Living with a walking stick

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I love you… but I don’t

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick

I’ve never been in a relationship with someone I’ve needed so badly but hate being with. But, I must confess, this has been the case with my walking stick and I.

It was not an instant attraction

My stick and I were introduced the day after I developed horrendous back pain (now known to be sciatica). I wouldn’t say it was an instant attraction.  I would have loved one in black with a nice silver handle. What I got was its uglier younger sister in bright silver with a grey plastic handle.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick

How do I handle this?

Learning to walk with a stick was a bit like when you learn to drive a car. You probably remember the feeling of dealing with the clutch, turning the steering wheel and concentrating on the road ahead. In this case I had to learn to get my balance with her and time the movement of my steps to synchronise with each step forward.

Don’t stand so close to me

It became impossible to eventually walk without it. She came with me to the  living room, bathroom and often the toilet. Always, she had to be in arms length to me and always came with a sigh of relief when we made physical contact.

When my back pains became unmanageable I even took her to hospital with me and I suppose it’s fair to say we even shared a bed. But again, although I was given pain killers I still needed my stick. Even when I was being moved around the hospital (from A&E to MRI to the ward) the only concern I had was forgetting about my belongings and yes, my stick.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick
My stick and I

Stepping out together

With the pain becoming more manageable with the support of medications I was able to venture on short trips to the shops.

Other peoples jealousy

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick

Having a walking stick almost became a badge of honour. You could see in other peoples’ face the wonder of what I had done. Some people asked, and I told them. Whereas some people either moved out of my way or hovered around me to hold a door open or something. However, what was a real bummer was when I found out I wasn’t entitled to a blue disability badge as this is reserved for long term conditions.

A lovely little mover

This had indeed created a problem with getting in and out of the car. I don’t know if any of you have noticed but I’m sure parking spaces have reduced in width (is this so shops can pack more cars [hense more customers] in to their car parks)?

With a bad back and stick you really need to open the car door as wide as you can to get out. But the reduced space doesn’t allow for this to happen gracefully. You have to hold the door until it ‘rests’ against the next car and squeeze through the gap like a cat crawling under a fence. From that point you then have to stand for a while (with the stick) to get yourself to gather and measure what kind of pain that last manoeuvre just did to you. Then you then have to waddle across the car park dodging other car users and pedestrians to get to the entry of the said supermarket.

This is made even more difficult if it is raining because people just don’t bother looking due to rushing and end up bumping into you. And this can be very painful. Furthermore, in the rain you have all this to deal with and try not to slip over and continue to get wet.

It not you… its me.

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick

I must admit I have not really found my time off enjoyable. I’ve kept on top of my medication regime and kept myself busy learning aspects of the law (see yesterdays post, complaint outcomes). But last week I decided I had had enough. Although I cannot carry out my paramedic role fully I would just be happy to go to work and do light duties (paperwork and stuff). I called my boss this morning to see the likelihood of this happening soon. She replied by saying it is down to my doctor. Well, I have an appointment soon so I will have the chance to discuss it with them then.

An amicable ending

I know that my relationship with my stick will soon be coming to an end. It will, to be fair a sad farewell. She has performed her duty really well and I have found it to be a useful implement to point at things when my finger sufficed before.

But this is a sign of improvement. Although I still have discomfort and limited feeling in my left foot it is far better than a month ago. Back then I was in constant pain and had no feeling in my left foot at all.

I am the first to state that nobody should be in any rush to get back to work when they are not well enough (I have mentioned this before). But I think a return to work would then start to fix my mental health.

There will always be that little spark

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression Living with a walking stick

The problem I have at the moment is that I don’t really have a purpose. I have recently been busy clearing my name and that took up a lot of time and energy. But this has now been done and to date I am happy with the results so far. But I have no problem with going to work with a bad back and in some ways I think I will have a little bit of pride with my stick. This will show people that I may have been down (and perhaps I still am). But by being in work with my stick it will still show people that I am not ‘out’ yet.

One Reply to “Living with a walking stick”

  1. Love this. I guess I never gave it any thought before, but I am pleased with my cane. It has helped me through the worst knee and back issues, and like you… It is always near to me.
    I hope that you have a speedy recovery and that you don’t require it anymore.

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