The First Time . . . Using a Cane

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A continuation of first time experiences, brings us to . . . the cane. Are you wondering, at this very moment, whether it is time to begin using a cane? It can be an intimidating and daunting experience. Yet, once you come to terms with it, a cane can also offer liberation to  walk about when a steady gait no longer occurs automatically.

I have been using a cane for a good nine years now, off and on. More on than off, in the last five years or so. It was the first visible concession I agreed to make. The type of concession that tells the world there is something wrong with me, physically. That visual statement to the world beyond my front door, was a big deal the first time I made it. Needing the cane however, went a long way to a smooth adjustment. Necessity trumps pride and realigns a faulty self-image. Who knew?

Today, in most outdoor excursions, I couldn't make it without a cane by my side, providing me with a third wheel as it were. Are you considering using a cane? If so, you may benefit from the top 3 reasons I decided a cane was for me

 

The Top Three Reasons I Use My Cane

  • BALANCE
  • BALANCE
  • BALANCE

That is what it really boiled down to for me. An ever-increasing need for more balance when I walked.  With balance comes stability, safety, steadiness, security, all the good "S" words.

Walking when muscle fatigue is in full swing is exhausting. Foot drop slowly and effortlessly creeps into my gait, which brings about an insidious unsteadiness which makes trips and falls much more likely to occur. Add generalized MS-fatigue (lassitude) on top of all this and it isn't hard to deduce that a cane would be helpful.

I remember one particularly tiring day. I was at a religious function, dressed up in my brand new suit, wearing only small-inch heels. I was on my way to the car for my lunch and planned to rest while in the car because my fatigue was terrible that day.  Walking close to where our car was parked, I felt the slightest of an incline but before I could respond, I had lost my balance and down I went. I was so tired I just laid on the ground even after I realized I hadn't broke any bones, just badly scrapped my knee. I could feel the burning pain that comes when you slide on asphalt and your skin has been removed, but other than that pain, I knew I had  escaped serious injury. Naturally, all my fellow congregants who were also outside, ran to my aid. When I didn't jump right up as many naturally do when a slip and fall occurs, they were afraid I had seriously hurt myself. I assured them I was ok, but needed a minute before they could assist me to my car. Of course I lived to tell the tale, but I also realized the fall would not have occurred had I had my trusty cane as a stabilizer bar. By this time I was already regularly using a cane, I merely forgot it that day.

Not to give the impression that canes prevents all falls, but they do help us avoid many of the falls that come about from unsteadiness and imbalance. 

There comes a point in everyone's life when we realize, it's time . . .

Is it time for you to begin using a cane? Then do it, you'll be glad you did.

Gold-headed Cane  rcplondon.ac.uk
Gold-headed Cane rcplondon.ac.uk
Folding Walking Stick  verko.co.uk
Folding Walking Stick verko.co.uk
Colorful Cane  verko.co.uk
Colorful Cane verko.co.uk
Unique Walking Sticks  targro.com
Unique Walking Sticks targro.com
Walking Stick  dannonline
Walking Stick dannonline

Finding the Right Cane For You

Now that you've decided to successful tackle this first time experience of using a cane, I whole-heartedly recommend you make it as enjoyable as possible. Once you have figured out the basic type of cane you need, don't just grab one from any place, put some time into finding a cane that fits your personality. It takes some of the sting out of the early experiences. I purchased my cane on-line. There are no shortages of creative artistic canes out there. Take a little time and find the right one for you. If you have to use a cane, you might as well like the cane you're using, don't you think?

I have a small collection of different types of canes.

After my slip and fall described previously, I made sure to keep my collapsible cane in our car. It is my back-up for those times I leave the house cane-less not realizing how tired I will be in just a short while.

I have my very first cane, which I also like to use at more formal occasions when I'm not dressed casually.

Then there is my hand-carved cane. I just loved the workmanship, so added it to my collection.

Last but not least, my walking stick. It is very tall and I use it when in the woods or hilly ground where a normal cane might sink into the dirt or grass. I enjoyed having it by my side the last time I was able to take a small hike in the Pocono Mountains.

If variety really is the spice of life, spice up your MS life with a cane you really like!

Raising Cane

To wrap things up. Using a cane was never an easy decision to make, but it was a necessary one.

Am I glad I use a cane? Absolutely.

Should you be using a cane? No doubt just asking yourself this question probably means the answer is yes! But you will have to come to that conclusion when you are ready to do so. No rush, just be careful until you get there mentally and emotionally. Also your doctor or physical therapist can be a good source of encouragement if you need a cane, but have been putting it off. They know first hand of the damage that occurs when an unsteady person without a cane has a terrible fall. They will give you permission to view yourself in a different light and still be good with the person you are on the inside.

As one of your earliest first time experiences, you will look back at this decision to use a cane as the start of many, in which you mentally rose to the challenge, in order to face.

You are beginning to hit your stride in the lifelong marathon run that is our MS!

Next up, my first time experience with my handicapped parking placard

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22 comments

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Tammy, thanks very much. I am glad I discovered you as well. Unfortunately I can't remember if I remembered to become a "follower", glad your comment has reminded me to check. See ya around!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

Hi Jenn, I really enjoyed reading this, I will be stopping by more often now that I found you. I will bookmark this this may help a patient or two of mine. Thanks!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Good morning Sue, Great to read of your continual improvement in body and soul. Peace and joy are always welcomed guests in our lives. They can visit as often and stay as long as they would like. (smile) Have a good one and I will try to do the same!

Dar


emohealer profile image

emohealer 6 years ago from South Carolina

Dar,

LOL, and a smile in return. I only say it if I feel it in my heart, each word is my heartfelt opinion, thanks for giving credability to my opinion.

I am continuing to improve both my health and my outlook of my inner windows. an amazing journey, as devastating as it seemed at the moment, what a blessing each passing day!

I hope you are finding some of the same each passing day, such a beautiful spirit and heart you have. May joy find your doorstep each day as I know you will open the door and let it in.

Sue


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Sue! So glad you dropped by as I have been thinking about you. I was happy to share the advice I received about accessorizing and individualizing my cane because it really worked for me.

As usual having your comments included in any hub I write, makes it feel completed. I have come to look forward to your comments as a 'seal of approval'. (smile)

Thank you for ever encouraging and supportive replies.

I hope you are feeling better and stronger with each passing day!

~Dar


emohealer profile image

emohealer 6 years ago from South Carolina

Dar,

As always a strong resource for others. You have a stability and balance in your mind and spirit although not visible in your physical body. You provide this stability and balance with such style and charm. I don't need a cane, yet it sounded sort of classy, accessorizing (spl) like shoes. Great advice and taking the "fear" out of what many consider a hard decision. Using a cane to keep from falling far out weighs what someone else may think or observe while using it. Better by far than counting on that same person whom we percieve as looking down on the cane as the person we would be counting on to help us up if we were to fall.

Blessings and health and wellness to you as you shine your bright spirit on us! Sue


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

EOCedeno, if you must use a cane for a year or so, it sounds like you had a "sweet" one. I am glad you recovered from your injury and that the therapy sessions helped you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.


EOCedeno profile image

EOCedeno 6 years ago from Mactan Island,Cebu,Philippines

i used a cane for almost a year because i could not balance. my cane had some sort of hydraulics which allowed some cushion. it also had a wristband for added measure. i dont use one now but once in a while i look at the cane on the wall. my black and silver cane was with me all through therapy sessions and the pain. i hope i will never use it again. thanks for the nice hub.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Animalanding,

I can understand why it was hard to begin using your cane on a regular basis, especially when you are younger in age when a cane becomes necessary.

Good for you for getting over the embarrassment and sticking with the cane. I hope your experience will encourage others in your age group to do the same.

It is nice to meet you!

~Jen


Animalanding profile image

Animalanding 6 years ago from Nevada

I have a few canes lol. I use them as needed but try to not for the reason of worry that others are watching me and making fun of me. I am only 34 and have Degenerative Disk Disease along with arthritis and other issues where my leg just gives out. The cane does help me , so finally I decided to forget that I was embarrassed and stuck with the cane. :)


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Connie, You made me smile with your prediction. Reminded me of how long it has been since I've predicted the success of one of your hubs. I look forward to returning the favor as soon as you are up to it.

You are right, I only thought about cane use with MS, but there are many others who just might find this article interesting. Thanks for telling me it is educational, that means a lot to me.

~Dar


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

Another fine and educational article, Jen. Really, even though your articles are MS related, they are informative and encouraging for so many others as well. I predict that this particular article is going to be very popular as there are so many reasons why a cane might be useful to a person.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Glad you have found me and enjoy the articles. :-)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Looks like I have been missing some interesting and useful articles.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thank you for reading my hub, BKCreative, and taking the time to leave a comment.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

What a very interesting topic and well done hub!

Thanks for sharing this!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi there Paradise7! Thank you for your comment. I would much rather assume the majority of folks out there are just like you, looking past any assistance device because it's just not important. That makes me smile as does your comment. Thanks!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Good for you, Jen. Don't worry. A cane doesn't mean anything to a lot of people, other than a healthy assist in mobility. I don't think people are out there, going, "Ah, she's got a cane, she's unhealthy now," or anything like that. We get self-conscious about things others don't even notice.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

No Sara, I did not see that specific story. Thank you for including it in your comment. I am aware of chemotherapy treatments for progressing MS and I was so sorry to read of how quickly the disease is progressing for the article's subject. So many are working so hard to find a cure. It is very much appreciated by the MS community. I hope she responds and the trial is totally successful for her and that the money to continue a larger trial becomes available.

Thanks again!


Sara Tonyn profile image

Sara Tonyn 6 years ago from Ohio, the Buckeye State

Jen -- Did you see this?

http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top%20stories/sto...

P.S. Kudos on another super hub!


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Amy! Well of course I am interested in your version and look forward to reading it as soon as I have thanked you for your comment.

I can't imagine walking in NYC. For one thing New Yorkers walk way too fast, when they are just taking their time. Picturing myself trying to keep up during morning and after work rush hours makes my head spin.

The fact that you were able to do so for so long comes as no surprise to me. You are amazing, after all. (smile)

Sometimes I wonder if our primary doctors might not be more supportive in our mobility decisions. They see us more regularly and in my case, I find my primary has always encouraged me to do whatever it takes to have a better quality of life. I get more referrals from him, than I get from my neurologist. As a matter of fact, way back when I was deciding about my cane, as soon as I suggested I might need one, he encouraged me to do it. Interesting in hindsight.

Thank you for your thought-provoking response, ag.


amygtz 6 years ago

As per usual, your story so eloquently written resonates so deeply. I too came to the decision that the benefits of using a stick (as I call it) outweighed the pit falls! And boy did I fall. I commuted daily to NYC an fell many times before I admitted this might be helpful. And In spite of the fact that my neuro is one of the best, he didn't make the recommendation. I was waiting for him to (an excuse if anyone asked me if I'd thought about it) and it never came.

I think at times it is very important for us to step back and be as honest as possible with ourselves. No easy task. What I can say is that there were more benefits than I could have begun to imagine when push finally came to shove and I finally made the decision.

Thank you Darline for writing this beautiful piece that will no doubt help someone else who is struggling with indecision~

ag

If you are interested in my version of this similar tale check it out here.

http://mslol.wordpress.com/category/ms-diary/stick...

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