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Embarrassed to use a cane

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Offset Entity, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

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    Lately ive been having a really rough time and ive had been having moments where i feel like a cane would be a big help and make me feel more physically secure/stable but at the same time im really embarrassed to use one at this point in my life. im in my 20s and dont look sick and ive recently done pretty strenuous things while i was at my best but now i feel like im closer to my worst and would really like a cane.

    I Used a cane when i broke my foot a while back and i was actually able to get around easier with a cane and a broken foot than with no cane and 2 good feet! it was just less tiring to have it right there to lean on and support some weight when i walked.

    But like i said im really embarrassed to try using one now. i guess I feel like if i do to much or get too much help ill be put in a healthy or unhealthy box in peoples minds.

    Do any of you guys use a cane for CFS symptoms? what has it been like for you?
     
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  2. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    The other side.
    Forget a cane, or walking stick - too unstable if you're using it to help balance and/or prevent falls.

    Go straight to a crutch, much more stable, come in. and can be used in, pairs, if you're having a bad day and absolutely have to go somewhere, or singly if more able - and weirdly, more acceptable if you're young.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  3. Tammy

    Tammy Senior Member

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    I love my walking stick............people tell me how cool it looks all the time.
     
  4. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    I am not using a cane, but In the beginning of me using a mobility scooter, i was worried of what people would think of me using a scooter. Then I found out that people were more empathetic because I was sitting in a scooter. Then i got ankle surgery, and having a cast on made people even kinder.

    If you feel that you need a device to make your life easier, so be it. Use one and do not worry about what others will think. It wll be ok.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  5. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

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    Thanks for the support guys. Next time i feel like i could use it im gonna go for it! I thnk im also going to look into a folding one i could keep in my bag so i can go out without holding a cane but still have it available in case i over do it.

    -Wonko Thank you for the suggestion but i think my description of why it would be helpful was poor. im a little foggy right now and having trouble describing some things but a walker/crutch would be overkill for me 99% of the time
     
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  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    The other side.
    Seems sensible, I used a folding stick for a few years until I got fed up with falling over or wrenching joints, straining things in an attempt not to - but for a while it was okay.

    I also didn't realise when I posted that you're in the US - things may be a little different over there. In the UK if you use a stick you're old/disabled, if you use crutches and you're younger it's perceived as you just like a bit too much of a good time, sports etc and have damaged yourself temporarily.
     
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  7. AndyPandy

    AndyPandy Making the most of it

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    @Offset Entity I found it took me a little while to get used to using mobility aids out in public. It just wasn't how I had pictured myself - previously youthful, fit, active and healthy.

    Even though I am older than you I am still "young" to be using them. Some people have even said that to me when I'm out and about!

    The thing is I really do need them if I want to get out of the house (and sometimes in the house). They give me options, help me not to overdo it and help keep me safe from falling over or collapse. I'd certainly rather I didn't have to use them but my reality is that I do.

    My current suite of aids includes a sparkly walking stick, a walking frame with a seat and a wheelchair.

    I hope you can find a way to feel more comfortable using mobility aids. I found that the more I used them the less I worried about how I looked or what others thought.

    Best wishes Andy
     
  8. All of us are different with this illness, so I can only speak for *my* issues :)

    THis illness is a DEVASTATING blow to our inner self.
    Personally I literally fought for much of my young life to be left in peace, to be "me" so developed a huge mix of "chip on shoulder size of the Rock of Gibraltar" :p and absolutely determined to be "be myself and fight to the death for my self identity"
    Which means that being a fat blamange' who's most extreme physical capability now is putting some garbage out, and that at extreme cost and pain, is utterly obnoxious and foul to be reduced so low.

    So, the idea of using a cane, to keep some of one's dignity I most assuredly DO understand!
    What dignity we have left is vitally important to us.

    I used to look after my mother, who due to spinal injury had to spend a lot of her life in a wheelchair or walking very carefully with a cane for short distances.
    I never "looked down" on disabled folk, you just realize its one of those damnable things that happen to folk, and my Mum's courage and what she managed to achieve were remarkable :)
    But, unlike those damnable fake "Oh disability is wonderful!" bullshit the media keeps touting nowadays, I saw the cost, the suffering it brought her.
    But not until I got this bloody illness did I understand truly the full depths of the frustration, the humiliation and indignity.

    A cane is recognized symbol of infirmity, and lacking that acceptance of genuinely disability is something that burns like acid in most of us, I think.
    Folk are right, a cane isn't really that much use compared to say, a folding "zimmer frame", but the psychological issue, ironically, in this instance *is* important for us. None of like being so reduced in capacity, it is grossly demeaning.
    A cane is "dignified infirmity", it excuses one socially for slow, careful movement.
    Social issues and dignity are extremely important to us.

    one of the great advantages of a zimmer frame is you kind of collapse onto it if need be when utterly worn.
    Canes and crutches require great care n how and where you place them! It is too easy to have them swept out form under you on a slick or unstable surface.
    Never EVER use a cane or crutches in ice and snow!


    I have found, because of the neuropathy which is specifically extremely bad in my feet, that I am best wearing thick socks, NOT shoes, because with socks I can still feel some pressure etc I can keep my footing easier than I can with shoes which block all sensations and that can make my sense of balance even worse.
    Likewise a cousin with diabetic neuropathy wears very thing soled slippers at home.
     
  9. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member

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    I don't use one myself but if I saw a young person using one, I would just think they need it, even if they don't look sick. There is no shame in that.
     
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  10. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    @Offset Entity I feel much the same as you. I keep wondering 'when will I feel like I'm badly off enough to justify using a walking stick?' when I could really do with one in my current state (i.e., pretty much all the time).

    When I was younger and before becoming so obviously chronically ill with an invisible illness, seeing a younger person with a cane/walking stick simply made me more alert to their needs in public spaces, rather than thinking badly of them. It's so silly that my brain is empathetic towards others, but not to myself. I guess that's what happens when we're societally conditioned to place youth and health and 'working hard' on a pedestal. (I'll avoid discussing my dislike of capitalism and the existing western kyriarchy here. :p heh.)

    We're sick and our lives are already difficult enough without also worrying about what the broader community will think of us. We should use whatever physical aids we need to make our lives easier.

    And having just said that, I'm going to buy a folding walking stick this week and start using it straight away.

    Thank you for posting about this. I hope you gain the confidence, or sheer force of will, to use a cane with absolute impunity. :star:
     
  11. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

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    I feel so much more confident about the idea of using a cane after hearing from all you. Ive been having trouble getting around today so i found the old cane and started using it this afternoon/evening and it does feel more comfortable getting around. Im going to buy a lighter/folding one later this week so i can use it more often.
     
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  12. Dainty

    Dainty Senior Member

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    I used to use a cane. I found hiking poles work better for me. They assist with balance, my legs have more support, and people give me space! ;)

    Also my hands don't need to grip them as hard as a cane, because of the strappy thingie.
     
  13. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member

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    I wish I had got mobility aids sooner and used them more. If someone does look askance at you (it can happen, sigh) you can explain ME or just say rheumatoid arthritis or MS which most people understand. You don't have to be ashamed of a small lie, we have a hard illness.

    As said, using a stick will mean people will leave you more space and understand you going slower so it helps in many ways beyond the obvious. I like my crutches round the house but what I really wish I had known about while I could still go out alone was a rollator with a seat.

    Something I discovered when talking to people with MS, and even cerebral palsy is that loving family members can be the biggest problem as they all shared the same experience. When I was asked, do you really need that, I assumed they knew my situation and felt the stick was unnecessary,. I felt I was allowed one but used to sneak out a second and only use them both when I was out of sight - I can hardly believe it now and my husband was mortified to realise how I felt.

    They just don't want to believe you are so bad but the correct answer to do you need that is a simple yes.

    Good luck, Mithriel
     
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

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    I'm with @Wonko on the walking stick. I do not need one yet for ME. A couple of years ago I hurt my back. I had a literal walking stick - a stick I had picked up while walking in the woods - in my hall. I got it and used it in my apartment. It was taller than I was and I grasped it at about shoulder level.

    Since it was just a stick, I felt funny using it outside. I got a cane for that. I did not like the shortness and leaning downward/forward on the cane. I felt I was much more likely to fall downward. I did eventually start using the walking stick outside and thus lost it. I then bought a sturdy dowel rod at the hardware store and put a rubber 'thingie' on one end of it to improvise a walking stick. I would recommend buying a nice looking 'real' walking stick, though.
     
  15. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member

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    I use a stick ( a purple, metallic, folding number....and I do often get compliments!. It really helps me with balance, getting in and out of car, and giving me more propulsion when I'm weak. It is also useful in another way in that it alerts people that I'm not well and may need assistance.

    Important to adjust it to the right height- I believe the handle should be on the hip bone (?)
    If asked I just say ' I live with ME and chronic pain'. No drama.
     
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  16. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

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    I'm glad @Offset Entity that you have decided to try a stick.

    I don't have a stick but seriously thought about getting one when I was on holiday. I walk slowly, not far, and rest a lot and felt a self-conscious going up slopes particularly. I felt a stick would visually validate why an otherwise fairly healthy looking person was walking so slowly. Your thread has reminded me of this and I'm going to order one on the basis that I've then got one if I do want to use it.

    I felt very much as you before finally accepting I should get a wheel chair. My first outing in that allowed me to go somewhere I used to take for granted, but could only dream of as an ill person. I'm now looking into mobility scooters. Life can be better if we use things that help us.
     
  17. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

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    Just to update you guys Ive been using my old one around to house since my last posting and have talked with my parents and asked them to not make a big deal about it. its been helpful for trips to the kitchen/bathroom and im going to take it with me whenever i leave the house feeling less than 100% in case i need it. I still feel a little self conscious about the cane in public but ive decided that's because the Medical looking adjustable one draws attention by clicking every step and suggests temporary dysfunction causing people to ask about it and such. So ive ordered myself a nice Wooden one that should blend in nicely. It looks more like an everyday cane and less a I broke my Foot cane.
     
  18. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    I'm also in the middle of this. I started having muscle weakness and tingling in my legs a couple of months ago, which have really interfered with my ability to walk. I've tried a cane, and it helps a bit. But I think I need more support than a cane can offer. My doctor recommended a rolling walker. I've been procrastinating on calling the case manager about it, both because the idea of my coworkers seeing me use one is uncomfortable, and because I am afraid it would just get in the way. I might just be in denial since I'm not having a flare up right now.
     
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  19. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

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    My new cane arrived about a week ago and I have been using it out and about. I had a brain fog moment with a cashier while ordering, in the past most people get frustrated and think I'm just stoned but this time the guys saw the cane gave me a big smile and said "that's alright just take your time" so not only does it help me get from A TO B faster and more comfortably during a bad moment but it hints that I have disability without me every needing to explain or say anything.

    @nettle_tea you should just use what you need and have it nearby in case you need it. My guess is most coworkers will notice and be extra nice or will ignore it and respect your
    privacy.
     
  20. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    This is something I've been thinking about! I'm glad you're having a good experience. Using a cane would probably make it easier for me to get a seat on the subway or bus. I brought my cane to work once so far, and got a few concerned questions. But I will need to get used to telling people about my disability anyway.

    I'd like to try a walker before getting one. I think the biggest advantage of a rollator would be having a seat wherever I am. But the problem with larger mobility aids is that, unlike a cane, I couldn't just fold it up and stick it in my bag. I prefer riding my bike because it's easier on my body than walking, and it gets me from door to door. I just bought an electric bicycle so I can keep riding despite my stamina getting worse. Using a walker would mean I'd pretty much have to take the train or bus, which would mean more walking, and more stairs to navigate, than if I just biked and parked right outside the door.
     

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