I am now the owner

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterbee, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    of a 4 prong cane. This makes it official. I had a cane - a regular cane - and that didn't seem so bad. This just makes it really official and very noticeable.

    On the plus side, it helps tremendously with walking and really does take a lot of weight off that hip which helps with the pain. On the down side, it will take me a long time to not be embarrassed to use it in public. :(
  2. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Oh hugs to you. Don't feel embarrassed. If anyone says anything negative about it just think instead of one jab when you poke them with it you get four.

  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    :rofl: :rofl:

    I already told Wynter she better not make me mad. I'm now packin'. :devil:
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Hahaha, I was about to say, "Hey, no worries - you're packin'!" but you beat me to it!
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think you should decorate it! You can get colored duct tape and stripe it... hang funky little dangly charms off it like some kinda voodoo queen... have fun with it! I've seen people do this with their walkers, and I think it's a hoot. Why be serious? Life's too short!
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Beware of feisty people with canes!
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You need to watch the British comedy: " Waiting for God" It is about a group of people in a British assisted living type facility. Diana, the female role model, used to be a photojournalist and travelled all over the world. she has a cane and when anyone irritates her, annoys her, etc... she just whacks 'em with her cane. And if someone actually pi$$es her off, watch out for the wrath of Diana!!

    Anyway, I hope the can helps, I hope you have fun decorating it, and remember - change it for the seasons!!


  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL...gosh...we are a pair...I get a chair and you get a cane. I remember feeling so idiotic when I got my walker that I hardly used it. My problem was it really didnt help me all that much. The chair helps me a whole lot more. Of course I am going to wear my arms out wheeling the thing around...lol.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    No worries Heather. If you can put less stress on the hip, it may mean less pain and flares in the future. And gee, makes it sort of hard for some person to look at you and go Uh, there's nothing wrong with her. Which is what I tell Travis about his white cane for the blind. To look at him you'd never know he's blind, but his cane all but shouts it at people.....giving him more freedom than before.

    Look out would be muggers. Heather is armed and dangerous........and Janet will run your arse over. :rofl:
  10. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    That's just what I was thinking. I would put glitter and bling all over it.:D

  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Oh, Heather...don't ever be embarrassed. You do what you gotta do.

  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thanks for making this easier for me. :D

    Decorating it is a great idea. I was thinking about letting Wynter do it, but realized it would be all black and covered with skulls and cross bones. She would probably try to put a piercing in it, too. :rofl: I think I'll decorate for holidays and/or seasons. That would be cool. Make it a conversation piece instead of a pity piece.
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Put a squeezy horn and a rearview mirror on it! I have seen a frog squeeze horn!!!
    Tassles, put little squeakie things on the bottoms! Like on little kids shoes! So everytime you step down with it it will squeak!
    Make it as obnoxious as possible...
    I hope it helps.
  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    You know Heather, many people use quad canes.....with-o the embarrassment that you seem to be experiencing. You've been given this device (not unlike medications) to function to the best of your abilities, not to embarrass you.

    Forgive me, I take issue with this talk of embarrassment. If I didn't have my quad cane or my walker I could no longer function - I'd be stuck. Or more stuck than I had been a year ago. It seems to me your next step would be physical therapy (you don't necessarily need a diagnosis - my PT is for endurance & maintenance).

    Decorate it, if it helps, but use it with pride. Don't let bitterness & anger creep into this & take over now. Your personality & sense of humor is delightful; you want to hang onto it to keep moving forward in whatever direction you can.
  15. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    You're not just packin, you're packin a quadruple barrel deadly weapon!
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I decorate mine. Although it's not a quad stick, mine IS one of those aluminium things with an elbow cuff. I cover mine with stickers and hang home-made dangly stars on it, cut out from cardboard I get from smoked salmon packs (gold foil one side, silver on the other). I use curling ribbon to hang the danglies. Avoid metal danglies - they make a jangle noise which is annoying. Also avoid danglies with sharp points or angles, they snag and jab.

    Something else really cool - I assume your quad stick is adjustable (holes along its length). If so, listen to it in a strong wind, it sings to you. My kids think it's hilarious. There is something about walking along the beach having my stick singing to me - I like it.

    My sticks make it easier for me to get to some amazing places. They've taken me to Athens, to Singapore, to Melbourne and around New Zealand. I've climbed over the ruins of Delphi and Mycenae and negotiated the boiling mud and steam clouds at Craters of the Moon and Rotarua. My sticks have taken me to Milford Sound and into the caves of Waitomo. They've helped me negotiate the snow-covered slopes of volcanic Mt Ruapehu and the uneven sandstone gutters of inner city Sydney.

    I don't use my sticks around the house. But they are my friends that help me learn first-hand about the world. With my sticks I can reach more of the world and enjoy it.

    Have fun customising your quad stick. Maybe have a different name for each prong?

  17. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest


    I'm sorry you take issue with the talk of embarrassment. I respect and admire you a great deal, but it hurts my feelings to dismiss my truth - that I am having a hard time accepting what is happening to my body and my mind.

    I am embarrassed. Not because I have to use a tool to help me function, but because of what it represents. That I am not strong enough to overcome this illness. That right now, at this moment, the illness is winning. That may sound silly to some, but it's what I struggle with. I've always been very strong - or at least put on that face - and this is a battle I'm not winning right now. It's hard for me to accept. It is very humbling and it brings me to my knees, metaphorically speaking.

    I started this process with everyone telling me that by April of this year, I would have a diagnosis, would be on medications and would be getting better. Not only has that not happened, I'm getting worse. Some days I even doubt myself - that maybe somehow I'm making this worse than it really is. Do I believe that? Not for a second. But, I always doubt myself.

    I started addressing these issues in therapy yesterday, but these are walls that were erected many, many years ago and they are going to have to come back down brick by brick. I'm trying. Which is why I reached out to the board for moral support.

    It is hard for me to admit these things. The fact that I can't seem to overcome this is a big weakness in my mind. True or not, it is my truth right now. And that's what I'm having to adjust to and work on.

    Forgive me if I seem over-emotional. I'm physcially and emotionally spent right now.
  18. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, ((((BIG HUGS))))

    I think I would decorate it totally goth- definately let Wynter do it!-Alyssa

    (for the season)
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hang in there, Heather.

    Linda & I are at different stages to you. I remember when I first became disabled with my "mystery illness". After 24 years I STILL do not have a firm diagnosis! I've had a few things "diagnosed" which now have been tossed out.

    When I first became affected by this, I was working full-time in a difficult job. There were always people waiting to pounce on the slightest sign of weakness and to take advantage of it. So like a bird in the wild, I did my best to hide any problem. People would ask how I was and I would answer, "fine." Then I had to approach the boss and ask for time off - he was angry with me because when I said I was fine, he believed me. He wanted honesty. But nobody at work could handle illness and disability - I was surrounded by health professionals who as a group, avoid illness except when they have no choice.
    So people asked me how I was (as part of the daily greetings - they don't REALLY want to know!) so I kept my answer honest but limited - three word limit. "Not bad," or "hanging in there," or "I'm here." And as I was afraid of, I got hostility. And ridicule.

    I didn't want to use any walking aids, but I was hanging on to the railings when I walked. Or brushing my hand against the wall so I could manage my poor balance. Finally when my knees began to buckle after a few steps, I had to begin using a walking stick. At another time I had to have my arm in a sling - everyone assumed it was for a sprain. But it was for both arms, and for nerve pain and weakness. Using the arm aggravated the pain.

    When you fear the reactions of people around you, you naturally take steps to hide your illness or disguise any disability factor. What I had to finally accept - using the aid made it easier for my gait to look more normal. Now when I walk with (mostly only one) crutch (like Dr Kerry Weaver from ER) people soon forget I'm using a stick. Again I keep my answers brief. Just today I was walking with difficult child 3 in the local park and met a woman (new neighbour) playing with some kids. She said to me on seeing the stick, "What have you done to yourself?" and part of me inside still feels, "here we go again."

    I answered her with, "I haven't done anything recently, this is long-standing. It's a bit like MS, no big deal."

    I've had my time in wheelchairs, I've been using these sticks for over 20 years. I've had nasty comments, I've had scepticism, I've had some very unpleasant stuff in the workplace including being the butt of some very mean jokes. I've lost friends. But using aids or not using them - it would have made no difference. Because I was unsteady on my legs, it was obvious when I walked. It was LESS obvious when I used help.

    I've found a lot of good things too. I did leave my job - I didn't want to. I was very depressed as a result and really tried to stay in the workforce. But I realise now, my availability has been a Godsend for the family. It has also given me an entirely new life direction, a much more fulfilling one. I've gone in a different direction, gained some new skills, honed some old forgotten interests and skills and risen to the top there as well.

    I've made new friends (including people here). I wish some of them had known me when I was well - they would understand me even better. But they do accept me as I am and know that I understand, so they talk to me when they are afraid or in pain. I've discovered depths to myself I never knew I had, hidden strengths which have come in very useful.

    Heather, I won't tell you to make the best of it - that would be cruel. I hated it when people said that to me. Or they said, "Pull yourself together!" Also not fair - how can you?

    All I can say to you - it does get better. You won't feel this bad for much longer. There isn't just existence after this, there is life. And if you ever get better - even more, you will value everything in your world around you so much more deeply than you already do.

    I'm still disabled. I would love to be well but I don't expect it to happen. I still haven't got a proper diagnosis. Frankly, I've got to the stage where I no longer care about a label but I remember caring very deeply because I believed that with the label would come the chance of recovery. I was in anguish with each new symptom, wanting to scream at doctors, "Wake up! LOOK! THINK! Use that brain you are alleged to have, put it to use and HEAL me!"
    I'm still disabled but I now have a very full and happy life. I'm productive. I have accomplished good things. I have people coming to me asking me for help - publishing, writing, teaching, friendship - I have found ways to do these things, getting around what used to seem to be insurmountable obstacles.

    I am not telling you this to say, "See what I can do! You have no right to feel this bad!" because you DO have a right. I am trying to show you - you will find that you can do a lot more than you now realise, but you have a little way to go yet before you can discover this for yourself. Don't rush yourself. Don't feel guilty. And don't compare. You have your body to deal with. I have no way of knowing how I would cope, if we swapped placed. I might flounder, wonder where you find the strength. We just don't know.

    All we can do, is make the best of what we have got. But before you can do this you have to KNOW what you still have got.

    Use what you need to. Hang in there. Be miserable when you need to, without feeling guilty. You need to go through this, to get to the better place on the other side, a place where the quad stick can be a useful tool to help you accomplish the things you never knew you could do.

    Heather, consider yourself hugged from across the Pacific. And that's got to be a very big hug!

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Marg -

    Thank you so much.

    I am struggling so hard to come to some sort of acceptance. And just when I think I've gotten there something new comes along and it's like I have to start all over.

    Like you, I've had to hide - or have felt like I had to hide - my illness. People at work were just plain cruel. There's no other way to explain it. So, I made light of it, hid it and muddled through. Until I couldn't anymore. My family wasn't exactly supportive for a long time, either. I started to wonder if I was just a hypochondriac. It certainly seemed to be everyone else's opinion of me. Either that or that I was attention-seeking. I didn't know what to think anymore. Even now, those thoughts creep in.

    I am finding new paths in my life. I am finding new passions. I am learning a lot about myself. I am finally starting to work on issues that I wouldn't work on in the past. I now have no choice. It's sink or swim - and I'm going to swim. I'm learning to lean on people in ways I never would have before. I remember an ex-boyfriend getting frustrated with me and saying, "You never let anyone help you." He was right. My experience has taught me that the only person I can depend on is me. I'm learning to ask for help, I'm learning to trust and I'm finding the good in people that for a long time I didn't think existed. While I struggle with the physical, cognitive and emotional issues, I feel blessed to be surrounded by the people I am - the board members here, friends and family, even neighbors who's names I barely know.

    I'm a firm believer in things happen for a reason. And maybe the physical problems is my body's way of screaming out for attention for the emotional problems. That may sound kooky, but this illness is outright forcing me to deal with things that I just buried away. So, there is growth coming out of this.

    When I see my GP again on Nov 3, I'm going to talk to her about filing for disability. I've fought that. So many people have told me I should do this. But, I was clinging desperately to the hope that I was going to be better by now. It's time to start dealing with the here and now and hoping for a better outcome. If I get better, I can always go off disability. I didn't see it that way before. It was like a certain kind of finality that I wasn't ready to accept.

    I will find my way through this. I'm a fighter and a survivor. Sometimes, I just need a hand to hold along the way.