I Am Wondering If I Should Consider A Wheel Chair, Instead Of A Cane Or A Walker?

Question

Asked by Jessielee72

I Am Wondering If I Should Consider A Wheel Chair, Instead Of A Cane Or A Walker?

Hello everyone! I am new here and I just had a question. I was diagnosed with sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis a little over a year ago. I have done well considering I have not been able to handle most of the meds for RA. I have however had a tremendous amount of pain especially in my knees and hips, along with nauseating back pain lately. I have always been pretty energetic and I love to go,go,go, but lately when I am walking around it is getting to the point everytime I take a step I flinch because it hurts so much. I am stubborn about not slowing down...but I believe I am doing more damage now than not. I have considered a cane, but both knees and hips are affected. I have also considered a walker, even though I really don't want to go there, but the problem is that my arthritis is also painful in my wrists, fingers,shoulders and elbows... so any pressure on my arms will cause problems also. So my question is a wheelchair? To what point do I need to move to that decision? Please help me!

Answer

Hi Jessie,

I have been in almost the exact same situation and have had to make the same hard choices, so I thought I'd give you a reply since it took me a long time to take this step myself.

I also have seronegative RA, along with fibro and an autoimmune liver disease. I was diagnosed with the RA about 6 years ago and I've been fighting it ever since. Over the past year I've had a lot more progression and have had to use a cane constantly and a walker sometimes at home but never in public because I was too embarrassed (and probably did more damage because of my stubborness). However, within the past 6 months I've had so much pain in my shoulders as well as my hips, knees and feet that walking more than 20-30 feet has become almost impossible and incredibly painful and taxing. Slowly, I watched as all the things I used to love to do left my life and I felt like I was losing pieces of myself with every activity that I could not longer do or enjoy. We bought a manual wheelchair but I couldn't push myself more than a few feet because of my shoulder and hands - I had to rely on my husband to push me and he's not in the best of health either.

I've had to cut my work hours back to half but I am one of the lucky ones who have an employee based disability insurance that helps me retain enough income to live on. But work was taking everything out of me. My friends and my doctor suggested I get a mobility chair and I, of course, resisted. But my husband put it to me this way one night, would you rather sit at home and never be able to go out and do anything with me or your friends/family, or would you rather suck it up, get a motorized wheechair and be able to go to the mall, the park, to the movies, to festivals, concerts, etc....?? He emphasized that the chair was there to help on days and in places I couldn't walk, but I wasn't confined to it, so my ability to not use it was also still there. I couldn't argue with that, so I started the process with my doctor to get the chair through my insurance.

Now at work I can get up and make my own copies, not worry about the pain of the long walk to the bathroom, get coffee and visit co-workers without pain or the extraordinary effort to walk to those people and places. I can browse through the giant bookstore on my own when my husband and I go or stroll through a mall or local fair... things that I've been unable to do for at least 3-4 years. I have sucked up a bit of my pride and admitted to the world that I do need help because RA has taken something from me... but my new chair has given me back a piece of myself that I lost a good while back and that feeling is immeasurable.

Go with the chair, get your life back... YOU deserve it. :)

Good luck and God bless...