So I brought a walking stick…
Not going to lie, shopping for a walking stick at 20 years old was a surreal experience. It was not something I ever expected to need and it was something I most certainly didn’t want. But here we are, I’m now the owner of a sparkly purple walking stick.
Long story short, for those who are new, I have chronic pain in my feet and through that I’ve now got dodgy knees and hips. For the past year and a bit I’ve been in some degree of pain every day what often causes me issues with walking or standing. Some days I’m fine and I can walk around normally without help as whilst I’m in pain it’s manageable (though these days are now few and far between). However, other days I’m in so much pain I can hardly walk let alone stand, for example today it took me an hour and a half to get out of bed. I have a cabin bed with a ladder and I was in too much pain to go down four steps… it kinda sucked.
In a bid to have some level of independence back and to allow me to be as normal as possible I eventually started to use crutches to help me get about. I started off with only using one but eventually moved on to two for more support. Using crutches comes with it’s own set of problems, my main one being that I was off to university soon and needed to be walking with less support so I could have a more normal uni experience. I thought they would create a barrier whilst I was there. I’ve also been getting stronger walking unaided for short periods of time, so I found that on better pain days the crutch (I’d only be using one) would cause more issues than help. It’s big and clunky and if I’m not in massive amounts of pain and not using it properly, it does more damage to my feet than good. So at the start of this week I made the decision to get a folding walking stick, one that I could keep in my bag at all times. It allows me to walk without aid for as long as I can manage, building up strength, but have the security of having an aid when the pain gets too much.
It’s taken me a long time to accept that I need mobility aids now, but I think I’m pretty much come to terms with it, and now that I do feel comfortable talking about it I can write about a topic that’s been bugging me since day one of my crutches – The stigma of using mobility aids as a young person.