It is official. I have attained geezer status. The therapist I saw yesterday has ordered one of those handy, dandy walkers with four wheels that have a seat attached so I can sit if needed when I am out and about. Well, crap!
I have had a misplaced sense of pride in the fact that I could continue to function without the aid of a cane or crutches or a walker. Well, stick that pride on the back shelf and leave it there. My therapy session yesterday was good in that I learned more about dealing with the problem of swollen legs and feet and cellulitis outbreaks than I had learned in two years with my family doctor. I have another session scheduled for next week to learn the exercises and other methods for reducing the swelling.
But the blow to my pride came when, after extensive questioning, it became apparent that most of my mobility issues were due to osteoarthritis rather than the lower leg thing. I have gotten to the point where standing for more than 10 minutes at a time has become painful. This is not a problem within my apartment, but it is limiting when I go out. Hence, the walker.
This turn of events is really a blow to my pride and my desire for continued independence. After thinking about it overnight, I have come to the conclusion that I have two choices.
I can rant and rave and throw a hissy fit and blame the gods for visiting this misfortune on me.
Or...I can suck it up and learn to use the damn walker and learn the other things necessary to keep me here at home.
I have decided on the latter. And with that in mind, I have spent the morning going through my apartment and making a list of those things that are now difficult for me and figuring out alternative ways to do them.
Having a shower has been challenging. By the time I finish washing my hair, my hip joints and lower back are screaming at me for relief. I already have one of those hand held shower heads installed. And I am ordering a stool designed for the bath so I can sit when necessary.
I have always scrubbed my kitchen and bathroom floors on my hands and knees. That is no longer happening. So I am getting one of those janitorial type mops and buckets with the wringer attached. Having spent several years cleaning office buildings, I am familiar with them and am confident they will work better for me than any other type of mop. And I can attach one of those green scrubbies to that kind of mop for getting the stubborn dried on spills off the floors.
I have already dealt with the problem of lugging laundry up and down two flights of stairs by investing in a portable apartment sized washer and dryer. Both work like a charm. But the dryer sits on the floor. The controls are beneath the dryer door. That means there is a lot of bending over to put clothes in and take clothes out and to push the buttons for the proper settings. I found that several of the big box stores carry those storage cubes that when two of them are set side by side, the combined size is perfect to hold the dryer up off the floor, making its use much easier for me. Plus it will give me a handy place to store laundry supplies.
A simple thing like putting on socks can be difficult when a person doesn't bend so well any more. Yesterday I was shown a device that I can slip a sock onto, slide my foot in, and using the handles on either side, pull the sock up. I will be ordering one of those devices as well as some over-sized tongs for picking up things from the floor that are hard to reach. In addition, any shoes I buy once I can wear shoes again, will be the slip-on variety.
The purpose of this post is not to encourage sympathy. I don't feel sorry for myself, so nobody else should even entertain the notion of feeling sorry for me. I just won't have it.
The purpose of this post is to encourage those who may be dealing with similar life-changing circumstances. I really hate having to admit that I need a walker to be able to enjoy being outdoors again. And I hate having to change the way I do things due to limitations. But there it is. Old age ain't no picnic. Some sail through without having to deal with aches and pains and others don't. For those that don't, we need to remember that even though there are adjustments to be made, life is still grand. And well worth living.
My youngest son, David, took me to my appointment yesterday. On the way home I remarked to him that I had always said I wanted to live long enough to be a problem to my children and that I may have reached that goal. (That has been a standing family joke for years.) His response was that he didn't think we had reached that time just yet. He said he didn't care how big a pain in the whatever I was, they still wanted me here with them.
God bless those kids.
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