I’ve used an electric scooter for nearly 20 years. At first, I only used it when I knew I’d be walking a lot. Now, it’s every day. I used a cane for several years before the scooter. I resisted using both, however, and I’ll bet that many of you who are reading this are putting up your own stiff fight right now.
I’ve tried to sell the benefits of mobility aids in my columns, but the other day, I read a Facebook post by a young man (anyone under 30 is young to me) named Dan Moore. Dan makes a better argument than I ever could, and he’s given me permission to share his post. If you’re on the fence about using a mobility aid, please read this:
“I was diagnosed at 25 in March 2014. My first flares were aggressive and left me with spasticity, foot drop, and problems with balance and coordination. Within a month of my diagnosis, I was on Tysabri and Ampyra, but the damage had been done and I did not seem to improve.
“My biggest fear was needing a wheelchair, but needing a cane was a horrible thought, too. So I didn’t use them, and I felt like I was keeping my mobility and Independence.
“I wasn’t. I was being a stubborn dumbass. I was falling. I was staying home whenever I could. I was waiting for a miracle cure and I was wasting my life. I was going to PT two or three times per week, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to how much less active I became due to my equipment-and-activity-avoidance.
“By the time I broke down and started using a cane, I probably should have been using a walker. By the time I broke down and started using a walker, I had already broken my elbow. And by the time I had broken my elbow, I had been in the Lemtrada club for two weeks. They couldn’t operate on me to fix my elbow due to my blood counts. For five months. I just hobbled around with a broken arm.
“I’m now 9 months post round 2, and I’m waiting excitedly for a TiLite manual wheelchair I was fitted for last week.
“Has Lemtrada failed me? Absolutely not. I haven’t had any new symptoms. My mobility has declined sharply, but it is likely that it’s a result of deconditioning and damage done at the outset of my disease.
“When my wheelchair comes, I’ll be able to travel miles on the sidewalk with my friends. I’ll be able to go to restaurants, to concerts, and to work without feeling afraid of running out of energy or falling.
“When I get home at night, I’ll have energy that I didn’t waste on trying to limp everywhere. I can use that energy to do squats, leg lifts, heel slides, and clamshells. I can use that energy to get my legs strong enough to walk again someday—safely.
“If you fall and break a knee, you’ll be in a wheelchair anyway, but you won’t be able to do many of those exercises. My point is this: please, listen to your body and your healthcare team. Don’t make the mistake of being too stubborn for a wheelchair, walker, cane, or brace.
“Just get moving and stay moving by whatever means necessary!”
OK, my friends. Now, what’s keeping you from using a mobility aid?
You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
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