Embracing Life With A Cane

It took me a while to acknowledge that my vertigo was bad enough that I needed a cane to leave the house. In fact, I had a bad fall in May 2010 that cost 7 hours in the ER with Esther. That’s true friendship.

Six weeks later, I met Daniel Steinberg, my editor for two of my books for lunch. I still had bruising on my face from that fall. I had just started using a walking stick. In his immortal words, “What took you so long?”

Uh, I don’t know. (Well, I do now, but that’s a later blog post.)

But now, I’m embracing life with a cane. I have discovered many things you can do with a cane. In the spirit of David Letterman’s top 10 lists, here is my top 10 lists of things you can do with a cane:

10: I can pivot around a corner with a cane, so my turning radius is quite small. (Yes, I’m a geek, and I’m proud!)

9: I’m pretty speedy when I walk with a cane, so I can keep up with traffic flow.

8: Elevator doors: I can hold you open from the outside or the inside without touching those infernal buttons. Who can tell which button is open-door or close-door? To me, the triangles look the same. I have to squint and I still can’t tell. But now, I just whisk my cane up and down from the outside to hold the elevator while I’m still approaching, or from the inside, to hold the doors open. And, I don’t have to touch those buttons. Who knows what hands have been on those buttons?

7: I can point at the presentations on the wall, and people can see better than the laser pointer. Lasers are great, but they are too small for many people to actually see. My cane tip is nice and big. And on the wall, there’s a nice resounding thunking noise. And as long as I don’t fall over while I’m pointing, it’s a win-win!

6: People see me coming and hold doors for me. I feel like a queen, sailing through…

5: People no longer think I’m drunk when I walk, and I smile more.

4: I don’t have to concentrate quite so much when I walk. I still have to concentrate at night, but not so much during the day. I smile more.

3. Canes are like shoes. It doesn’t matter what you weigh, they always fit.

2. Because canes are like shoes, you can never have too many of them. Take that, dear husband!

1. Cereal boxes of the world: be afraid, be very afraid. It doesn’t matter if you are on the top shelf or the bottom at the grocery store. I can reach you now. If you are on the top, I can use my cane to reach you. If you are on the bottom, I can use the cane to see you and then use the cart to balance and use the cane to grab you. You can’t hide from me!

Life with a cane? Not what I expected. But who really expects life altering change?

12 thoughts on “Embracing Life With A Cane”

  1. I love your attitude Johanna. It should never have to be about “dealing with …” or “learning to live with …”. Always make it “embracing life with …”! Sometimes the cards we’re dealt seem to bite, but playing them the best way possible is what life’s about. Paint your cane with red and white stripes and keep waving it in the face of destiny.


  2. Your #2 is one my dad holds dear – he’s re-purposed the umbrella stand to be a cane keep. :) His favorite? A hand carved hickory cane he acquired in the UK on a visit there with my mom.

  3. I love this post. I have RA and I just started needing a cane and was having a hard time adjusting. This post is really funny and is making me feel much better about it. Thanks

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  5. Thank you for this. It was the attitude adjustment I needed. I can do and accomplish more with my cane in hand than in wasting my energy in struggling without it.

    1. You are quite welcome. I now use a rollator outside the house all the time. I just bought a top-of-the-line rollator and it’s making my walks much easier. I should blog about that :-)

  6. Pingback: Seven Things You Can Do To Help Manage Your Vertigo – Create An Adaptable Life

  7. Thank you! I have severe degenerate arthritis in my right foot and I’ve been dealing with constant pain, swelling and inability to walk for some time now. I just began to use a cane which is taking pressure off that foot and really helping. It’s awkward but I am focused on learning to live with it. I’m using a daily mantra courtesy of Louise Hay. ‘I easily flow with change and I am going in the best direction.’ This is helping me accept my new limitations and embrace them. I love the suggestion of the grocery store top shelf retrievals! Much appreciated!

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