Friday, December 14, 2012
Walkin' the walk: the rollator
Sometimes I am unjustly accused of being pig-headed. Well, I was born in the Year of the Pig, so it's fair enough to be determined and tenacious, yes?
Not always. I do know when I am risking life and limb unnecessarily, and then it's time to call a halt to the nonsense to avoid being the biggest, and possibly the deadest, ninny of all time.
When Julie first offered me her late Mum's walker [more accurately, a 'rollator'] I didn't feel my balance problems warranted it. Besides, only one of my arms was working properly. I'd never be able to grasp it with the right hand well enough to be of any use....
But when I started crawling hand-hold by hand-hold along the wall, or accepting Tracey's arm to get from desk to dinner table and back, I knew the time for mulishness was coming to an end.
You see, walkers are for old ladies like my Mum when she was in her 80s, right? Or the occasional old bloke who survived long enough to get some use out of one.
Not me. I'm just... not old.
But no, says I to me finally. You have a condition that warrants a change of attitude. Accept gracefully that you should try something different.
So I did. The moment I put my hands on the grips and realised the right hand was going to stick, I knew my pig-headedness was a big mistake. With both hands, I had permanent walking support, finely adjusted by arm power over foot wobbles.
Handling the brakes was no problem, given my experience riding motorbikes and cycles. All that was needed was to learn accurate judgment with the wheels, as the back ones are fixed, unlike your supermarket trolley's all-wheel steering. At the start I bumped into a few things with a back wheel while screaming round corners like Sebastian Vettel.
It's great. If I get caught out with a seizure on the way betwixt destinations, at least I can spin it round and sit down. Or if I get tired while making some early morning repast in the kitchen, I can rest.
There are other fancier models, but I don't need it for mountaineering or as a dune buggy; just for getting there inside our house. However dependent on it I may get, it gives me independence of a different and vital type, and I'm hoping Tracey feels that I'm safer with it too and doesn't have her heart in her mouth as she did when I tottered along.
If my knee gives way, which it seems is almost inevitable at some stage, I have the walker to lean on and take the weight off my leg. Even if I went down on that knee, the fall would be broken by the walker rather than my hip or arm.
There's only one thing that seems wrong. The last time I pushed something like this, there was a toddler in it. It now seems empty, as if it had no real purpose.
I'm thinking maybe I should get a Pooh Bear or something, and wheel him along.
What do you reckon?