Tip of the Week #2 - Mobility Tools and the perception of our MS as we interact in public view.

By jefff Latest Activity August 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm Views 7,768 Replies 6 Likes 2


I approach this weeks discussion tip with a little more sensitivity because of the public perception. I've had to start using a cane this past week while in the public eye. My MS has been progressing to the point of instability and balance issues causing me to appear (my perception) drunk because I frequently catch myself grabbing for the walls or rails or even people around me. The cane adds a little more stability as I walk in public, but my "frame of reference" or "perceived frame of reference" is that people stare. So I wanted to know how many of you feel like this or am I being overly sensitive? Thanks!

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Replies (6 replies)

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  • Lifesaver6141
    Lifesaver6141 May 11, 2012 at 4:18 pm   

    After falling once or twice, I had no choice but to use the cane. By the way, my cane's name is "Johnson", while I was teaching, the cane would fall over and make a loud noise and to amuse my students, I would say Johnson was looking for attention. It took awhile getting use to it. It is taking even longer to get over the fear of looking like a wounded animal..I am overly careful when I go to my car is a parking lot. I am absolutely in no position to fight off muggers and feel very vulnerable. I think my biggest problem is being sensitive to my wife's feelings. She works with disabled people, but sometimes the things I want to use to make life simpler seems to bother her (like shower and motorized chairs); I think she is still having a hard time with the level of disability I'm experiencing. After rescuing people for over 30 yrs, as a Paramedic, I feel she misses the strength and security I had (might just be me). One last thing (feel like I can't stop typing ;-)…I was very shy about using the motorized carts in the shopping centers until one day a younger man than I look up at me and asked,"Why aren't you using one of these", I've been hooked ever since and get my shopping done much quicker…actually I get a kick out of my wife trying to keep up >;-)

  • teola
    teola March 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm   

    Hi Jeff,
    I have the same problem when it comes to me being out in public with my walker. When I am home I still do the same thing when I have my walker I still grab the walls or grab on my hubby shoulders as well as the chairs too. That keeps me from falling. It is rough when my legs get stiff. I take muscle relaxant to help me.

  • Lifesaver6141
    Lifesaver6141 May 18, 2012 at 10:12 am   

    Hi Teola, do you find the muscle relaxes help?

  • Daisy3000
    Daisy3000 November 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm   

    Hi Jeff,
    Have had to use a cane, then a power chair. People do not realize we can't stop like they can. Have had children run right in front of me, thinking we can stop quickly. Used to be self conscious of the cane and power chair, but they are our friends, like it or not. Without them, we wouldn't get as much done. Am a workaholic, just slower these days, Have had MS or 24 years, used to go on MS walks. Little did I know!

  • aclover2010
    aclover2010 August 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm   

    Hi Jeff! Well I use a cane off and on all the time. Yes people stare at me especially since I look so young. They even ask me if I am hurt and then I get the chance to tell them about my disease. I use it to educate people and help them understand MS. It has been a blessing to me. My favorite is small children staring and wanting to play with my cane. If I am sitting I usually let them and then we talk a bit. I used to be very self conscious but now I feel that it makes my life better and it is a gateway for reaching out to people and making friends. I hope this makes sense and is an encouragement to you..Blessings..Anna C..:)

  • jefff
    jefff August 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm   

    Great outlook and one that I love, especially the educational aspect, so thank you Anna. As always, you've got a great perspective on your MS as well as life! jefff