Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway - Milestone [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Milestone [May. 21st, 2010|04:13 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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My grandma is bringing my grandpa's walking stick over for me, because we have reached the point in vertigo treatment where my current treatment will in no way get messed up if I use a cane.

I can't really say how excited I am about this. If I can get to the point where I'm good to go with a cane, I can get dropped off places by myself or take cabs or buses or the light rail by myself. It means so much more freedom and independence for me. We live so close to so many things that if I can get functional with the cane, I can just plain walk to a lot of stuff without having to wait to see if it's my steady time or if steady time is going to last long enough.

We are definitely in no way giving up on other treatment--this is not the end point, or at least we have substantial reason to hope that it's not. But as a milestone it's looking like a pretty darned exciting one.

Also, kalmn has pointed out that if people need whacking, I will now have a cane with which to accidentally do so. Definitely a point.

(I have wanted to do some whacking when people have automatically assumed that I haven't used a cane because I don't want to be seen as disabled rather than for some other, sounder reason. Yah. Because being unable to walk places by myself at all is sooooo much less disabled than using a cane to do it. Because what's really important is whether I'm seen as disabled rather than whether I am disabled. That's so me. Good assumptions there. Where's Grandma with that stick, now?)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: panjianlien
2010-05-21 09:22 pm (UTC)
See, kalmn was right, there are plenty of people who need whacking!

I'm thrilled to hear this, and look forward to Tales of Mrissish Permbulations!
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-05-21 09:28 pm (UTC)
I had a discussion recently with someone whose family member refuses to use a cane, even though it would be a good idea, because of the public (and also self-) perception of disability that it brings. So people do sometimes think that way, despite logic that argues to the contrary. (I wouldn't expect you to be one of them, though.)

But enough of that. What I really want to know is, does your house have a porch you can sit on, and a lawn you can yell for kids to get off of? 'Cause you gotta do it once. :-)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 02:11 am (UTC)
Oh yes. A lot of people do. Particularly people who are concerned about being seen as old--as a thinnish youngish woman who is strong and fast, I think I have less to worry about there. And I also think that the years of not being allowed to use one but needing one made them more appealing.

We do not have a front porch, but we do have a front step. Will that do? Because lawn we've got, oh my yes.
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[User Picture]From: swan_tower
2010-05-22 07:24 am (UTC)
That will do very well indeed -- after all, you probably aren't old enough to have full porch privileges when it comes to these things.

And since I forgot to say it in the first comment: yay improvements! Having been temporarily housebound by the surgery, I have some ability to empathize with how glorious even a modicum of freedom can become, compared to the alternative.
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[User Picture]From: mmerriam
2010-05-21 09:33 pm (UTC)
So, I won't have to offer to whack people with my stick on your behalf anymore?
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 02:11 am (UTC)
No, but it's always considerate.
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[User Picture]From: rosefox
2010-05-21 09:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay! I'm so glad you're getting those parts of your life back.

It hadn't even occurred to me to wonder why you didn't use a cane; you're generally a pretty sensible person and so I assume you are doing things in a pretty sensible way. Also, it's clear that you're closely following the recommendations of medical professionals, and I have no medical expertise that might lead me to question those recommendations, especially since you continue to post about improvements. So I take info about the vertigo etc. as broadcast rather than up for discussion.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 02:12 am (UTC)
Yah. Well. A great many people do not stop and ask themselves, "Do I have medical expertise that might lead me to question these recommendations?" And you have inferred correctly that I do not wish for this all to be up for discussion, which is why I have been so limited in the specifics I provide. I appreciate that you have noticed that.
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2010-05-21 09:45 pm (UTC)
How cheering. It will be so nice to go places on your own again.

I do wish my father would agree to use a cane. He is much too unsteady on his feet to manage well without one, but he can't bear to be thought of as old. I say better to be old and mobile than old and crabby about being stuck in the house all day because you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. Though I don't say this aloud.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 02:13 am (UTC)
I wish your father had better ideas of what old people are like, since it turns out he gets to be one and all. I'm sorry. That's very frustrating.
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[User Picture]From: athenais
2010-05-22 05:49 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to have wandered into family stories when this is about a wonderful milestone for you.

I hope you are good to go with a cane very, very soon!
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[User Picture]From: marydell
2010-05-21 09:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, most excellent!
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[User Picture]From: lydy
2010-05-21 09:52 pm (UTC)
Excellent. I hope the cane gives you much improved mobility. Kind of keen it's your grandfather's.
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[User Picture]From: intrepida
2010-05-21 09:53 pm (UTC)
Hooray for a more mobile mrissa!
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[User Picture]From: poeticalpanther
2010-05-21 10:01 pm (UTC)
It took a while for me to get to being okay with using a cane, but now I don't go anywhere without mine. For me, it ended up being simple: cane, or pain?

I found one way of helping myself feel better about it was getting a cane that meant something to me, which you've already got a leg up on, so to speak. For mine, I made a point of painting it into a state that makes me happy, and now I'm working on my second arty-cane.
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[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-05-21 10:08 pm (UTC)
Yay canes! When I screwed up my knees in college, it made life so much easier. And yours is a Grandpa cane, which is even better!
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[User Picture]From: truepenny
2010-05-21 10:24 pm (UTC)
Hooray for milestone-with-cane!
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-05-21 11:05 pm (UTC)
Happy cane! Here's hoping that it's also a barer of good memories.
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[User Picture]From: haddayr
2010-05-21 11:13 pm (UTC)
How wonderful that you can use your grandpa's! That's really beautiful.

Another nice thing about a cane is that it's an indicator to others that Something Is Afoot, and they don't (usually) grumble about your needing to sit while they are standing and often give you a little more space to maneuver.

I hope the cane helps.
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[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2010-05-21 11:56 pm (UTC)
Maybe you'll discover that your grandfather had a sword built in!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 02:14 am (UTC)
I suspect that Grandpa didn't need a sword built in. But indeed it might be nice to have one.
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[User Picture]From: leahbobet
2010-05-22 02:51 am (UTC)
I too was going to be all "Sword-cane!"

Although yay to regular cane, even if it does not have a sword.
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[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-05-22 11:46 am (UTC)
Sword canes are not generally suffienciently solid to be a good support.

Why yes, I have looked at them.
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[User Picture]From: leahbobet
2010-05-22 06:20 pm (UTC)
Oh. Well damn.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2010-05-22 12:30 am (UTC)
Yay stick! Especially your Grandpa's!

P.
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2010-05-22 12:32 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the milestone.
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[User Picture]From: swords_and_pens
2010-05-22 03:25 am (UTC)
I think it's very cool that you will be using your grandpa's cane. There's a nice continuity there. I hope it leads to better mobility for you.

And, if you ever feel the hankering to learn either Victorian cane/stick fighting or Irish cudgel fighting so you can get your full use out of it, let me know! :)

(Oh, and if it turns out there's a sword in it, I can help with that, too.)
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[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2010-05-22 05:48 am (UTC)
Hurrah, third leg! Tripods are very stable.
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[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-05-22 11:53 am (UTC)
This is probably right up there with sucking eggs, but do make sure it's trimmed to the right length for you, rather than the right length for him. The kind of shops that cut keys will often do it for you for practically nothing.

As well as potentially whacking people there's also the more practical thing of being able to twirl it. It gets old, actually, but it can be fun for a bit. But don't let your friends do it -- well, your friends are probably too sensible to want to. But if you do ever let a friend or a kid friend twirl it they will think they always can, and sometimes you need it. This can be unfortunate.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-22 12:09 pm (UTC)
Grandpa and I were the same height, but his walking stick is a telescoping-locking sort of thing you can adjust to the height of the person using it, so no trimming necessary. It also trades out tips for if you want to take it on rough terrain and has a compass in the handle. For Grandpa this was the You're Not Old You're Rugged feature set; for me, a charming reminder of him. (If I'm still using it come August, I will probably need to get a different one for on the plane, although I could be wrong: it's metal with potential pokey bits, and I'm not sure how they would take that.)
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2010-05-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
In my experience, fine. I have never had nor heard of people having problems with canes based on material.

On the other hand, do take the plane pre-boarding thing, because the worst experience I have ever had on an aircraft was with the asshole sitting next to me who insisted that if I really needed the cane I'd have 'gotten on when the disabled people do' and that therefore I was holding onto his seat back 'because I needed the attention'. He tried to make the stewardess yell at me and she gave him Cold Stare of Death x5000, but it was just profoundly unpleasant and horrible. Also, it turned out I could actually have used the extra time to walk down the jetway.
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[User Picture]From: lynnal
2010-05-24 08:51 pm (UTC)
My mom got one like that when we were in Peru last summer. She was having trouble with her knees, and nearly all the sites we wanted to visit were Inca ruins with rock stairs. She found a cane at the market with a built-in flash light and a compass in the handle. It telescoped like yours, so she was even able to bring it home on the plane. They had them for $10 in the market is Cusco. Apparently a lot of tourists realize that they need them.

The first part of our trip was in the Galapagos islands, and the guides advised everyone to take walking sticks for the islands that were especially rocky. Think rocky as in 'someone has scattered chunks of lava ranging from baseball to basketball size all over the ground'. Some of the young and macho didn't, but I was very glad to have one. I'm glad you have such a functional cane to use.
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[User Picture]From: kendwoods
2010-05-22 12:45 pm (UTC)
that is very good and exciting news. Happy for you!

:D
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[User Picture]From: selkie_b
2010-05-22 02:03 pm (UTC)
When I sprained my knee a few years ago I needed a stick. I got a lovely carved green one from the broom shop at Fest. It proved invaluable against very rude jostling Italian students whilst leaving the Paris Metro at Versailles that fall... my were they surprised when it landed on their toes! (they knew I was "slow" so they were shoving me out of the way, I was not amused and finally had enough when one blatantly did so and then looked at me like I was something distasteful in the way... he left with very sore toes and a surprised look!)
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-05-22 04:10 pm (UTC)
I am going to confess that, well before you got to the whacking part, my first thought was, "Look out, now she's armed!"

I don't mean to imply that was a NEGATIVE thought, you understand.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-05-22 04:35 pm (UTC)
yay!
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-05-22 04:37 pm (UTC)
You can get one of those canes with a sword hidden inside for even more thorough attacks, when needed.

But sounds like wonderful freedom!
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[User Picture]From: rushthatspeaks
2010-05-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
Yay cane! That is awesomesauce.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-06-06 05:06 pm (UTC)
Catching up on back entries after travel.

!. Come to think of it, the idea of you routinely carrying around a big stick is a little scary. On the other hand. you're probably a safer bet than most people I know to only use it on people who *really* need it.

And yay!!! for increased mobility.
Also, from everything I've been told, being seen as disabled when you actually are can be a Very Good Thing. It makes people more likely to give you a seat on a crowded bus when you need it, for example.

2. I do not supposed you will have any trouble thinking of places to go with your new mobility. But if you happen to be looking for ideas (or clothing), the ridiculous number of catalogs I get go to my in-laws' address these days since they're our mailing address, and while there I was looking through a couple of the more interesting ones. Title Nine (www.titleninesports.com, similar to Athleta but tending to somewhat less revealing clothing, and with more focus on bras) have just or are about to open up a store in your town, and I mean *specifically* your town rather than just greater Minneapolis or even St. Paul.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-06-06 05:28 pm (UTC)
2. Heh. Edina and Eagan are in no way the same. I heard a rumor that some of our friends who live in Edina tell people that they live in West Richfield because Edina is a bit...Edina thinks rather highly of itself, is what. (The friends in question indisputably live in Edina.) The local snark is that Edina stands for Every Day I Need Attention. So no, Title Nine is not opening up a store specifically in my town. But I know where it is.

1. I am not sure people are entirely parsing the cane as a cane. It is a snazzy red aluminum hiking-ish stick, and when I have referred to it as a cane, I have gotten a couple of really "oops" sorts of uncomfortable looks. Some people are definitely parsing it as a cane. But I think I'm not getting the full "this person is definitely disabled" thing out of it. And some of this comes from how fast I move with it and the fact that I'm young and thin, I think. But certainly there's none of the "people being obnoxious on a date" that came of me taking someone's arm.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-06-06 05:41 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I guess I remembered just the 'E'.

Does the cane have a vertical or horizontal handle? I used a hiking stick as a cane once with a sprained foot, and the hiking style handle was the one problem. Harder to lean on than a horizontal cane handle.

The other thing that surprised me was that it took some getting used to - I started with it hiking-stick length, and had to lower it down to about the length of my leg, and even then it took a bit of practice to make it swing right. Somehow, I'd never expected a cane to have a learning curve. (It did give me added appreciation for Hugh Laurie's acting, though.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-06-07 11:14 am (UTC)
Vertical. But I'm not leaning--I'm not needing to use it as a replacement or partial replacement for either of my legs. I'm needing to use it for an extra balance reference, which feels very different. I'm not sure, but I suspect that the modes of getting tired are much, much different also.
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[User Picture]From: mycroftw
2010-06-08 09:42 pm (UTC)
Everybody's mentioning the "whacking with stick" part...having been the unintended victim of one, all I think of is the poke-and-lean part. Even 30 pounds x 1/4 sq. in. is "noticeable"; and it's definitely the more genteel way of getting across the "um, this is *my* space, and I need it" compared to the swinging. It's also deniable (see "unintended", above)...

Not, of course, that I am implying you need to be either genteel or requiring deniability. Just that the option's open.
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