(Adapted from “When is it time to upgrade?” by Tumblr user imzadde*)
Depending on the condition(s) you’re dealing with, you may find yourself in need of a mobility aid. This is a big step from an emotional standpoint, as it requires admitting to yourself that you need help. It may also be difficult to go out with a visible medical device. However, a lot of spoonies say that they’re glad to have their mobility device—both for what it does for them, and for how it works as a signal to others that they have special needs.
Since we’re young and not expected to end up with mobility devices, it can be hard to determine when it’s time to start using one. There isn’t a simple answer to this question. It really depends on your needs and comfort levels, and it’s an entirely personal choice; that is, if you feel like it’ll be useful to you, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Canes & Crutches
It’s time to get a cane if you begin having mobility issues that are affected by balance or the ability of any part of your leg to operate correctly under you. The cane is meant to act in temporary support of a leg that occasionally does not work correctly, or add a third leg for better balance. It can also be useful if you expend a lot of energy staying upright and could use something to lean on. Check your local drugstore for walking sticks, canes, and arm crutches and see which works best for your needs!
If your balance becomes worse or you’re having minor trouble with both legs, you’ll find switching to a walker is the best option. The walker is only meant to be leaned on temporarily to allow your legs a moment’s rest before continuing on, and to keep you from falling over when put off-balance. Rollators, which have wheels, brakes, and seats attached, will help folks who need the occasional rest, or who can’t hold themselves up if they fall unexpectedly. These can also be found at drugstores, or specially ordered.
If walking does more damage to your body than sitting in a chair, or your balance, pain, or fatigue are so intense that walking seems laughable, you should consider getting a wheelchair. Or, put differently, if you ask yourself and others, “Do I need a wheelchair?” it’s probably time to get one. People do not aspire to be in wheelchairs, so if you’re considering it, that’s a sign that it will be useful for you. You can find cheap ones to try out at thrift stores, and you can purchase a better-equipped one for longer-term use once you’re sure you need it.
This post was excerpted from the informational zine Chronically Badass.
About the Author:
Diane is a newly-diagnosed spoonie living in Portland, Oregon. She runs a blog Spoonie Living (spoonie-living.tumblr.com), and has also published a free, informational zine for spoonies called Chronically Badass (https://gumroad.com/l/chronically-badass).