Saturday, October 15, 2011

Suck it, Doctor

Less than 2 weeks ago a neurologist told me it was doubtful I would be able to walk with a cane. He felt my right side was still too weak to go very far without support. However I knew at my next physical therapy session, my PT would have me attempt to use a quad cane, just to see what it’s like. A quad is one of those canes that are typically reserved for the 80 years and older crowd. It’s got a big silver rod mounted on a metal square with 4 prong-legs for support. Like this:

Part of me was excited about possibly graduating away from the walker, but the other part of me had a vision of myself with that ugly hunk of metal hunched over a slot machine in Vegas, clinging to a bucket of pennies with a Virginia Slim hanging out of my mouth. I mean seriously? Me, with a freakin’ quad cane? Oh brother. Then I remembered when I refused to go on a public outing with the rehab staff because I wasn’t ready to be stared at in a wheelchair. I remembered how awkward I felt strolling into the mall with my old lady walker, like I was embarrassed the “cool kids” would stare. I mean hell, I was one of the cool kids and now I’m totally losing my street cred. So fuck it. Bring on the quad.

I went to physical therapy and we tried it. I walked well with it, but it was awkward. It didn’t feel fluid as I felt each prong hit the floor one at a time. After about 25ft, the PT said “hey, wanna see how you walk with one of these?”

I swear I could hear cherubs singing as part of the roof opened and a ray of light shone down on this cool, sleek, shiny black cane. I said “ uh hellz yeah I wanna see what that’s like!” He showed me how to properly place the cane ahead of me on my good side and take a step with my bad foot, then follow through with my good foot. After 2-3 steps I realized I was leaning on it, so I straightened out and pictured myself walking like a normal person. I started to giggle. I couldn’t contain myself. I could do it! Suck it, Doctor!

I went home, showed my husband and asked him “honestly, how bad is my limp?” He watched me take a few steps and said “Wow. It just looks like you’re walking all gangster.” So it isn’t just all in my head. (The not-so-bad-limp part, not the gangster part.) I have a lot of practicing to do in order to adjust. The walker was also psychologically comforting because it was support on both sides. My pimp-ass new cane will take some getting used to.

I figure I’ll go back to the mall to practice. This time I’ll walk around with my head high, limpin’ like a gangsta and reclaim my street cred. I even gave my cane a custom detail, so they’ll all know this bitch means business. Peace.

"It's hard out here being a pimp."


  1. right on!

    i remember that the move to a quad cane was so scary - one-handed walking is hard! i had no idea.

  2. I love the stability of the quad cane.

  3. Do you believe everything you are told? Doctors often get it wrong and therapists are often in need of therapy. I speak from experience. I once sold the equipment that you mentioned.

    Take care dear and best wishes for a speedy recovery,