How do I be confident using the cane in public when I look like an otherwise healthy, able-bodied person?
I can’t give you a direct definite answer to your question. But I will share a couple of things with you. When my oldest daughter was 13 she had surgery for scoliosis. She walked back to the surgery suite turning back, smiling and waving.
Totally secure in what she was doing. 13 1/2 hours later they came out and told me that she was paralyzed and would never walk again. Fortunately, God’s bigger than that. Three months later she was wheeled to the hospital doors and with the aid of some braces, she walked out to the car.
It took about two years of PT but she got to the point that she was able to put the wheelchair away and use two canes. Then later she went to one cane. She’s had 2 more major surgeries to stabilize her back and she now walks with a walker to help take some of the pressure torque off her spine. So never give up! Keep fighting!
The second thing that I want to share with you is my disability. I have a lung disease that requires me to be on high flow oxygen. For several years after being put on oxygen random strangers would walk up to me in Walmart and ask me why was I on oxygen?
I didn’t look sick! I spent a lot of time trying to explain things to people but it was really almost offensive. I don’t offend easily. But it bothered me enough that I got to the point where I started looking at people and asking Really!?! And what exactly does sick look like! There are many times that I’ve caught myself watching someone park in a handicapped space and get out of the car looking perfectly able.
I often wondered why they seemed to need a handicap spot. At some point, I made the connection and reminded myself that I had NO IDEA what their health issues were, and frankly, it was none of my business and not mine to judge. I take care of my own issues and usually find that I’m left with little time to squander on placing judgment on other people. It’s not my place to judge.
So my point is this. Do what you need to do to take the best care of yourself that you can. Don’t even worry about what other people are going to think! You won’t be able to do anything to change it anyway. People that are that worried about your health, they’re going to find something to be critical of no matter what you do.
Don’t waste your energy on them. You do the best that you can do to take as good of care of yourself as you can. It will help you in the long run and will remove some of your burden in the short run. Take care!
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