For some time I have been debating with myself as to whether I should get a walking stick. I guess a major part of it is that I don’t want to admit to myself that I need one and I also worry about the reaction of others – weirdly both positively and negatively.
My hips, legs, and feet get so sore from walking just a short distance or standing for any period of time. I get a lot of sensory overloads which affect my balance. If I am honest I am frightened that I am going to fall over in public and to have something to lean on I think will go a long way to giving me a bit more confidence if I am out of the house.
In the last couple of days, I bit the bullet and ordered a collapsible lightweight stick. I tried to find one that isn’t too “old”, “invalid-like” or overt – not that easy I might add. It arrived yesterday and as soon as I unpacked it and tried it out I knew I had made the right decision. I immediately felt safer walking and more comfortable. I would encourage anyone in similar circumstances to go for it – it sounds strange but I feel reassured by my stick like I have an old friend walking with me.
Tomorrow my son is playing football. I love watching him play and he adores his football matches. The only issue is standing outside for an hour or more is agony – sheer agony. Not that I want him to know that and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But now I feel less trepidation about going knowing I can rely on my stick. Of course, I will need my wife to get us there and to help me but I feel like I am somehow more independent, I feel a bit more empowered, no longer quite as imprisoned by this illness.
I am worried about what people will think, though. No doubt it will draw the inevitable questions and I will have to explain the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and prognosis of ME/CFS probably several times. But, you know what, that is also a good thing. The more people who are well informed the more that can be done to beat this illness. So bring it on – my stick and I are ready or you!