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How can I come to terms with using a walking stick

(66 Posts)
slipperandpjsmum Sun 02-Dec-12 19:50:55

Somedays I struggle to walk and using a walking stick helps. But I just cannot bring myself to use it when I am out. So I struggle on in pain rather than use it. Has anyone else been presented with this? How did you deal with it? I don't know why, maybe it confirms my declining health, I don't want people to look at me differently?

Please help

sashh Sun 02-Dec-12 22:32:30

I resisted for a long time, but I use it all the time now. One thing is that people see the stick and are more understanding, you don't get asked to move more quickly.

It did take time.

I started by only using it when I was at my worst, then gradually used it more.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 22:45:49

By realising you can achieve more when you use it. If you sprain an ankle, are you worried how people would perceive a crutch? If you have a headache, would you be embarrassed by a paracetamol?

Your walking stick is an aid to help you stay safe and healthy. It's no more embarrassing than a plaster or a leg brace.

You need to read about spoons. I will find the link. Using my walking stick means I have more spoons to use on other things. It's a small thing for a big reward.

BBS with a linkie.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 22:47:48

Here we are.

[http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/]

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 22:48:09
MoominmammasHandbag Sun 02-Dec-12 22:50:31

I started using my stick on holiday when no one knew me. Then I finally went public at my six year olds birthday party. To be honest it was all a bit of an anticlimax; one of the kids asked me why I had a stick And I said it was cos I'm a bit wobbly when I have to walk a long way. All the kids nodded and agreed it was a good idea. None of the mums really said anything. I would say my stick gives me about 25 percent more energy and saves me a lot of pain. On the downside, when I fell over recently, instead of landing on my knees I went straight down onto my face.

MoominmammasHandbag Sun 02-Dec-12 22:54:35

Oh yeah and I'm really crap at juggling purse and stick when I'm trying to pay for something in a shop

I have coloured crutches, can't buy heels anymore so shoe budget goes on crutches to match different outfits. I found that NHS issue grey crutches leads to lots of 'what have you done to yourself?' type remarks which then leads to that embarassing 'actually I'm disabled.....' conversation. If you have coloured crutches people assume they are more of a permanent fixture and so ask less dickheady questions. I got mine from www.chicaidcrutches.co.uk/pages/coloured-crutches-344.htm

I felt the same when I first started using a stick, it's a hard adjustment mentally as well as physically, I found one of the hardest things was people asking 'what have you been up to' ?
Thinking I'd hurt my leg.
For the last 2 months I've had to use a push along walker,
Or my 'wheels' as they've become known, I haven't had any comments since having it,
but DH has noticed a lot of older people looking at me disapprovingly, for some reason.
I'm usually concentrating so hard on staying up right, that I don't notice luckerly.
When I first used a stick I ordered a patterned one of eBay which was lighter and nicer looking that the hospital issue ones.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 23:00:39

Aye, I want a big purple shiny bling walking stick, the market does need to look to it's younger users. I don't want flowers or tartan.

I use a mobility scooter too, it's a life saver! My wheels have kept me going at one of the toughest times of my life.

<waves to rabbits> my mobility scooter has a faux wicker basket on the front ROCK!

missnevermind Sun 02-Dec-12 23:09:20

I feel a right wally using my stick. I don't use it too often as I usually have the pram to lean on.
I refused to get one for ages, but when my Granny passed away Grandad insisted I take hers.
What it took me ages to get used too was that while it was painful I was usually OK to get 'there' but I really needed the stick to get back.

As the same as the spoons - I tell my family I only have so many 'bends' in me. So I have to save them for when I need them.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 23:10:02

I want a proper leg warmer too, like babies in buggies, except giant sized for me. I carry my daughter along standing between my legs at the moment as a windbreak.

MoominmammasHandbag Sun 02-Dec-12 23:10:40

Yep I have a nice patterned stick. I walk a bit funny anyway so I suppose no one has been particularly surprised to see me using one. A scooter though, to be honest it would help me so much . But I can't quite get my head aroun it yet.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 23:13:08

Yeah, I do waddle like a duck when I get tired. My limp is not sexy at all. Whereas my walking stick is a good poking device, keeps me upright, makes people move out my way, and is great to use around the house so I don't have to bend over to move things. Am I selling it to you yet?

SirBoobAlot Sun 02-Dec-12 23:14:54

I have to use mine every day. Have been since I was sixteen. Once you use it a few times, and realise how much easier it makes life, then you can feel better about it.

You can get some fantastic small folding, 'pretty looking' sticks to just put in your bag if you prefer. I use crutches now so I don't drop them as my hands have been getting more numb (unrelated to stick use).

I was more conscious of it to begin with, then I worked out that less people were looking at me with a stick than they were when I was falling over because my ridiculous legs were giving way before I started using it.

Bite the bullet!

I now have purple crutches, but before that had an electric blue stick, one with multicoloured spots on, and plain ones that I stuck various ribbons and gems on. Vogue are definitely missing out on an accessory section wink

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 23:19:51

Yes, I have a pair of purple crutches on my amazon wishlist. Mobility aids on a wishlist, things I never thought I'd have at the age of thirty, lol.

Some of us entrepreneurial folks should start up a nice chic mobility aid shop, for the fashion minded.

BlissfullyIgnorant Sun 02-Dec-12 23:21:32

Get a stick (or several) that says 'Yeah? What of it?' from here. They do accessories, too, like the attachment for use in ice and snow, but do resist using that on the feet of annoying people in the car park outside the supermarket! grin

Style it out and perfect your fuck off stare! I had a folksy friend 'minifelts' customise me some of her animal mobile phone pouches so I could affix my blackberry and lipgloss to my crutches. My consultant needed me to have my phone in arms reach at all times and it was either that or a fabulous panic button necklace. So I ended up with purple crutches with a purple fox shaped pouch and a red fox set too outs self to a very small number of people

SirBoobAlot Sun 02-Dec-12 23:40:37

Oooh, and check out Glamsticks too. Lovely to look at, even if you can't stretch your budget to one!

weregoingtothezoo Mon 03-Dec-12 05:59:30

Wow - BlissfullyIgnorant what a fab link!
I recently became disabled. Whilst in hospital the nurses said "most younger patients refuse to..." complete with wear splints, use a wheelchair, use zimmer frames, use toilet frames, wear special/sensible shoes, use sticks". I'm not sure why they said it tbh, I got into my head pretty quickly that I could have my vanity and struggle or probably fail, or use the equipment and learn to walk again.
But I have had my two hospital issue sticks for months now and it might be time for something from that link (an 80 yr old gentleman in my choir has a far nicer stick than I do!) - it's admitting I'll need them for a long time. I'll need them for a long time.
Too busy trying to keep going to look at people's expressions tbh. I have to remind myself how lucky I am, often. That's how I get over my "not dealing with" issues.

ThoughtBen10WasBadPokemonOMG Mon 03-Dec-12 06:49:00

Perfect timing for this thread. I ordered a foldable shooting stick type thing yesterday as I am really struggling if I'm in a queue. Not sure that using a stick to help my waddle due to my arm/ shoulder problems.

ThoughtBen10WasBadPokemonOMG Mon 03-Dec-12 06:51:46

I might need to buy some stickers or something to bling it up a bit when it arrives though now I have seen the other options!

Footle Mon 03-Dec-12 15:18:14

I have needed a stick in the past and probably will again. To help with juggling purse , gloves, whatever , while trying not to drop the stick , you can buy a small rubber thingy that you put near the top of the stick . It's not conspicuous compared with the stick itself. It allows you to balance the stick on the counter or table next to you so the stick doesn't end up on the floor. This suggestion would be more help if I could remember the name of the thingy, but it came from Timpsons.

tazzle22 Mon 03-Dec-12 18:03:15

echo others in that the lessening of the pain made me bite the bullet, tBH I could not find sticks I liked to use so quickly decided an elbow crutch ( or two on a really bad day) far better.

wanna bling ones though.. ..... need to get the paint / craft stuff out....... or have a look at some the links above grin

slipperandpjsmum Mon 03-Dec-12 20:41:37

Thanks so very much for all those posts. I even chuckled reading them, which from where I am - feeling very sorry for myself just for now - that is really good!

You are right I need to try and alter my feelings and maybe people will see me differently but maybe different in a better way. I def see the world in a different way these days.

Thanks everyone. You have helped alot x

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Mon 03-Dec-12 22:10:50

I just brazen it out these days, went to school in my purple slippers with a bow on as they kept my feet the warmest today.

I need to get a plain black stick and vajazzle it methinks. Save some money on the Glamsticks prices. I have a glue gun and access to shiny things. I will have to show you all the results.

Aftereightsaremine Mon 03-Dec-12 22:20:30

I used to hate using my stick until I got a very pretty folding one which I use all the time. I also no longer get evil stares when getting out of my car when parked in a disabled bay which was always happening before I used my stick. It's also great for getting on the tube & banging it on the floor until someone gives me their seat!

fairyqueen Mon 03-Dec-12 22:30:15

I'm struggling with this at the moment. With or without a stick I struggle with people asking me wat I've done. I haven't 'done' anything, it's Got steadily worse since childhood and feels like it will keep on getting worse. DH told me to say it is arthritis, even though it isn't, just to stop me failing to explain.

Sorry, rambling. Thread just struck a raw nerve.

SirBoobAlot Mon 03-Dec-12 22:57:12

Fairy, people ask me if I've hurt myself. I just smile sweetly and say "no", then look them dead in the eye. No one has the balls to ask me to expand on it.

People are nosy, and people are rude. Don't let it get to you.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Mon 03-Dec-12 23:07:41

I just tell them my body is a disaster area and laugh.

fairyqueen Mon 03-Dec-12 23:10:40

SirBoob, I'll try that. In some ways I'm so confident but this is really getting to me. Have to go to work tomorrow with stick amd a dressing on my face from minor surgery. Am dreading it.

weegiemum Argentina Mon 03-Dec-12 23:21:53

I've had a neuro disability for almost exactly a year.

On the worst days I'm in a wheelchair, my stick helps me avoid that!

I got a ghastly metal one from the physio but have been able to surpass it with a lovely multicoloured spotty one that folds up! My nephew calls it "auntie Weegie's magic stick!" (but then he thinks my blue badge is a "magic" card cos I can park anywhere!!)

I try not to use it, I know my almost-13 year old dd1 is embarrassed by me, though her friends all seem ok with it to me.

But there are days where it's stick or fall down! And as I've got serious balance issues, I find it helps people to see I've got problems and they (usually) give me a bit more space (yes I'm looking at YOU mr man in tesco who knocked me over and didn't even stop!!)

SirBoobAlot Mon 03-Dec-12 23:22:22

I totally understand. Without wanting to depress you, you kind of get used to it. And you pick up some very witty responses. I have been known to say "Yes, its a walking stick. Have you never seen one before?" on a really shit day.

weegiemum Argentina Mon 03-Dec-12 23:29:37

I get a monthly drip in hospital to control my symptoms (I've got CIDP, or Chronic Guillan-barre syndrome -I'd love to hear from anyone else as it's so rare).

I know the drip is due when I'm using my stick in the house!

memphis83 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:40:54

I started using a stick at 21. My symptoms improved slightly once I started using it as I wasn't using so much of my energy on tryig to be 'normal' so when I use my stick I can actually do more. I also have bright crutches for when my legs are worse and an electric blue wheelchair. My arms are so weak I struggled to get up a dropped kerb once so won't use it alone. I have leg splints and I am yet to find funky ones of those though. Good luck op.

weregoingtothezoo Tue 04-Dec-12 04:28:07

I have bought myself sticks! grin Thank you for the suggestions on this thread.

I was nearly ready to anyway which is why it leapt out really. Buying sticks that are happy and "me" is to me inextricably linked to an acceptance that I will need these for a long time. Intermittently, at least, for a very long time. I'm also in the middle of that sort of acceptance about my chronic pain, and painkillers. Mumsnet helps in so many ways - my thinking was about ready, and now I feel less alone too - at 31 I did not expect to be accepting that I will need sticks and have mobility problems for the forseeable future. Am not quite ready to say forever. Not yet. But here I feel surrounded by others in worse and better positions and can be encouraged.

SirBoobAlot Tue 04-Dec-12 10:46:27

Glad to hear that, Zoo.

Its a grieving process really. Once you get past the sadness, the anger, the fear, you get to acceptance. And accepting is not the same as giving up wink

Can't wait to see which ones you chose! grin

RooneyMara Tue 04-Dec-12 10:52:48

First thought on reading your title was, Oh how cool smile

I can't remember if it was on ER, that female Dr, who used to walk with a stick? And one of my college tutors was similar, they kind of get muddled up but they both had them I think and were super, super interesting and cool women.

No bling. Just brilliant intelligence and a bit of mystery about them.

I'd do it, if I felt I had the gravitas to pull it off smile

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 11:41:43

Totally understand OP. I am only just thirty myself and I have been ill since I was about twenty three, but worsening over the past couple of years intensely. Sometimes I am so angry or sad, even still, at my prospects. But you start to reach a level of acceptance, for me being able to talk about it here has really helped with that. Keep talking, it's always easier when you find people to relate to, and when you add sparkles to the necessities.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 11:43:38

Would 'gravit-arse' do? That's all I have I am afraid.

mouldyironingboard Tue 04-Dec-12 15:07:52

I use a mobility scooter to get around but use walking sticks too. As well as a walking aid, I treat them my sticks as a fashion accessory and match them to whatever outfit I'm wearing. smile

Perhaps we should start a thread in the mn style and beauty section called 'pimp my mobility aids'!

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 16:47:40

Good idea! I've been looking for ways to make my scooter more "me"! I really want a knitted chair cover, pretty granny squares in shades of purple. And a blanket. And a cool bag with a nice lining and a pretty colour. And a functional little side bag for the chair arm to hold my phone and stuff I need access to quickly.

Tianc Tue 04-Dec-12 17:00:12

If anyone's interested, we were collecting links to mobility stuff on this thread: Welcome to the Wheelie-drome!

Must post some of this cool stuff on there!

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Tue 04-Dec-12 17:03:27

Thanks Tianc, popped you on watch and will come along and contribute soon hopefully.

Tianc Tue 04-Dec-12 17:08:47

Have just put those fabby sticks on that thread.

notcitrus Tue 04-Dec-12 17:23:31

I sometimes use a stick, and find it amazing that it's a magic talisman for getting a seat on a bus - people equate stick with 'needs seat' whereas if I don't have it I certainly don't get offered one and I'm hesitant about asking. And it gives you more space in the rush hour.

Mine is plain black folding one from local chemist, so blends in with all outfits! Also handy for steering small children and fending off annoying people who want to touch one's pregnant bump...

slipperandpjsmum Thu 06-Dec-12 09:27:30

Certainly agree Zoo about feeling alone. When I posted this I prepared myself for no replies and your postings have really helped; about where to get lovely sticks, retorts when people comment and also about coming to terms. I keep bursting into tears when people ask me how I am which is very irritating (the crying not the asking)!! My dr suggested anti dep but I don't actually feel depressed just heart broken that I have lost my old life and all the plans I had for my future feel are slipping away. Everyday is a battle and I feel so tired fighting.

vladthedisorganised Thu 06-Dec-12 12:13:11

I used a stick for a while aged 20 and the first thing I did was customise it! NHS-issue one was painted to look like a thin pillar with a vine growing up it, and later I got a silver-tipped cane which was very elegant as well as practical.

I'm very lucky in that I don't need one any more, but having a cheery stick did make a difference at the time. Having a tiny cross-body bag for essentials and a backpack for everything else helped on the practical front.

slipperandpjsmum Sat 08-Dec-12 10:06:52

Any advice?

fuzzpig Sat 08-Dec-12 10:10:13

I've been thinking about using a stick or crutches too - but not sure if they will help me. I have CFS/ME so I do get very tired walking, but a lot of the pain is in my hands/wrists so I'm not sure if leaning my excessive weight on them would make them hurt more.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Sat 08-Dec-12 10:45:37

I have hand pain too, and so long as I don't over do it, I am fine. I use the stick to balance and keep a bit of weight off of my bad ankle.

Tianc Sat 08-Dec-12 19:09:49

Hand-straps for sticks were highly recommended on the other thread, to get round the "perching the stick" problem.

fuzzpig, I have M.E. too, and have found a stick-seat to be the best thing since sliced cheese. I have a little sit down every time I stop at a receptionist's desk, browsing in a shop, etc.

But I don't have your severity of hand/wrist problems, and appreciate things might be different for you.

slipperandpjsmum Sat 08-Dec-12 20:18:14

A stick with a seat? That sounds ideal for me. Do you have a link to some that are good?

CarolingFanjoChops Sat 08-Dec-12 21:05:22

Cool crutches is another great crutch company!! I have Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility and use crutches every day, I have comfy handles on my NHS crutches which reduce the redness and sores on my hands but feel that it might be time to get some nicer ones as I have been using crutches for 9 years now, I wish I could stop as the judging looks just wear me out.

Tianc Sat 08-Dec-12 21:09:14

I just put "stick seat" into eBay... blush

But googling I've just found www.shoppingtrolleysdirect.co.uk/Mobility_Aids.php, which has shoppers with an integral seat. Does that match what you were looking for on the other thread, slipper?

slipperandpjsmum Sun 09-Dec-12 18:39:52

Thanks for that Tianc - it was more for work if you know of anywhere as I can't carry my pads of paper round anymore?

I have ordered my fancy walking stick and tomorrow I am going to use it in the outside world!!

crashdoll Mon 10-Dec-12 17:09:09

I've added this thread to my watch list. My wonderful physio has been nagging me to get a walking stick for ages. I am wobbly, weak, sore and my ligaments are fucked <-- medical term! I'm finding it hard to come to terms with needing a mobility aid at 24. Mentally, I think I could be able to accept a crutch or two over a walking stick. I'm toying over a pair of purple ones. I'm just worried it will put more pressure on my other joints affected by my condition. I have RA in my hands, wrists and one shoulder too.

slipperandpjsmum Thu 13-Dec-12 20:51:03

I think its really hard taking those first steps with a stick. This thread has really helped me. I bought it off a suggested website, its black with spots on. I took into into work folded up in its case and left it on my desk. It didn't go quite as I had planned there was a crowd quite quickly with everyone wanting 'a go'. everyone was lovely and I feel alot better about things at the moment. Thanks so much to everyone that replied you have really helped me move my life on!

colditz Thu 13-Dec-12 20:57:59

I would happily carry a stick around, just think, every time someone was annoying you, you culd fantasise about hitting them on the head with your stick.

I think it would help me keep my temper.

I kind of know what you mean. I'm slowly going deaf, it's just age related degeneration. But I'm only thirty two, young enough for people to make jokes like "are you deaf or something" when I constantly ask them to repeat themselves, and then they get all embarrassed when I explain that actually, yes, quite deaf, and it would help if they spoke slower.

crashdoll Fri 14-Dec-12 08:37:28

colditz My friend said a stick on the train would be great. It would guarantee a seat! grin

slipperandpjsmum Fri 14-Dec-12 19:02:12

colditz has it made you see the world in a different way? I know my diminishing mobility def has.

Does anyone have any tips for being in pain all the time? How do people cope?

PigeonPie Fri 14-Dec-12 22:33:02

I used to have to travel by train and tube and at that time (12 years ago) having a stick didn't guarantee one a seat and buses in London were terrible. I was very glad when we moved and I changed jobs so I didn't have to commute - the Oxford Park and Ride was so much nicer (but even then I would have comments about going upstairs if the bus was full - and no I can't do bus stairs, the ones at home are hard enough!).

Since my DSs are now far too big to go in the pushchair (as they're at school) I now have a petite Sholley which I use as a walking aid. The only disadvantage is that they're not designed for sitting on so waiting for the DSs to come out of school is hard as there are no seats outside DS2's classroom. We live within walking distance of school, which is fine on a good day, but it's not worth driving as I'd have to park the car almost as far away as we live so I just lean more heavily on the trolley and walk slowly home . It can often take me 10 to 15 minutes to do a walk that it will take DH 3.

What size do seat sticks come in? All the ones I've found are far too big for me (I'm only 5').

slipperandpjsmum Mon 17-Dec-12 20:10:48

I am also only quite short and am finding walking sticks tricky to find

PigeonPie Mon 17-Dec-12 22:30:45

Slipper - I'm 5' (wel just under really) and I've got an adjustable one which works well. I actually got it from the National Trust shop at Stowe gardens, so I think they're about; but I agree it can be quite tricky finding one that fits.

SherlocksGirl Wed 04-Jun-14 15:52:12

Check out www.lindenleisure.com... they have a great walking stick/seat range!

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