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To Cane...or Not to Cane...How to Find a Cane, Introduce a Cane, and Use a Cane,

“It’s ok, Beach…we got you.”

Although I was a practicer of the “Ostrich Algorithm”….you know, head deep in the sand, bottom up, I can’t see you so you can’t see me….I knew it was coming. My penguin walk was no longer just that quirky way I move. I was waking up every day fearful that I would have a school hall fall or not be able to cover up my leg stiffness anymore.

My Jimmy gently suggested a cane. I, of course, was incensed. I will not use any devices to walk, thank you very much. I am not THAT girl….not yet. How old AM I?? Thoughts of Depends and dentures and dominoes filled my brain for days. Weeks of struggling came and went. I stopped walking the 27 miles from my classroom to the office and library. I was spending most of my time classroom bound. I was avoiding being in the hallways during passing time for fear I would be accidentally knocked down. People began to notice. Not much scoots past teachers! The once omnipresent, boundless ball of energy and sass was missing. In her place, was me.

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My Jimmy gently suggested a cane. Again…and again. The thought made me cringe, but some light was being shed on this idea. He sent me pictures of pink canes, little canes, canes with baskets and bells and streamers, canes I could fold up and keep in my purse. My Silver-Lining Man. I called my mom. “Do you still have Gramma Beach’s cane in the garage?” Of course she did. I knew exactly where it was hanging. Jimmy went and picked it up. He put it in my car…and there it sat. PROGRESS, man.

Then, that one morning I will not ever forget. I was at school super early for a meeting. I hung up my jacket on my little coat rack, turned around and lost my balance. I fell behind my desk. No one was there. No one heard me. I could not reach my phone. Besides a bruise on my hip and my pride, I was unhurt. I got up, went out to my car and got that lame cane.

When my first hour “Beachlings” came into class, there it was. The huge elephant in the room, shining like the top of the Chrysler Building. Questions, questions, stares, giggles, questions, chirps, whispers, news. During our Morning Meeting, we talked about it, and I shared with them how sometimes pain is invisible, and how difficult this is for me to face. At the bell, three girls came to me and asked if they could take the cane to our CAPA Art Teacher. What came back took away my breath...and my insecurities.

Using the fanciest and most "on fleek" of duct tapes, I was now the honored owner of a leopard print, houndstooth, flame-licking, polka-dotted masterpiece.

Bet you want one, huh.

“It’s ok, Beach…we got you.”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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