walking stick

All posts tagged walking stick

Adapt

Published March 2, 2020 by helentastic67

Adapt

Being one handed, the most important thing I can recommend in order to survive is, learn to adapt.

It’s the day’s I go to the city and I do some hunter/gathering, that I push myself a little more and while it exhausts me, I notice how my physical body adapts.

My standard trips to the city meant a lot more steps and carrying. If I can’t carry it, I can’t buy it. So, I’ve gotten creative.

Yesterday, I bought two novels and a box of envelopes. Not heavy, just cumbersome and sharp corners. These day’s I travel with one of those fold up grandma bags. (Not a slur) but you can carry it around until you need it. It weighs nothing, takes up no space, but once it’s got two novels and inside it, I usually ask someone to help me put the handles on my left arm above where my cuff and collar sits, just on my elbow. The bag swings along my side and doesn’t hit my left thigh.

My next stop I collected comics, they are flat and not very heavy, so they go in my bag that sits on my right glutinous maximus. Slap, slap, slap.

Then I stopped at a chemist and picked up a few things. Definitely the weightiest purchases of the day. I might even have behind packaging to save or bulk. At this point I’ve reached my maximum density.

I’m starting to feel weighed down and I’m walking a little sideways and bumping into people. Or it could just be people on their devices not paying the least bit of attention to where they are.

After a quick pee break where the bag on my left arm stays there to save needing to put it back on. I walk not far to the tram or Bourke Street Mall and I get on the tram.


Waddling like a pregnant lady now, I try to get two seats near a door facing forward. I might start with one seat and the bag sits on my lap, the straps digging into my shoulders. My right leg in the isle making people brush against me. The bag on my left arm is beside me digging into whoever didn’t think to offer me both seats.


• I’ll just point out here I’m not bigger than Texas. I’m just a wide load by this stage.

Thirty-Five minutes later, I’m at my tram stop (Maybe I was able to spread out for the last 15-20 minutes) I stand up on the tram, readjust my bags, the strap on my left shoulder. I carry my walking stick with the wrist strap between my teeth, so it doesn’t bang all over every piece of metal known to man.


Have I mentioned, I can’t do stalker or stealth? I manoeuvre my way to a door, favouring my right side as that’s my better peripheral vision. All the better not to step on or bump into people and while holding on to one handle or another I manage to get to the right-hand door handle. Walking stick still in mouth.


Tram stops, door opens and I swing my left leg out and bending my right knee, step down. I don’t let go until both feet are on the ground. Hoping just hoping people have followed the road rules and cars have actually stopped at the back of the tram. Yeah! That does not always happen.

I then use my walking stick to walk to the curb. Right foot up, lift and swing left leg attempting left toes to clear the curb.


Fast forward to me getting inside my apartment. There have been days I’ve taken off the bags and weighed them and I’m surprised I’ve carried the extra five kilos home from the city.


But the biggest surprise to me is after I’ve unpacked everything and take my extra layers off (jacket, scarf, etc) I’m moving around my home feeling like I’m on a permanent tilt.


So, by gradually adding weight, my body compensates to do what I insist on it and when all of that is gone, my body still acts like it’s needing to adapt to carry the extra weight and that is today’s lesson.


You don’t know what you can do until you try. Do a little more on top of that and a migraine.

Playing the Disability Card

Published December 2, 2019 by helentastic67

Playing the Disability Card

There are times when I have to play my disability card to get results. Sometimes I throw it out there and I have to hope for the best, because it can very quickly be taken out of my hands (in this case, just the once) as I can’t control everything once it gets away from me.

You know that time “You attract more bees with honey?” and I’m sure there’s something about putting innocent bystanders in a situation where they witness something happen and you have to hope someone comes to your defense.

Like today for example.

Buses have replaced trams on my tram route while roadworks are being completed. Today, while leaving my acupuncturist, I saw three buses go past and seeing none anytime soon. I walked about three tram stops. I’ve walked further, in fact the whole way home, but I had an evening adventure planned that I had to save some of my spoons for.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory

So, I saw a bus (tram) pull up to a stop and I stepped it up a little to make it to the bus. If I couldn’t get to the front door of the bus near the driver, maybe I’d make it to the back door. I got to the door half way down the bus and I saw the teenage school boys (I presume they said nothing to the driver to ask he to wait for me, Yes? They had seen me coming) the door started to close, so I put my walking stick in the door. A woman stepped forward to stop the doors closing and yet the bus started to move.

Oh dear!

I tugged at my walking stick; it really was stuck. I could see some people on the bus standing in the isle call and look towards the driver. The bus stopped, thankfully and I put my right foot up on the floor of the bus using my right hand pulled myself up. My walking stick now dangling from my wrist strap.

A woman in a seat near the door moved to get up and I thanked her and told her I was only going two stops. The bus driver appeared at the door behind me asking what was stuck in the door?

 

I explained, I had wanted to catch the bus and my walking stick had been stuck in the door. He didn’t say anything, he just looked ‘put-out’. He got back into his seat and behind me someone else offered me a seat. Word passed down I wasn’t going far anyway.

Once off the bus, I saw a man in high-vis, when I asked him about the roadworks back in Clifton Hill and if it meant they would be completing the accessible tram stop on this route, he had no idea and had simply gone where he had been told and worse still, did not normally do this area, so really had no idea whatsoever. He just directed every question to the PTV (Public Transport Victoria) website and phone number.

Guess I’ve got another thing to add to my list tomorrow. But it just goes to show, people did come to my aid when I needed it and I don’t ever know who they are.

Now, while you read this post, who had a vision/image of an old lady like Mrs Magoo with the grey hair and grey dress being dragged beside a bus by her walking stick?

Yeah! Me too! That could have gone so much worse as the cord around my wrist often gets twisted on pretty tightly, making it rather challenging to get it off in a hurry.

 

Judgement – Part 1

Published August 12, 2019 by helentastic67

Judgement – Part 1

There are times I am sick to fucking death with random strangers having an opinion about me, that I don’t need to hear.

The other day my Girl-Friday (one of my lovely assistants was with me) were walking down the street. Just paint a picture; using a walking stick in my right hand and my left arm in the cuff and collar (it’s a form of sling) and an older lady sitting on a park bench on the footpath chooses to announce to me “Get a walking frame! You are the third person today I’ve seen with a walking stick.”

Now to say I think I kept walking, shaking my head at her helpful comment, I would have just said “No! No! No! No! No!”

Without any obvious professional experience in any medical or rehab field, I am vitally aware she did not take into consideration without BOTH ARMS WORKING. I would actually be more likely to fall over.

There is one thing about falling on a hard but flat surface, but falling on a structure and part of you falling on the floor are two different things. Hard, but flat surface please.

So, I go back to my original point, I am done with people giving me their random opinions to which they have no actual qualification.

 

Dad

Published July 15, 2019 by helentastic67

Dad

I rang my dad last week. Oh? You may wonder where this is going. It’s not going anywhere you imagine. Just trust me.

I rang him, he never rings me. He is my Italian parent, if you recall and it is fifty minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

The first five minutes he starts with ‘oh, I don’t know if you know/I don’t know if I told you?’ and I have to be rude and interrupt him to remind him, I saw him at Christmas and he has Sciatica and his left leg hurts.

Yes. Then he’s confused and surprised I am aware. A bit of extra information re my Pa, is that he was a builder all his life, he retired a little early, due to having bowel cancer. Don’t stress, he had chemo and radiation, he beat it.

NOT COMPLAINING

Then he got/had bladder cancer. (at least he is consistent, same are of the body) and he’s beaten that (again not complaining).

While he hasn’t got dementia, he is seventy-years old, I think undiagnosed, he may have had a series of heart attacks and strokes or just a bit of ‘brain-faze’ from all his treatments. Relax, he’s cancer free.

In reality, with his very serious dedication to smoking, cancer may eventually be his downfall, but he will not go down without a fight. But right now, he’s doing everything he can to complain about everything and not listen to anything I have to say to help.

Anyway, I digress, he then went into a rant about he would do anything to not have to use a walking stick to get around and how hard it is when half your body doesn’t work.

Oh my God, when he uttered those words and he could not be interrupted because he was not done. So, if you can’t feel my eyeroll and if I’d been there, he would have received a sever bitch slap (or a back hander).

He was so severely oblivious to who had had just made that comment to, I decided to give him one of my classic Helen lines.

“Shut the fuck up”

He actually stopped talking (I was impressed). Now, you may think that is the rudest thing and completely disrespectful to speak to one’s father that way. But, however, I will say that to my mother and she does. So, I should be able to say it to my father.

I love both my parents; I just love them differently and I deal with them both as sternly as they each need and can take.

Honestly, I am much tougher with my mum because if I don’t pull her into line no one will and on somethings she will never change, so I’ve learned to let it go. I guess I’ve learned to choose my battles there also.

Ah, the fifty minutes I said I’d never get back, yes! My father, at 70 decided to get a smart phone! His first smart phone and likely his first taste of the internet!

And I proceeded to help-desk him through how to use his search engine! “Dad, just put your finger in the white bar up the top!” And he grumbles the (and I stress) “typewriter” has gone away!” God help me! “Just tap in the white bar dad and the keyboard will appear!”

And fifty fucking minutes later! KMKMKMKM!!!!!!!(Kill Me!) That was the fifty fucking minutes of my life I will never get back! And I’m not even the Samsung daughter! I’m the Apple daughter!

 

And hit Like!

 

When?

Published May 24, 2019 by helentastic67

When?

Now, bear with me, but I’m OK to take feedback on this. When is it okay for me to deliver a complete stranger a ‘Get fucked or fuck off?’

Ok, fine that by itself with no context doesn’t help so.

Whenever I go into the city, which is several times a month and this week, I’ve been in two days in a row. I cannot tell you how many times someone will cross my path from my left (my blindside) so my foot is clipped by there’s while they have their heads down looking at their phones.

‘Not cars. here we’re testing oblivious texters walking into walls.’

Everyone is so self-absorbed.

God! I sound old, don’t I?

Oh dear.

But seriously, I can’t tell you how often someone is walking from somewhere behind me on my left (and not slow down, OK?) and from nowhere, they cross right in front of me to be far over on my right and they are oblivious to anyone else around them.

Do I get to give a bit of “what-for?” Or only if they trip me over? I’m sure they wouldn’t even if they did. By an extension, they wouldn’t care.

Mostly people are walking directly at me and their eyes flick up, more likely if they hear the slap of my walking stick on the footpath and they alter their path ever so slightly to circumnavigate around me.

There are rare times when they don’t and I just stand still and brace myself. Maybe, I can give them a solidness to hit and all I have to do is plant my feet and bend my knees a little and lean into them. Never done it, but there’s a first time for everything. I’ve usually resorted to growling at people and that works a treat. I figure I could also tell people they owe me a dollar. I’m prepared to start small because I’m sure I would be rich very quickly.

But I might create a little score card.

Nearly walk into someone. $1.00

Nearly walk into someone who is on their phone. $5.00

Nearly walk into someone with head down. $10.00

Nearly get knocked over. $20.00

Get knocked over.

Get knocked over by an adult on a skateboard.

Can I pick that kid’s skateboard up and throw it in a bin?

 

Wrong

Published April 12, 2019 by helentastic67

Wrong

There are brief and rare moments going FULL WRONG that makes all thing’s about disability anything but wrong.

I have a habit of weight-baring on my walking stick. I’m not the only one, it just goes to show I do need it, but there are times I use it rather forcefully to the great annoyance of some around me.

One lovely day, going off to our early December family Christmas lunch, which was somewhere nice. We girls can’t always get together on the actual day, so we do a nice lunch out.

It was on a Sunday, because it’s when we are all free.

Are you all aware I go off-grid on the weekend? I don’t go out, I don’t put on a bra or shoes. Yes, I have a shower, however, I don’t do PERSON.

So, going to Hellenic Republic in Kew, George Collobini’s great Greek restaurant. Definitely, a bit expensive, but special so it’s the way to go and it’s got my name on it.

But Sunday, HARD to do PERSON. So, walking stick was riding that thing, have hard and noisy.

Mum growled at me ‘Do you have to be so noisy?’

To which I replied ‘I’m sorry, if only I could live without it!’

I’m sure I also told her to ‘Go ye forth and multiply’, but in other words, yes my favourite ones. Starting with my favourite F word ending in “off” and mum laughed.

So proud of my relationship with my mum at times like this.

Question Time

Published January 4, 2019 by helentastic67

question time

Question Time

If you are not at all familiar with ABI/TBI or even disability, let me give you a very simple piece of advice. Never, ever, ever bombard someone with questions without time to answer. Actually, that’s relevant to decent human behaviour, however it’s even more important to people with an ABI or simply a disability.

one question at a time

Now, I’m very lucky I think and process quickly, however it’s not normal for anybody with a brain injury.

My mum has been known to ask a question when helping me move house and by the second question, I answer with a further “Yes, No, No, Yes, No” and she will ask “what are they for?” to which I inform her “Your next three questions. We laugh and all is well.

answer mums question

However, it’s common someone else I’m related to who doesn’t spend much time with me will throw a question at me. (Note; How I’ve kept writing this topic? Because what the hell, my family don’t read my blog anyway.) I suspect that’s common for a lot of bloggers.

stupid question

Moving into an apartment has meant over the winter I will need to rely on a clothes dryer to get things dry and I don’t have one.  I’ve already upgraded my washing machine to a brand-new front loader, so I use less water and it spins better. I now need a dryer which will sit directly on top.

washer dryer

‘Someone’ stated to me. “You probably don’t need one.” Then proceeded to attempt to convince me I could visit a laundromat and rather than wait for me to explain how that just couldn’t work, I am assaulted with reasoning and assaulted with reason’s why going to the laundromat with a pile of clothes, towels, sheets, heavy blankets (they wouldn’t go in the dryer).

laurndromat

Eventually, when this person paused to take a breath, I pointed out I would injure my back carrying a plastic tub of heavy damp items. In reality, I would have trouble getting it out of my apartment as the door is heavy and awkward.

apartment door 1

I would need to put it down to dig out my swipe card to use in the lift. Again, putting down my laundry basket (these days a square plastic cube) and picking it up again. Once on the ground floor, I have to press a button to close the entrance door, then get the door open, pick up the cube and get outside.

laundry basket

Did I mention, I use a walking stick when out? Do I need to finish describing the ludicrous mess (is that a word) of that suggestion?

walking stick 1

Sometimes, family will do their very best to convince you of another way so you don’t need to spend that money. They don’t need to help you do ‘that’ thing and then they don’t feel inadequate or pressed to fit you in their lives.

family assistance

It’s great to be loved.

to be loved

Hidden Pain

Published January 12, 2018 by helentastic67

Hidden Pain 1

Hidden Pain

Some people are really quite oblivious to the strain and pain on my body when I’m out and about because despite my walking stick and my left arm being in a sling (collar and cuff) and that I’m out of the house, it’s presumed I’m always wandering around with a smile on my face.

Walking stick and sling

In reality, sleep or lack thereof means my left leg works even less than “I make It” and the eyesight in my left eye is worse than people would realise.

Often what I carry and how it affects my mobility even more.

In my own backyard, even moving a few small terracotta pots around means my left hip hurts! WTF! I don’t even use my left side to do anything, so I’ve asked an OT/Physio what that is all about and she had no words of wisdom for me.

Small Terracotta Pots

Yesterday, I went to the city, I travel by car to a train station closer to the city, then a train from there.

When I’m out and about my ‘handbag’ (hate the term) is a large street-wear bag with the clash on it. (I just like the image) the strap on the bag hangs from my left shoulder and the bag sits on my right hip and gluts as in Gluteus Maximus. If I buy something when I’m out, it must fit in that bag. If I can’t carry it, I can’t buy it…

But yesterday, I also had to transport a delivery of Ginger Kisses. I have a cool bag, big enough for six cans (so Australian for those serious drinkers; not me, other people) and in it were 2 large ice blocks (heavy) and 30 Ginger Kisses (cool).

Ginger Kisses

I got out of the car at the train station carrying the walking stick and the cool bag and walked the twenty metres to the train platform without the aid of the stick.

I missed the train by “that much”. A train station staff member told me I’d missed it. No shit Sherlock! Because he hadn’t held it for me for two seconds despite my efforts.

Missed Train

So, I asked him to help me put the cool bag on better. I gave him both the stick and the cool bag. I eased the two loops of the collar and cuff down over my hand and proceeded to have him put the handle of the bag on my arm up under my elbow. The collar and cuff goes back on and keeps the bag from slipping down.

The weight of the bag hangs by my side and doesn’t obstruct the forward motion of my left leg.

On the train to the city I often find myself eating my breakfast. Vegemite and cheese on toasted bread. Good breakfast for on the go, not great every day.

Cheese and Vegemite

I got to the city, scooped up my coffee in my keep cup in Degraves Street and got to the AGM for the Self Advocacy group I’m part of. There was only one table at the front that four people were to sit at in a ‘panel formation’.

Degraves St

I put my bags down and looked around. No-one! So, I dragged a table over. At which point my left hip is hurting. Seriously, don’t know what it’s complaining about when it does nothing.

Had the meeting.

Did some serious walking.

More serious walking.

Walking

More serious walking.

It’s now been several weeks since I started this post. I think I got lost in the details. Relevant details, but today I was off to the city again with that damn cool bag.

Cooler bags

I realised how the added weight changes how I move and balance and the impact on just walking by the end of the day…

Hidden Pain

Opinion

Published March 27, 2017 by helentastic67

Opinion 2

Opinions

It’s weird how the littlest opinion can throw bad information into a fan to create a perfect storm. I once had a Carer complain to the office, my bed and changing it had given her a sore back.

My mum insisted on being at my house when a Team Leader and the OH & S person assessed my bed! They growled I was not to have the carers flip the mattress, which I insisted I would not even ask.

Bed 1

My mum keeps insisting I replace my bed. My father made it years ago, it’s mostly a sleigh bed with exception of the base being lower than the bed head. I’ve put the bed together more times single handed, than I care to remember.

And my older sister gets on-board to suggest I get a new bed. With what exactly? And then downscale all my bedding? I repeat – With What?

Bed 2

My older sister recently bought me a new walking stick with a really cool handle. It’s my early birthday present, but I think part of the reason she gave it to me is because my mum is of the opinion my walking stick has given me Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

I don’t know, I wake up in the morning and I have pins and needles in my right hand. Just reminding you that my good hand, the only hand that works. I don’t take my walking stick to bed! Ergo! Case in point! Walking stick not to blame for Carpel Tunnel.

It’s that I do EVERYTHING WITH MY RIGHT HAND.

Opinion 3

Hidden Pain

Published August 26, 2016 by helentastic67

hemiparesis-simulator_1

Hidden Pain

So, I know I get a little backlash out there. My disability has managed to leave me with the ability to walk with the aid of a walking stick (Not complaining).

And therefore I have a level of independence to go out and do things.

Yesterday was Monday, I had my Carer at 9am. We were done an hour later. I made my own breakfast and light lunch. I actually ate my breakfast on the couch for a change. I often eat it in a hurry on the train to the city on the days I go out. Ridiculous!

My appointment wasn’t until 3pm and while I really wanted to go back to bed and to sleep I figured my Landlord was due to mow the lawns. I’ve been watching it get long and overgrown the last two weeks. And let’s face it, I had to get to Medicare to claim two receipts. Medicare is my ‘Other Bank’ and I don’t claim much these days.

So, off I went to the city. That translates like this;

Text my Young John (will tell you about him another time; get your tissues ready) Young John drives me to a train station closer to the city. It’s more convenient and a train goes through every 10 minutes.

Get on train and in the city in about 20 minutes. The train platform is an easy one for me, it is just on Platform 1 so right out onto Flinders Street and cross.

I crossed between 2 pedestrian crossings to save time. Traffic had stopped all the same.

I made a stop at the shop I used to visit to have a quick chat to Peter. He was the 3red stop for me, back in my Promoter days every Monday Peter runs a little independent Music/Clothing/Tattooist/Body art/Gothic shop that is literally down an alley and down in the basement. Awkward stairs. Handrails not on the right but I make it in one piece, because I won’t QUIT!!!

I once flew down the stairs and up again but after a little catch up.

No independent bands touring anytime soon either. Peter goes up and comes back down for me in the lift.

Still had to do about 10 steps down to street level. Anyway, I give a nice older lady some directions as she looks a little lost and confused (don’t we all?).

Walk several large blocks to Medicare. Feel good! Big strides, can see and most people respectfully move out of my way. Not everyone, but most!

Medicare a busy place. Don’t want to wait today so I fill in the forms. Very little information required. Staple and put in the post box.

They will process and by tomorrow, I’ll be $106. Richer!!

Anyway, cross two streets. And wait for a tram.

Catching trams in Melbourne

I’m only going halfway home as that’s where my appointment is. But the tram isn’t a flatbed tram. It’s not disability friendly! So, three big steps. Word from the wise, lead with the stronger leg and I always sit just inside the door. Commonly referred to and by other disabled friends as “My seat!” We each call it that and when we are together we prioritise who needs it more. Or this allows me to sit there because they are gentlemen…

Anyway, get to Collingwood and go into shop that requires a few steps. No handrail. Walk 15 minutes to appointment. Was warm as the last day of summer in Melbourne.

Time to sit for a bit before my appointment.

I see Gerry who does Shiatsu every 3-4 weeks for an hour, he works on my back, shoulders and arms and a little on my neck.

Afterwards, he gives me a lift up the street (it’s uphill) and I heave myself up onto the tram again for the 20 minute journey home.

Off tram at my stop and walk 10-15 minutes. Happy to get home, not too desperate for the loo. 5 steps up and inside!

So Tuesday. Got the day off today. No appointments! Just phone calls to make sure my Carers are sorted for the next 10 days and any transport needs.

Struggle to get it together! Things hurt! For once my head doesn’t hurt but my thighs hurt and my right shoulder and arm. And it hurts to walk. Want to make reference to feel like, I’ve been on a horse for a week, but don’t know what that’s like. Dragging my left foot a little today.

Lastly, while my transport yesterday was all fine and Gerry volunteers his time today I’m paying for it!

Every step, every curb I negotiated I’m feeling it today! And tomorrow we do it all again.

Closer to home this time, but Wednesday is my pinchy/stabby day.

Chiropractor followed by Acupuncture. Two appointments I have weekly to help me maintain my independence. Having a disability really is a full time job…

 

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