“Cane” Shopping

I’ve been a little depressed the past week or so.  I took a pretty bad fall a “rainy weekend” ago, and had to follow-up with my doctor to make sure I hadn’t broken a leg, arm or rib.  I was covered in bruises for a couple of weeks.  I mentioned to my husband, that I noticed that if I use my umbrella on the right side (with Chloe in heel on the left), then I do much better on rainy days.

Falling doesn’t make me depressed.  Bruises don’t make me depressed.  Mentioning “it may be time for me to get a cane for rainy days”, and darling hubby jumping all over it?  That made me depressed.  I said it half in jest, but he was completely serious.

I’ve been falling all my life.  I was one of those “accident prone” kids. I even remember one time in college, my RA told me, “Denise, you fall and run into stuff more than anyone I know!”  What is interesting to note, is that I didn’t have a significant hearing loss in college.  I only had a moderate unilateral loss due to a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident at the age of six.  (The car won)

I didn’t begin losing my hearing (sensorineural hearing loss) until I had a couple of babies at the age of twenty-five.  The hearing loss continued in both my ears for over a decade before I did anything about it.  All the while, I continued to “fall and run into stuff” a great deal.  It’s never been strange for me to be sporting bruises.  (The “ATTIC STORY” has become rather infamous!)

Somewhere along the way I developed a mild form of Meniere’s disease.  Without my cochlear implant and/or hearing aid, I have constant tinnitus.  But it is “manageable”, and I’m quite accustomed to the constant ringing when I’m not utilizing technology and bionics to hear.  I sleep very soundly “in spite of”.  Along with the tinnitus, however, I began to have vertigo and other balance problems.  It is worse when it’s a rainy day, so I know the weather affects it.  There is very little one can do for Meniere’s.  I cut down on salt, take Manganese tablets, and try to get a lot of rest.

Regardless, on rainy days I have to move carefully and methodically.  Chloe acts as a great counter-balance on stairs, ramps, inclines, slopes, etc.  However ceiling fans, fast moving bodies (like students running), or loud noises make the dizziness worse.  I face a flight of stairs “round trip, each school day.  I would think the stairwell is about 8 feet wide, but it is DEEP and STEEP.  Just standing at the top of the stairs and preparing to descend, the whole stairwell starts to spin, and I lose a great deal of my peripheral vision due to the vertigo.  It can be terrifying, but I’m confident for the most part and Chloe certainly adds stability.  On rainy days, however, you can multiply that terror times TEN.

If I happened to fall down THOSE stairs, there is no doubt I would break something.  It’s not that I’ve never broken a bone before!  My word, I’ve broken a femur, toes, fingers, my sternum, and cracked multiple bones as well.  But I’m rather terrified of that stairwell.  Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid I’ll hurt Chloe.  Perhaps it’s because I know how it would completely freak out the director of my school!  (grin)

To humor hubby, I’ve done a little “cane shopping” online.  At least some of them are pretty.

But darn… I’m depressed!  I find myself asking, “Has it come to this?”

But you know what? I can’t sit around feeling sorry for myself very long. I was taught to “belly-ache if you must”, but then recall how blessed you are!  And truly… I am very blessed.  With my cochlear implant I hear better than I had ever hoped to “this side of Heaven”.  I have a wonderful and supportive family, and a super assistance dog who loves to work.  The blessings FAR outweigh my little problems with balance.

I have learned to poke fun at myself when needed, and it has certainly made others more comfortable around my implant, assistance dog, and even dizziness.  But I really hate falling…

For now I’m “in shopping mode”.  At least they aren’t very expensive!  At least I’d only need one when the weather is bad.  At least some are pretty!  I could add a whole list of “at leasts”! I suppose that’s a form of counting your blessings.

For now, I’ll just “window/monitor” shop. At least… until hubby brings it up again.

Denise Portis

© 2008 Hearing Loss Journal

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3 thoughts on ““Cane” Shopping

  1. Just to let you know Mrs. Portis, I think canes are really cool! A boy in our church had to use one for a bad back and he looked really good with it! Plus, the one’s you’re looking at are really spiffy, grin!

    Thanks for your wonderful example through this, it’s a good reminder not to grumble!

  2. Hi Denise,

    The things we take for granted… Tate has the tinnitus too, but we don’t have to deal with balance issues.

    I had asked the boys to write in their journals this week, and the topic one day was, “Write about the sounds you LIKE to hear and the sounds you DON’T like to hear when you are lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep. NOT the tinnitus!

    At least he was reassured that it is normal. I think he had been worrying about it.

    You’ve certainly found some SNAZZY looking canes! Even pretty colors!

    I admire the way you make the best of what comes your way, Denise :0)

    Julie

  3. Snazzy! That’s the word I was looking for! Not just pretty… but SNAZZY! Smile!

    Sounds like you come up with some great ideas to jump start some journaling ideas! I’m sure it helps the “normal hearing bros” look at sound a lot differently too.

    Hugs!
    DeniseP

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