You know, instead of Walker Texas Ranger?
Cane. Walker. Wheelchair. All of these assistive devices feel like defeat to the one using them. If you have a loved one putting up a fight, this is probably why. So, when I went to see my doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last week, I brought this up. One of them, Dr. C., watched me walk without hanging on to anything. Then he had me walk while touching the wall. While holding on to his belt loop. While walking with a walker. He told me that the level of concentration in my eyes went down considerably when I had assistance. So, I won’t look at the walker as if I’ve given up. One wouldn’t really look at me and think, “Oh. She’s given up. How sad.” I’ve already decorated my walker with streamers. And, as the streamers are getting old and tattered, I’m having my grandma Marlene make me some cloth covers to go on the front. I’m going to embrace it, because it helps me considerably. And a wheelchair. My goal now is to replace the chunky wheelchair in the back of our car currently with a—as Dr. R put it—“sexy” chair. This “sexy” chair that I have my eye on is light weight, sized to me, and the metal part of it can be something other than boring-black. The whole idea behind embracing a chair is so that my life is not limited. No, I can’t go to the mall with you, because I can’t do that much walking. No, a museum is out of the question, because you don’t have an opportunity to sit at all. So, I will embrace these more-improved-than-before devices that will help me to live a normal life. And yes, we can be sure that when I get a chair that is not rented, I will TOTALLY make it mine.
So, if you have a loved one resisting assistive devices, help them make it theirs. Make it fun! Remind them of how these things can help them live a more normal life (but what is “normal,” anyway? The psychological question I’ve been asking myself since high school). Not being able to get places is debilitating. Riding in a chair or walking with a walker and then sitting down? One has so much more energy than trying to walk it by themselves!
And to all my friends and family: I will not feel “less than” simply because I use assistive devices. Tell me how cool it is decorated, and don’t stop your kids from climbing up on my walker. I’m okay with it, and I WILL let them go for a little ride. What do you mean it’s not fair that I’m their favorite because I have toys? Hehe.
Keep it real!