Looking down into my family room from my kitchen table, I noticed my blue, metallic walker with the seat on it had become an end table. Fortunately, it blends in well with the blue décor of the room. It holds the remote, phone, keys, papers, snacks and it’s portable. It has become such a part of the furnishings that I forgot I once used it to get around. Now it is being repurposed as furniture or auxiliary seating. This realization made me a little queasy, because I couldn’t remember when I stopped walking. I know it was a gradual process and I’m assuming that comes from having MS for many years.
Signs of the struggle to stay on my feet are all over this house. The wallpaper alongside the door leading from my bedroom into the bath is completely worn away from clutching the frame to steady myself as I made the transition from carpet to tile. Grab bars at all heights and angles now go unused except for the one of three in the powder room, which is perfect for hanging towels.
My son became one of my best assistive devices for walking for about six months. When we were out, I firmly had my cane in one hand and the other in a firm grip on the back of his neck. He lovingly referred to the move as that “chokie thing.” It worked until he shot past me in height, twelve years ago, I think.
I suppose I should have been keeping track of the milestones in my MS Journey Journal, but what a boring and depressing read that would be. MS changes your life. I can’t remember the year I stopped walking and perhaps I don’t want to. I am resigned to using a wheelchair. But, on a recent shopping trip to Macy’s, a darling three-year-old girl came right up to me and pointing at my wheelchair told me she really liked my bike. Occurrences such as that can change your point of view.
I have a similar walker in red in my bedroom and it too has become a piece of furniture. It holds my hair dryer, makeup, piles of folded clean laundry on the seat and it makes a great place to hang unmatched socks. But, I have to remember, some people think my wheelchair makes a nice bike.
Breaking the cycle of exclusion: Embracing cultural competence in physical activity research for people with MS
Cultural competence in research involves considering the culture and diversity of a population.
An MS diagnosis in college didn’t stop Téa from cheering for the NFL.