Walk and Roll

I just got back from returning a few things at the mall.  I was in the mall for less than 30 minutes, and it was early enough in the day that I was still “fresh”, and yet here I am now, tired and wiped out.

It’s a gorgeous, sunny day today, and on the drive over to the mall, I could see many places where I used to hike, and other places that I wanted to hike (Hello, Mt. Diablo).  I get a glimpse of those places where I’m farther from the buzz of civilization, cars, people, etc.; where there are great views from hill top fields, and quiet paths through wooded valleys.  And I just can’t get to those places.  I mourn that loss on days like to day, especially.

All of this annoys me and frustrates me.  I’m trying to figure out work arounds.  I have a short path near my house that I love.  Within 50 yards of the parking lot, you can find terrific views out over the hills.  It’s relatively flat, and I can walk it when I need to be outside and trick myself into feeling like I’m somewhere far more remote than I actually am.

Getting out into the rest of the world remains difficult.  Sure, it’s possible to run quick errands or get myself to a doctor or chiropractic appointment.  But that trip to the mall – difficult.  Spending an afternoon shopping with a friend?  These days it would be nearly impossible to do without completely taxing my energy, if I could do it at all.  A street fair with the family?  It’s just not going to happen like this.

So, I’m trying to look for work arounds in this area, too.  Of course, I already do most of my shopping on line, (Again, fine for the little things, but it means that I can’t use shopping as a social outlet.)  What I’m thinking about now takes me well out of my comfort zone: getting a disabled placard for my car and getting some sort of walking support – rollator, transport chair, or wheel chair.

On one hand, I feel guilty about considering these options.  I mean, on the face of it, if you just saw me briefly, you wouldn’t think that I’m sick.  You wouldn’t think that I’m having trouble getting around.  But spend an hour with me outside the house and you might see it.  Even the thought of a disabled placard makes me feel guilty.  There are obviously people who are worse off than I am who might need those spots, too.

And then there’s the feeling that maybe I’m just giving up or being lazy.  Maybe I’m being a drama queen.  Maybe I just want attention.  (Wait, isn’t that what this blog is for?  🙂  I can walk a mile on a treadmill, why can’t I walk around the mall for a while?

I also worry about whether using a device would help or hinder my future self mobility.

But, what it all comes down to, is that I want to be out and about more.  And right now, I don’t feel able to do more than short, relatively local errands.  I don’t think that a placard or a walking aid would do much to help me go further abroad, but I do think they would allow me to do longer trips without totally wearing myself out.  And, for right now, it’s not something that I HAVE to use all the time, but if I had it on hand, I’d be able to use it when I needed it.

I would definitely appreciate any feedback, especially from people who have chosen (or had the choice made for them) to use a walking aid, or from people who’ve cared for someone who uses/used a walker, rollator, or wheelchair.

8 thoughts on “Walk and Roll

  1. I think it is ok for you to have a blue placard for your car – those spaces are for people who need to conserve energy as well as for those with visible disabilities.

    How much does driving itself tax you? There are lots of park type places in the bay area where the view from the land near the parking lot is pretty nice.

  2. Driving is pretty difficult. I don’t feel comfortable going much more than 10-15 miles. (Oakland or the tri-valley area). But if I can get someone else to drive…

  3. I had a temporary placard when my mobility was limited. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. I got some funny looks, but I really didn’t care. I also had a walker as I was trying to regain strength and learn to live with my hearing loss in my left ear and resulting equilibrium. The walker, I hated. But I NEEDED to get out, so I took it. The looks I got with that, (particularly when I climbed a hill at a park in Seattle) were actually looks of encouragement. I wasn’t seeking the attention, but people were really cool about it. All the same, I think I probably, (by that point) could have used a cane instead. I just knew that my insurance would be reluctant to pay for it and I’d have to spend the $30 at WalMart or whatever they cost and I really can’t afford any extra expenditures.

  4. There’s part of me that keeps thinking that if I really worked at it, I could eat healthy or exercise my way out of this – mobility issues, fatigue, cancer. And that to do otherwise is giving up. I know this isn’t reality, but making this kind of a move just means I’ll have to give up that idea. Thank you for your feedback, Josh

  5. I used a cane when we went to Italy. I had fallen and had stitches in my knee. I needed it mostly to be sure that I wouldn’t fall. Lisa, I have 2 here. I can give you one when you come up here.
    As you said you can use any of the mobility supports as needed. Another thing I did when I was on chemo and wanted to shop at Costco was to use the electric wheelchairs. It actually made being out and about “fun.”
    Find out what other stores have such devices. Stores seem to be acknowledging that they get more customers with such things.
    Placard -ABSOLUTELY as use it when you feel the need.

  6. Get the placard. I’ve had one for years and I’ve never had ant funny looks. Just cause I look ok doesn’t mean I’m not in serious pain or exhausted. And on the days when I feel good, I leave those spots for people who need them more than I do that day!

  7. My dearest Lisa,

    You should consider to be more kind/helpfull to yourself……
    I understand that it is a big decision to apply for a disabled placard for the car and a walking device. It is not something you want to think about at our age! On the other hand, you only have to use it when you need to. Ignore the thoughts of what other people could possibly think about you. Do you judge about people with a disabled placard or walking device? Just think about the possibilities it gives you!!

    My dad has a disabled placard for the car too. He is not in a lot of pain every day, but if he’s got a bad day it makes his day a little better.

    Love you!

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