How to use canes. The psychological leap.

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Postby kebsa » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:18 am

Dom made some very good points, at least if you do have a fall when you are using a cane or crutch, people do not assume that you are drunk! I know that one of my friends with Ms who has resisted the idea of using walking aides is frequently accused of being drunk or affected by drugs- one of the "joys" of having an invisble disability!
I have been dependant on walking aides since before my dx of Ms as i am also an amputee, i won't say that i was never self conscious about it but it did not last long as i very quickly realized that life was easier with the aides than without! These days i make a point of having a range of canes for my better days when i can walk, i have some quite decorative ones, my most recent pair veing woodgrained but denim blue in colour with a silver accent to the handgrips- looks great with jeans, i have some that have floral decoration, some that are basic black, then a pair of forearm crutches that are bright red. a good deal of the tme i am wheelchair dependant these days and the attititude that i have is that rather than the Aide being a symbol of disability it is a tool to maximise independance, whether i am having a good day and can use my canes or i am having a bad day and need to use my power chair, i am better with these tools than without, even on my worst day, using my power chair i can do my own shopping and housework etc with minimal assistance, without them i would be limited to my home and would need substantial help for day to day tasks- so for me wlaking Aides are a good thing not a bad thing.
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Postby jordan » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:44 pm

TwistedHelix wrote:One thing I forgot to mention: I did a fair amount of travelling after my diagnosis, and my cane was my constant companion. I spent six months in San Francisco, seven weeks in Hong Kong and China, some time in Canada, Egypt, Switzerland etc. and it became a personal tradition to place it in the local waters of everywhere I went, so although it now hangs useless in a cupboard it is a surprisingly emotive reminder to think that I dipped it in the river Nile, the South China Sea, an underground lake in a cave in China, Lake Lucerne and so on.
Okay, I know that all sounds a bit weird but that's nothing to the looks I get from friends when I tell them I have " dipped my stick" around the world!

Hi TwistedHelix, Do you have a picture of this infamous cane? :)
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Postby GeoGuy » Sat Nov 24, 2007 6:13 pm

Hello All!

I'm beginning to feel like a cane would be useful for me as well, at least some of the time. I am still ambulatory and haven't taken any falls since right after my exacerbation. However I am experiencing increased weakness (that almost sounds like an oxymoron) in my left leg. It's starting to affect my gait, which leads to, dare I say it, a pain in the butt. I'm also having increased vision problems, which leads me to wonder if I am beginning another exacerbation. I'm schedule for a brain & spine MRI next Friday to check for lesion activity. But, that's not the point here.

I've looked at a lot of on-line stores for canes because I can't find any local speciality stores. Everything I've found locally looks like it's left over from a 1950's doctor show on TV. I was wondering if ya'll have experience with any of the on-line stores, good or bad. As for styles, my personel favorite so far is the root knobed Irish blackthorn, but it doesn't look that comfortable in the hand, which goes back to my frustration with the paucity of local selection and stores. I'm hesitant to buy something I haven't tried. I would appreciate any input ya'll may have.

Thanks!

Jack
RRMS since 01/07.
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Postby TwistedHelix » Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:34 am

Hello Jack,
I tried Googling, "stylish walking canes", and there seemed to be plenty of results. Some of the stores will allow you to return goods that are in new condition, so it might be an idea to try some of the limited stock in your local stores to get an idea of the best height, handle shape etc., Then look at the online shops for the wide range of styles. You will also find guidelines for choosing the best dimensions.
Unfortunately, there can be a real compromise between form and function: a particular type of handle may appeal to you visually but not be practical or suitable for your hands or individual weaknesses.
Perhaps also your local occupational therapy department might let you try different shapes to see what suits you best, then you can buy online with more confidence, I hope that helps,

PS Jordan , There are thankfully very few pictures of me in existence , and most of those were taken by the police to use in "Wanted " posters .
Dom
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Postby AllyB » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:59 am

Hey All

This is a tough one! I also need a 'walking aid' (my neuro said so, and the number of falls I have had support his recommendation, not to mention that I can't get very far on my own!), but "vanity, thy name is woman!"....Or so I thought. The only functional aids available here are those wonderfully sturdy, but horribly ugly (no offence to anyone) grey aluminium crutches that support your forearm - the kind I used when I broke my ankle...Using them is like being pregnant - complete strangers feel compelled to ask you very personal questions and get upset if you don't respond with equal enthusiasm. And yet, those oh so sweet and slender canes with sterling silver handles are absolute crap at actually helping support you (my husband collects antiques, so we have a few of those around, and they are so gorgeous, but I don't know what they were made for - it certainly wasn't as a real walking aid). I am sure there must be something a little less obtrusive than the crutch, but a little more functional than the slender canes - at present, I have a traditional SA knobkerrie - it is a very sturdy, rough-hewn stick with a rounded 'knob' ( I am not being pornographic here!) as a handle - it is great for warding off potential muggers, but the grip is not great for long-term use.
I still haven't really got to grips with the psych angle of actually using a stick (for walking - I have no problem hitting people with it) - I just kind of ignore the necessity and take it along like I do my handbag...If anyone has an idea for a discrete, but functional stick, please let me know...I know vanity is foolish when compared to necessity, but I hate all the unwelcome attention that crutches garner, especially in the absence of a cast on one's leg...I am still relatively young (as many with ms are) so I cannot just mutter 'old age' :roll: (as my great Auntie Alma does - she had hip replacements and loves to share her story)...Sigh, this has become rambling, but I am sure that some of you will relate to not wanting all that horrible pity from people who don't even know you....
Al
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Postby kebsa » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:53 am

If you are looking for an on lline source of canes that has some quite sylish options, have a look a www.fashionablecanes.com
i have bought a couple from them, there price is reasonable and they have some really quite attractive options so tht you do bot feel like you have steped right out of a medical supply company commerical
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Postby AllyB » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:31 am

Thanks Kebsa, I will definitley have a look. I don't mean to whine, I know I am fortunate to be able to get around at all - I just hate to be so visible - with an invisible disability! Unobtrusive is my middle name, so a discrete cane that is also supportive is essential - thanks for the advice.
Al
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Postby kebsa » Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:53 am

thats fine ally, i have taken the other approach, no way i can manage without the aid but i sure as h*** do not intend to look like i am straight from a medical supply company! function is important but it used ti bug me that i ciould spend a small fortune on a nice outfit to go out and then the whole look gets spoilt by a couple of rather plain looking canes! I live my denim colored wood grain ones, and have been eyeing up a couple of others on the site too! They even have a section where they feature canes that have been used by characters from TV shows like house!

A lot of people find it tough to admit to needing to use a can or a walker to begin with and i was really no different to begin with but i realized so quickly that life was so much easier with the right tool that my attitude soon changed. I have a friend who is really resistant to using a walker but has become very unsteady on her feet due to MS and has had several falls. She is young and also has slurred speech so even though people came to her- aid when she fell out in public she usually faced comments about it being to early in the day to be so drunk- she now uses either canes for sort distaces or rollator for longer distances, she is in her mid 30's and no longer gets the unsympayheyic judgmental comments- the aid tells others that there is a hidden disability. I can do so much more by using the orrect tool, i can only walk a few ateps and use a chair most fo the time but a power cahir means that i can work, do my shopping etc etc completely independantly, i re arrange my own furniture at home by using my chair like a bull dozer- without these tools i would be reliant on carers and i wouold much rather do things for myself than have to rely on carers as long as i can
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Postby jordan » Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:51 am

TwistedHelix wrote:
PS Jordan , There are thankfully very few pictures of me in existence , and most of those were taken by the police to use in "Wanted " posters .

:wink: You lift people up with your humor. Many thanks!
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Postby gwa » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:06 pm

One thing about using a cane or walker is that people keep their distance from me as they can see that I have a walking problem.

It makes the possibility of getting tripped or run over less than going anywhere without the aids.

At this stage, however, I would be crawling on the floor without my walker, but in the early stages I found the cane handy for keeping people away from me.

gwa
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Postby Punchy » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:25 pm

I have a cane that I use rarely for times when my back is bad or my legs are bothering me.

I likely could get around ok without it, but with my 40 minute commute to work on the subway I just can't handle standing the whole way. With the cane, people can see that I need to sit down and are more accomodating. Without it, I look like a healthy young woman who's being selfish for not offering up her seat.
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Re: How to use canes. The psychological leap.

Postby jarred » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:22 am

Has anyone tried the Hurrycane? I own one and I am very fond of it. I saw it on TV and it def is a better cane and kinda operates much like a walker. It can balance itself (stands up) which is super great and the foot pivots. Thought I would recommend it since I know others like it and maybe some haven't heard of it yet. Here's the website -
http://www.thehurrycane.com
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