Next Generation

 Photo shows a Welsh Terrier from above who is standing on a green lawn next to a fire pit looking off camera. When I used it for extended amounts of time, my arm and wrist tired from it’s weight. It’s not that my white cane was a poor fit. It’s that I’ve been using it long enough to wonder is this all there is. A few months ago, while spending time around friends who used different cane styles than mine, I decided I would explore my options.

I can’t believe it’s been more than five years since I started using a white cane. My ambutech rolling marshmallow tip model has led the way on countless (mis)adventures. After that one time I left It behind while traveling, I bought a spare. One of them rides in the station wagon and the other stands by the front door ready for action. I replaced the marshmallow roller tip a few times on both. These mobility aids get around.

In general, I wanted a sleeker choice and perhaps a different end. I browsed a bunch of options online comparing features, grips, and tips. One brand which my friend from Chicago swears by would have been great, but they are no longer in business. I kept clicking around. Searching, searching. White, slender, doesn’t buckle under pressure–basically I’m looking for Joan Rivers as a cane.

I find it. I buy a Europa gripless folding cane with a red pencil tip at the base. The fiberglass product will fold down in four sections instead of six, a neater lighter bundle.

It arrived. I opened the cardboard box and the protective plastic bag. I unfolded my new cane and smiled at the potential upgrade. I’ve exchanged the bulk of a cigar for the equivalent of an elegant cigarette holder. I stood tall and the cane balanced easily against my shoulder.

Now came the difficult part. I took it for a test walk around my neighborhood with the dogs and then on a few errands with Stockton, and finally to work. Tap, tap, tap. All of the places that are familiar to me like the staircase leading to my office or stepping on and off the bus felt slightly unfamiliar, but in time I adjusted. The new model is two inches longer so I noticed what was in front of me sooner, and I wasn’t feeling the fatigue.

The other day I made my way to the bus stop. There’s a place where the sidewalk opens up and benches sit in front of a few businesses. Warm afternoon sunlight followed me and I could hear two or three ladies socializing nearby. As I drew even with them, my cane caught in cracked concrete next to a raised flower bed. I made an involuntary noise of surprise. Their voices went silent. I unstuck my cane and continued forward. In a few steps, I heard their voices resume.

Last night, I took Tilly for a quick stroll before bedtime to empty the tanks. I grabbed my cane from the corner in the foyer. As I was moving down the next street something felt different. I had grabbed one of my old canes. I registered a slight disappointment. With that, the new cane receives a passing grade.

What have you replaced recently and why? Did you know Joan Rivers regularly donated to GDB? Tell me about it.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. albert says:

    Your posts always inspire fresh thoughts about resourcefulness, self-confidence, and a rather cheery sense of adventure. And I’m talking about my own private disabilities, which I have hidden even from myself for too long. Gratefully,

    1. Thanks Albert. Good for you on your journey, too.

  2. Casee says:

    Through no choice of mine I have changed departments at my job. I felt unsettled and nervous but I am adjusting. Change is not my favorite thing but there’s nothing we can do to stop it in many cases. 🙂

    1. Oh that is an adjustment, give yourself the time you need to get through the learning curve, Casee.

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