I quickly realized that whatever was going on with my back, it was not going away and the cane was not enough support for me to walk. I called Community Care, spoke to the nurse, and was given an appointment with an Occupational Therapist. She immediately had a walker delivered on a trial basis, and did a complete home assessment. I had bars in the tub, a hand held shower, bars beside the toilet, so I was good there.
I was getting around my unit by leaning on the furniture, and sitting whenever I needed. It was summer, so I didn’t venture far, the occasional lunch with friends, trips to the store. Within weeks I had my own walker, in a jazzy deep red with an attached carrying basket. Now I could walk with more support, standing straighter, and if I got too tired, I had a place to sit.
The therapist outlined the other services that were available, but stubborn as always, I resisted. There’s a nice gentleman who lives a few doors away and one day as I was making my way to the car, he commented that I was walking better. My struggle to walk with the cane had not gone unnoticed. He uses a wheelchair for any distance, a quad cane around the house. We had a nice conversation discussing our mobility aids.
Funny, even with the cane I hadn’t really thought of myself as ‘disabled’. I wasn’t ready or willing to make my disability so obvious. Call it pride, vanity, whatever, but it had taken me a long time to be comfortable with the cane, and now I was using a walker.
The only real downfall to the new place is that lack of a hall. Down the hall was where I could find my friends, and down the hall was where the laundry room was located. Not only did I have a good walk to get to my car, I had the same walk to the office building and the laundry.
I’d load my laundry bag on the walker, along with a notebook or a novel, maybe some crocheting, and prepare to sit in the common room until my wash was done. I couldn’t trust that I could do the trip twice if I went home for the hour the dryer ran. The positive note to all of this is that it provided me with an opportunity to meet some of my neighbours.
I also used the walker to get to the car, but once that walker was loaded in the back, I used the cane. I was never walking far, maybe into a restaurant, or into a store where I’d have a cart to lean on. But like the cane so many years before, that walker never left the car.