Another Busted Cane Leads to a Search for Something Better
A few weeks ago, my cane mutinied.
I’ve been using canes for about 20 years — first one, and then a pair. I’m tough on them and put a lot of weight on them. I take them out in the heat, cold, and rain. I force them to rest on the scorching cement when I go for a swim. It’s not easy being one of my canes, so it’s no wonder that, a few weeks ago, one revolted and broke, right where the handle meets the stick.
Fortunately, I stayed upright, and my wife, Laura, had a set of forearm crutches with her. (Those are the crutches with a cuff that wraps around the forearm that she sometimes uses due to back issues.) It’s a good thing she did, because my cane mutiny happened, appropriately, onboard a ship as we cruised with our son and his family. It’s hard to find a place to buy canes on a cruise ship, and I don’t think Amazon would deliver (although you never know now with drones).
Different canes for different MS stages
I think I’ve been through about 10 canes over the past two decades. When I started using them, I was more concerned with style than strength or stability. Laura found some really neat handcarved canes at craft shows that looked so good people would compliment me on them. But they tended to slip on wet or slick surfaces, and I had my first busted-cane experience when the handle on one snapped at the stick.
I moved to a lightweight folding cane that was great for commuting and traveling. It was easy to find on the internet. I could fold and stash it in my briefcase, and take it out when I wanted a little extra support.
As my walking difficulties increased, however, I moved to one, then two light metal canes that didn’t fold. I also opted for canes with three rubber feet rather than one to better guard against slipping on wet floors. Over time, I broke two or three of these. It was one of these canes that broke on the ship.
My latest, greatest cane
After that, Laura had enough and went off to search for a real cane that could take a licking and keep on ticking. She found the Dynamo Swing Cane. The Swing Cane was invented by William Scott, who says on his company’s website that he’s had about a dozen knee surgeries and uses canes a lot.
Scott has created a very good cane. The handle is soft rubber, but it seems firmer than other canes I’ve used. It also seems to be fuller and is a better fit in my hand.
The handle grip precedes the cane’s shaft, which is the opposite design of other canes. It’s odd at first, but I quickly became used to it. The stick also bends slightly. These two features are designed to create a neutral point of balance, which is supposed to make users more stable when walking. I think it works.
The base of the cane actually looks a bit like a foot. It’s about 6 inches long, with a hard, rubber tread, and pivots in a heel-toe motion, like the foot does when walking.
I’ve been using this cane for about three weeks, and it’s the best cane I’ve ever used. I feel secure with it, and — fingers crossed — I don’t think I’ll ever have another cane mutiny.
(For the record, I paid for this cane, and the Dynamo people have no idea I’m writing this. I just think their cane really fits my needs and probably those of others with MS.)
You’re invited to visit my personal website at www.themswire.com.
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