New perspectives

Ever since The Commander began using a walker to get around, I seem to see people with walkers *everywhere*. I am sure that they were there before. I doubt that they were wearing invisibility cloaks. It’s just that I did not notice them. Yes, that is my bad…

My only up close and personal experience with walkers before the last few months was when Radical Betty used one (or not) during the last nine months of her life. I was hanging out at War Memorial with Uber Kayak Woman for RB’s first couple of therapy sessions with a walker and, watching her sashay down the hall with that thing, passing up all of the people who were baby-stepping along, it was hard [for me] to believe that she was in the decline that led to her death nine months later. Heck, just two months before, she had hiked five miles with UKW and me. And a bit of that involved bushwacking. But bushwhacking was always RB’s specialty…

A couple months after RB started to use a walker, we traveled again to the Yooperland and visited her in her new home at FV. I often watched her take off down the hall unassisted, a CNA running (yes, running) after her with her walker. I had to ask what I thought were reasonable questions. “Does she really *need* the walker? Why does she need it?” Well! “Because if she falls, she may break something and bleed to death!” Something like that. I took a few steps backward. The last thing I wanted to happen to my beloved aunt on my watch was for her to fall and break a bone and we’ll stop there. It was a new reality for me and I dutifully schlepped her walker in and out of whatever vee-hickle I had up there whenever I drove her somewhere. And reminded her to use her walker.

The Comm is using a walker for very different reasons than RB, not that it matters. I don’t think that The Comm is in terribly great danger of breaking bones. But it *could* happen and it isn’t good for *anyone* to fall at *any* age. *Anything* could happen. Elizilla once broke her arm playing an innocent game with her cuzzints involving running in circles. We were at the Engineer’s house and he had a new sprinkling system going. She slipped in wet grass aannndddd… In other words, stuff happens. And no, I didn’t sue him. Fer kee-reist!

But where are all of these folks with walkers coming from? A kind of athletic looking person getting lunch at Penny’s Kitchen. A woman (my age? younger?) traversing the crowds with her partner(?) on Main Street last night. The woman navigating the hill up Miller just before downtown. Stopping to rearrange the stuff she was carrying on her walker. Was she going to the farmer’s market? Like I was when I passed her at more or less lightspeed?

I am embarrassed to acknowledge that I am seeing people with walkers for the first time. Some of them are slow. Some are fast. Old and young. Some (old or young, slow or fast) are able to manhandle their own walker in and out of their own vee-hickle with aplomb. Some need help. I know why RB had a walker and I know why the Comm has one. I kind of want to ask all of these people I pass on the sidewalk why they also have one. I *know* how rude that would be. I know they aren’t really any different than me except that I can galumph along not thinking about walking.

2 Responses to “New perspectives”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I think it’s because for whatever reason their arms are stronger than their legs. Their balance could be an issue too.

  2. Tonya Watkins Says:

    I think a lot of people have hip (or knee) problems. I’ve become friendly with a thirty-something gal on Twitter who has to use a walker because radiation treatments for ovarian cancer totally ruined her hips. (And it’s frustrating — hip replacement would totally help matters, but she’s on disability and Medicaid is giving her the run-around about covering it, even though if she had hip replacement she would no longer be disabled and would be able to go back to work…)