Last week’s post, titled ‘Is that person really disabled?’ obviously touched a nerve. It got more reaction on social media, more comments on this blog itself, than anything I’ve written for a long time.
A lot of the reaction came from people who don’t necessarily consider themselves disabled, but merely ‘inconvenienced’ by their various problems which mean they sometimes have to use a disabled parking space or a disabled toilet.
Well, I would say that although I don’t look disabled for most of the time, I’m more than inconvenienced, specifically because the damage caused by my stroke to my cerebellum means my balance and co-ordination is less than good at times and downright bad at others.
Walking in a straight line is often difficult, sometimes impossible (particularly when I’m tired, which is often) and I have been known to fall over in the street, at 10am and even when using my walking stick. And this week, I lost my walking stick.
Well, that isn’t exactly true. I didn’t lose it, I left it somewhere - in the pub where I’d been attending a business networking breakfast, to be exact. But I didn’t realise I had left it there until I got home, the pub was six miles away, Mrs Warrior needed the car……
I texted various members of the team that runs the group to see if anyone had picked it up (they hadn’t) but the group has a good relationship with the pub’s owner and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hands it to me when we meet there next week.
What’s more, there is a shop just five minutes’ walk from Warrillow Towers which sells walking sticks; not NHS-style ones in metallic grey but sticks in a myriad of colours and styles. I could have pink with flowers (no thanks….), bright blue, red, purple stripes (one that looked like a stick of 1950s Blackpool rock), brown, green…..
I could even have ones with wrist-straps attached, so that I wouldn’t leave them in pubs.
In the end, I opted for a black one with a design of silver fern leaves wrapped around it; I haven’t yet checked to see if it glows in the dark (I’ll wait until winter nights for that), but it does look very smart with a black wooden handle and a bronze top.
It cost slightly less than I expected, although when you are on a fixed income, unnecessary expenditure is generally best avoided. But the fact is that I now can’t do without a walking stick, even for the couple of hours it took to replace the lost item. I’d rather not be using a walking stick at the age of 54, but if the alternative is broken glasses, or broken skin or broken bones thanks to a fall in the street, I have no choice.
And now I have my first idea for a Christmas present. Does anyone want to buy me one of those contraptions which folds up your stick when you’re not using it?