I’m Embarrassed about Using a Mobility Aid


I have a conundrum. Last Friday I went to the ER with disabling vertigo. They basically determined that I’m not dying and sent me home. I went to the doctor today and she said that there’s really no way to find out whether it’s a one-time-thing or a chronic vestibular disease. I just have to wait and see.

But I’m still dizzy. The world isn’t spinning, but my balance is off and it takes a lot of work to make my eyes focus. I’ve had several very short vertigo attacks where I basically lose my balance so quickly I drop to the ground. I’m exhausted.

I’m hoping it gets better, but I think a cane might help me. Canes are cheap. It’s an easy ten bucks if it saves my knees from me dropping to the ground. I also have bilateral hip dysplasia. I don’t complain about it much, but my hips always hurt. The left one is worse. I wonder if a cane would help. I wonder if I should have started using one sooner.

What I’m struggling with is not so much whether using a cane temporarily (or long term) would help me. I think it would. But I don’t want people to ask me to justify my use of a cane. I can just see people asking whether I need it. A better question is, “Does it help you?” Because no, I don’t need it. I could get by without it. But I might fall. I’ve stopped picking up my daughter unless I’m sitting, because I don’t want to drop her. I hold on to the walls and the furniture when I walk. When I am walking across a parking lot or someplace where there’s nothing to hold on to, I get very dizzy.

But would I be judged? It’s almost like there’s this rule that you have to be 65 to use a cane, and if you’re not, you will have to explain to the world why you’re using it. If you don’t meet the level of  “disabled enough” to need a cane, you get glares. I’m embarrassed. I’m scared.

If it was just me and my kids and the walls I hang on to to get around, I’d use one. If nobody was looking, I’d use one. But I don’t want to have to justify, especially to people I know, why I “need” one. I feel like I already justify a lot of things.

So, I’m putting this out there and a lot of people I know will probably see it. Whether I decide to use a cane or not, now you know why I’m holding onto the walls or my husband or the stroller so tightly. Maybe give me a little grace. It’s just a cane. Why does it matter?

Comments are closed.