I am travelling by train for the first time since my surgery. The journey involves several changes and I am carrying quite a full backpack. As I am still recovering, I need to be careful that I do not fall or get knocked into as these could both potentially cause muscle strain that can lead to other complications. Although I haven’t needed my walking stick for the last couple of weeks, having returned to work this week has shown me that I am far from fully recovered.
As my work requires me to be on my feet a lot, by mid-afternoon yesterday my stomach muscles were beginning to protest. I thought this ache would go away if I sat down and hugged my hot water bottle when I got home but, unfortunately, the pain persisted throughout the night and I am still quite sore even now.
What does all this have to do with my using my walking stick today? Well, as I am travelling through the busy London underground for part of my journey, it will not only help support me as I walk around, but it will also act as a “red flag” to other commuters that I won’t be able to move out of their way and to be mindful to not jostle me as they rush for the tube.
I have said this before but I think it’s worth repeating because not everyone understands that you can be fine one day and not the next. Recovery is not linear.
(Mild Harry Potter spoiler)
I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix audiobook and I just noticed something; Professor Mcgonagall uses a walking stick during her recovery after leaving St Mungos.
A couple of weeks ago I posted about a guy who questioned my use of a walking stick whilst walking home and I asked if anyone else had experienced anything similar.
I’ve had a couple of responses, all of which said they too have experienced some kind of judgement for being “too young” or not looking disabled enough to be using their mobility aids. Some of the prying questions shared include “what’s wrong with you?”, “what happened?” and “That’s just for fashion, right?” And I feel these are all incredibly inappropriate. People don’t questions those who have crutches due to a broken leg or a little old lady who walks upright but still has a walking stick, yet they seem to feel they need to “call out” those who look young and fit and healthy for using these same aids. It’s also no one elses business why someone is using a mobility aid yet people feel they have the right to ask and demand such information.
A few other things that people have had said to them whilst using their aids are “you don’t look handicapped.” and “you shouldn’t be allowed to work in public. You make people uncomfortable.” This is also really inappropriate and rude. Like I said before, it’s no one else business why someone is using a mobility aid but to say they make make you feel uncomfortable is selfish, unkind and, above all, completely insensitive. It is not our job, as chronically ill and/or disabled individuals, to ensure the healthy and able-bodied feel comfortable and happy around us. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable around other people but if someone in a wheelchair or using a walking stick makes you feel that way, then try to imagine how it must be for them. Don’t voice how they make you feel because it’s not that persons fault you feel awkward, they don’t control your emotions.
I know some people would advise to not say anything in these situations and I must admit, I’m not one for starting an argument or making a scene, but what do you think? Would you argue or answer someone if they questioned you for using a mobility aid? What would you say? Would ignore them?
Lastly, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to @maknaebias, @that-eds-life and @notsograndadventures for your contributions! You’re all amazing people and I really appreciate you sharing your stories with me.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I bought myself a walking stick to aid me in my recovery after my surgery last year. The point of it was to help me to walk faster and for longer. It also worked as a sort of “red flag” to others to give me space and extra time to cross road, move out of their way, ect. As I’ve had surgery on the same area recently, I’ve been using my stick again when walking for long periods.
One such time was recently, when I had to go see my nurse at my GP surgery which is only a short walk from where I live. I got there fine, and I was on my way home when something happened to me that I have never experienced before; someone jeered at me, asking why I was using a walking stick.
Now, I’m 30 years old and I don’t look my age. I also look perfectly healthy so when I use my walking stick, I understand it might look a bit odd. However, their comment made me a little upset and I realised that I shouldn’t have to put up with that. I have my reasons for using a mobility aid at the moment and I shouldn’t have to justify myself.
There is a odd thing that I have noticed as a young person using a walking stick; (some) older people don’t take note of the stick and brush past me with little to no care. By contrast, younger people give me space, offer their seats if there are none free, and hold doors for me. This isn’t to say that all older people are ignorant of others needs or that younger people are kinder, it’s just a observation from my experience.
Has anyone else had someone comment on their use of a mobility aid/s? Have you said anything or just ignored them? Have you also found that older/younger people are more/less cautious around you or are they about the same? I’m interested to know what other people have experienced so please let me know by comment or PM so I can put all together in a post later. Thank you!
Three days down and three to go. I’ve been taking my stick with me to work but not using it. Feeling a little tired, as usual, but I’m also a little proud of myself for being able to do the commute without the use of my stick. I guess I’ll see how things go next week without it but I’ll keep it with me just in case.
So I didn’t end up using my stick at all today. I was walking a little slower and was quite tired by the time I got home, but not in any pain which I think means I’m getting stronger. I’ll still take my stick with me to work next week but try not to use it unless I feel I need to.
I’m testing myself today by not using my stick on the way into work this morning. I’m still bringing it with me in case I need it on the way home but I’m hoping I won’t. It all depends how much moving around I’ve done during the day and how tired I am by the time I go home.
On the train home after having such a great time yesterday; the wedding ceremony was beautiful and the venue for the breakfast/reception was gorgeous. I surprised myself with not needed my stick at all. I didn’t really want to use it so I left it in the hotel room (thinking I’d regret it) but actually, I was fine without it. It’s not like we did a lot of walking but there was plenty of standing which usually would cause my stomach muscles to ache after a while. Not yesterday though; I was able to stand and be sociable without needing to lean on anything/anyone. By the end of the day, I was tired but not achy or stiff as I usually am after a long day. I’m quite proud of myself.
I made it out to town on my own today! I needed to run a few errands so I figured I see how much I could do without pushing it. I’m taking a break in Costa at the moment because my hips started aching but I’ll be heading home soon anyway.
I went out with my stick, of course, and I thought I’d be more self-conscious with it but actually I’ve been ok. I’ve gotten a few stares from the odd passer-by but no ones commented or anything which I’m very grateful for; I’d rather not have to explain my situation to complete strangers.