I have always been a great believer in doing what you can for as long as you can. I have the feeling that to stop doing something, even if it can be difficult to continue, will hasten my inability to do it.
Over the past few years, I have had to lighten up on myself. Some things I simply can’t do with my health issues. Driving – ouch – is no longer permissible. Going places without serious planning is no longer advisable – unless I am prepared to get lost.
Walking is the latest problem I need to think long and hard about. Arthritis makes it increasingly trying to be out and about for any length of time without the need to stop and ease the joints before continuing. On good days I can walk to my local shops. On the days I wake up stiff and in discomfort – usually from doing too much the day before – I can’t.
At one time I would have loved a day out shopping in the city centre. Nowadays a couple of hours with plenty of stops along the way is as much as I can manage before I resign myself to giving up and going home. A local shopping centre a bus ride away is my favourite at the moment with its introduction of ‘parklets’ – benches surrounded by raised flower beds, lovely to stop for a while.
However, I am very aware that my problems also affect other people. I used to go camping with friends for one weekend event or another. That is no longer possible. Camping holidays that I have enjoyed since I was a child are not realistically an option at all. Even on days out, my lack of pace and stamina affects what can be done.
I have a family holiday coming up. The thought looms that perhaps I should consider a mobility scooter. I have one which my husband used, and I kept it ‘just in case’. So far, I have taken it out precisely once. I didn’t like the way it swayed up and down as I rode over the dips in the pavement that allow cars onto their drives. I didn’t like the way I had to concentrate so hard on what I was doing that I couldn’t speak to my son who accompanied me, except to squeal for help when I tried to get up a kerb.
But most of all, if I’m honest, I didn’t like the way I felt in myself. It felt like I was giving in. Yet my head tells me that this is false. Far from giving in, I am finding a new way to continue to get out and about. I will keep telling myself that. It will be my new mantra. ‘Learn to control that damn scooter. Be proud to ride it.’
There may or may not be an update, depending on how this goes.
Disability Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands