If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen that I had some trouble getting the cane I’d ordered to arrive to me – least of all in a timely manner for the trip out of town that I’d planned.
This will not be about that.
As annoying as it was, the main hurdle to getting a cane was… me. So my hopes writing about it today is that if you find yourself in a similar situation, that this might help you.
I received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis back in late April. It was not a surprise if I’m honest, but i’m also still not fully sure I believe it. I’ve got the sero-negative kind, which means it just doesn’t show up in blood tests. The good news is that if it truly is RA, this type responds well to treatment. But RA treatment is “it might start helping within a month, or 6, or a year, or it mightn’t work and then we’ll have to try something different”.
What this means in practice is that I now had confirmation that my pain issues – my mobility issues – are here to stay at least a while longer. To give you a bit of context, my “hard limit” is 6k steps. I know if I exceed that, Things Will Suck tomorrow. Part of it is being out and about is exhausting and there’s not always anywhere to sit, so I have to force myself to go further than I should. Some days it’s just pain all over, and going the 200m to the shop or the library is hard.
So my thinking is, get a folding cane. It’ll be extra support for bad pain joints, it’ll be good on bad pain days, and if you HAVE to go places where you can’t sit, you can shift your weight off whichever is the bad leg that day, and if it’s a bad day you can still do necessary things, just better/more easily.
I’d say finding a cane here in Ireland was hard (it was!) but the real trouble was getting my mind to agree to make the purchase. I listened to a bunch of youtube videos about it, including this one by Hannah Witton that also made me realise that being able to signal in public that I might need to sit would help (I do always feel self conscious on the bus, taking the disabled seats when the other option is having to go up the steps). Do I need a cane? yes, I truly think I do. But accepting that was truly the hardest part. So I had at some point 20 tabs open with different tabs and pretended the real issue was the kind of grip I needed or how tall they were, but I just had to convince myself to get one!
And now, I’ve received the cane today, a very lovely hurry cane with a tripod tip so it can stand on its own. And I love it! But I think the next brain hurdle will be Using It In Public and I’m not sure I’m there yet. But, small steps (pun fully intended)!
We all deserve the accessibility tools that we need, but sometimes it’s just hard to convince yourself that you need them, as opposed to it being general disability rights for other people. It’s ok to take your time to wrap your head around it, but I think for me the trigger was realising that the more I postpone, the more I was just knowingly putting myself in pain when I knew how to avoid it. And if you’ve got chronic pain, you don’t need any more of that than you already got!