In the shower this morning, I rested for a moment on my shower chair. The warm water felt good and I felt secure on my chair. It’s always there when I need it and I rarely give it a thought these days. It amuses me now to remember how it hurt my pride to purchase it.
After my first MS attacks, I was also reluctant to buy a cane. Owning one would make me handicapped. It would change everything, or so I thought at the time. It turned out that it was a smart move. Once I started using the cane, it was easier to walk and I felt less handicapped. In reality, the status of my disability was unaffected by the cane. The MS is a fact of life, whether I use mobility aids or not.
In time, I made additional accommodations. There's my seldom used wheelchair taking up space in the closet. It is comforting to know that it is available when I need it. The settings on my computer help with vision. My special pen keeps my penmanship in line. The stool in the kitchen, the handicapped parking placard, and my carefully chosen slippers are part of my daily life. I add a pillow, as needed, to my office chair to help with posture and I keep a fan close by. I never hesitate to turn on the air conditioner. I am now the proud owner of a half dozen canes.
These changes came about slowly, over several years' time. Each change has made my life with MS easier. These helpful items have no influence on my disabled (or not) status. They help me to get through each day as easily as possible. They serve as my army of assistants.
In a previous post, “Are You Disabled?” I wondered about the labels society places on us, and the labels we impose upon ourselves. Whether we choose to think of ourselves as disabled or not, using a mobility aid or other helpful device can be very liberating.
These tools are at our disposal, and if we wish to maintain our independence, we need to make use of them. I would feel pretty foolish if I had to stay home and miss an outing because my pride would not allow me to use a cane in public, or to pull out my handicapped parking placard.
Life is too short and too uncertain to allow any of it to pass us by. If it exists and will help you to stay in the game, I say take advantage!