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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? 


  1. Well if it improves your safe mobility, and reduces somewhat the stress levels for yourself and Tracey, I'd call it a win,win - and well done for Julie's thought to suggest its use. So I admire your mulish gracefulness.

    That leaves only the mystery of your incessant need for extended travel. Haven't you heard of 'flights of fancy' or 'journeys of the mind'? I'm sure I've read of those somewhere.


    1. Now it's all in my head, kvd – the travel I mean. Sadly, the one thing we planned to do and didn't happen was go for a big o/s trip, just before this whole thing erupted. So I do journeys of the mind constantly – the only scare I have being that it may not find its way back. And yes, much thanks to Julie too. She's one of the most thoughtfullest people on the planet.

  2. The bear seems okay, as long as he doesn't mind you suddenly sitting on him (and it is safe for you too)

    I've not heard this called a rollator. We call all of them walkers. I'm kinda looking forward to the bafflement I cause when I put my surname on may walker. Someone is bound to spoil it by putting an 's on it.

    Jeanette Walker

    1. Yes, it occurred to me that he or she may have to be unceremoniously evicted should the need arise. I had never called them rollators either, but it seems that's the particular type they are.

      Walker's. Clever, Ms Walker. May you never need one, if you get the positive side of that wish for you! I hope you can still do a decent [or even indecent] cartwheel at age 100.

  3. that should be "my walker". It's 2am here- that's my excuse.


    1. That's the problem with blogger. Once you post it, you can change it only by saving it, deleting the comment, opening a new window, pasting in a corrected version and resending it. But unless you made a serious blunder [I can think of one unfortunate one with your name!] then just leave it if the meaning's still clear. We'll get it!

  4. Such a mental journey these mobility aids lead us on. Perhaps fortunately my struggle, as each one hoved in sight (walking stick, wheelie walker, wheelchair, power chair) became a little less - of a struggle.

    I think the most useful thing I ever heard was "freedom machine" - the label used, for their wheelchairs, by some of Ros' clients. That hit the right glass half full note for me. As you describe I felt safe at last.

    Seriously ;-) though I worry for your bear

    1. Ah Dave – no-one knows better than you and Ros what you are talking about.

      'Freedom machine.' What a wonderful description. Honestly, I would never have fully understood that without rollin' down this road.... Not exactly Ab Fab but I want you to know, I get it.

      There's a delightful follow-up re the bear as the result of a faint ting! of the doorbell late last night, but that is coming.

  5. I think Soxy in a basket, wearing a bonnet and doll's dress would be most apt.

    1. You catch her, dress her, and tie her in, and we'll do it. :)

  6. Joan,lol! I suspect that may be like carrying gelignite, if Soxy didn't like the situation! Cute, though. Briefly.

    And my comment is - I'm so happy this is helping :D
    I loved the part about you taking the corner too fast..

    Julie M xx

    1. I once saw my neice pushing her doll carriage containing the family cat dressed in a bonnet and my neice's underpants. It can be done, but you have to have the right cat.


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