Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Me and My Cane/ My Shadow

I was going through old records today looking for a particular record (yes the old vinyl kind) to play while I was writing. I ran across an old 45 that I've had since childhood. Now I've had this song stuck in my head. Arghhh! Don't you just hate when that happens! Now you can get it stuck in your because I found it on youtube. <Wicked Evil Grin> That leads me into my blog for today about canes. See, music is good for something.

I started singing it to my cane. Might as well I thought, since it is stuck in head anyhow. My cane is, for right now, an extension of me similar to my shadow. I don't go anywhere without it just like my shadow. In other words, I was making applesauce or lemonade.

Transitioning from wheelchair to a hemi walker was a big step towards independence for many and mobility for stroke survivors, and I was no different. I remember when, after I got out of the hospital, asking my PT if she thought I could transition to a cane instead of the walker. Wheelchairs and walkers are just bulky. They are hard to get in and out of cars and hard to do anything other than be mobile with them. A stroke survivor is hard pressed to get a wheelchair in and out of the car without help, and there goes the independence. Being dependent after so many years of independence is a tough pill to swallow.

Then came the hard decision. After she said yes, the decision was mine of whether to get a quad cane or single cane.Yes, my balance was improved but was it improved enough for a single cane? The doubts came into play with my head. The quad cane offered more stability. The single cane offers a compact size and more use time. Now, humming the theme from Jeopardy, what is it with me and music today! At least Peter Pan is out of my head. Decisions, decisions. The only way to know for sure was to try.

I went to my local CVS. They know me there and don't bother me much as I block one of their aisles trying each cane out. Since it is one of their long aisles, there was ample space to try it out. In the end, money ruled. I would get more use out of the single cane for longer. I knew from past experience with walking canes which one supported me best.

Then my husband and daughter got involved. Ya gotta love families, don't you? I wanted to buy a roll of duct tape to cover their mouths.

Husband: You aren't going to have a basket to carry your wallet in. Maybe you need one of these nifty cane purses. What color do you want? Black, blue, green or white? Here's a print one, how about it?

Daughter: You don't want one of those plain canes. Look at all these pretty ones. How about this hot pink flowered one? You can pretend you're in Hawaii. Don't you want more than one to color coordinate with your wardrobe?
At this last question, my husband and I looked at her as if she was nuts.

All I wanted was a cane to walk with! Geez! Before when I went to purchase a cane, you had a choice of black and silver colored canes or wood, and different styles. And I thought I only had to make a decision between a quad or single cane. I bought the blue print cane and black purse just to shut both of them up.

I guess I should have been thankful to be just shopping for a cane I could use, but I was tired. Before shopping, I'd had a triple therapy session between PT, OT, and speech. My first true test if I'd made a mistake in cane choice was trying it out on an uneven surface like my front yard.

I got out of the car when we got home and immediately grabbed the cane that I just bought. A chorus of, "Are you sure?" followed my decision. The driveway was no problem and then I hit the grass. I wobbled but caught my balance and oh so slowly made my way to the front door. I'd already fallen severely once and didn't want a repeat performance. The next challenge was getting up two small steps with the cane. I did it much to chagrin of my husband and daughter who hovered with arms outstretched to catch me if I fell. As if I wasn't having doubts about my choice already.

By my next therapy session, I was sure. I told my therapist with unhidden pride, "Look. I've transitioned!"

It took me a short amount of time to get my cane to react as a part of me. Although I walk around my house without it now, it is still part of my life and will be for the foreseeable future. Eventually, I'll reach a point like last time when I feel stable enough to walk without it no matter what terrain is underfoot, but for's me and my shadow. My shadow and me...


  1. Why do they make it so hard to descide?!? Too many choices are a variant of no choice at all for me. I'd be pulling my hair out with all those choices.

    1. It's really wasn't that hard for me to decide except for quad or single. My family ran away with it with the optional choices. My decisions were more to keep the peace.

  2. You know, those decisions that aren't very important are the hardest to make (What color or pattern do I want?) I'm glad it worked out for you and that you and your cane are forming a lasting friendship.

    1. LOL Sara,
      The last time I walked with a cane it was pretty close to 4 years before I gave it up. Now I know that's a lot longer than some marriages last, but I'll gladly give it up again.

  3. You will give it up...because you want to. You are so positive...I am so glad you came into my life. Thank you Jo.

    1. Awwww Debra,
      I'm thankful you came into mine! I'm not always so positive, but I'm positively stubborn.


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