When I first got my rollator (a four-wheeled walker like this guy, for the uninitiated), I was a little iffy. For one thing, I wasn’t a hundred per cent sure how it would help, if it even would at all. The biggest thing was embarrassment — plain and simple. If everything looked normal, I told myself, I could pretend everything was normal.
No matter the charades I tried to play, the only things that had been “normal” for over two years were all my medical test results. But, still undiagnosed, it was tempting to try and keep up appearances. Eventually I bit back my pride and used the darn walker, probably on a day where carrying a purse just felt like too much.
I’m proud to say I haven’t looked back since.
A few weeks ago, the owner of a café I frequent saw me with my rollator for the first time. There was sympathy and perhaps pity in her eyes — she hates to see young people so sick, she said. And that’s when it struck me. To the people who don’t need them, mobility aids like rollators can seem like a bad thing. Especially when being used by a younger person.
“I know this looks bad,” I told her. “But it’s actually a really good thing.” With my rollator, I don’t have to worry about how heavy my purse is. With my rollator, I don’t need to worry about having to stand in line, feeling my energy drain away with each passing minute. With my rollator, I can get milk from 7-11 without worrying about carrying it home.
The stares still bother me a little, but not enough to take away the feeling that comes with knowing I won’t fall and crush my knees if my legs give up mid-stride. No matter how abnormal it looks, the darn thing just helps me feel more normal.
The same goes for people who look thoroughly confused when I get out of my wheelchair in public. Some people take the opportunity to ask about it, and only some of them do it respectfully. No matter how peeved I am at someone (looking at you, department store lady who addressed me like a child), I’m generally happy to get up on my soapbox.
I mean…what’s a blog really for, am I right? 🙂