve fallen. I've had some close calls, but with physical supports and mindfulness, I’ve managed to avoid that most unpleasant feeling of taking a tumble without a net.
I started with a cane. Looking back, that was probably the most difficult decision to make, as it signified the first real acknowledgement of disability. At first I used it only when I was out and about. It offers me stability and, as a wise person pointed out to me, it’s a signal to others that I have a physical challenge that isn’t immediately obvious. It was becoming difficult to be in crowds – I get panicky when I feel trapped or when I’m being jostled and the risk of falling greatly increases. Soon I was using the cane most of the time, even in the house.
|Ms. P and I "stroll" around the block|
The point I'm trying to make in this long winded post is how difficult it is to accept disability - and nothing screams disability like canes, walkers and scooters - but once the hurdle is cleared, the tools available to us can improve the quality of life enormously. I could easily become a shut-in. But there's a lot of living to do out there in the world, and I'm so grateful for the tools available to help me do that. And to the people who've encouraged me to take advantage of them and who help make that happen.
Next up: the biggest, fattest tool of all. We get a stair lift installed tomorrow!