5 Things You Should Know About Being Disabled

5 Things You Should Know About Being Disabled

Here’s a thing which I’ve encountered many, many times since I began using my mobility aid, my cane. I could be at a doctor’s office waiting room, or getting vitals taken by a nurse; I could be grocery shopping or at the pharmacy, it really happens anywhere, with a lot more frequency that I think it should. What is this thing of which I speak? The inevitable question of, “Why do you use the cane?” or sometimes, “What happened that you use that cane?” It may seem a benign sort of thing to ask. I’ll admit, on the surface it seems harmless, but for those of us who use a mobility device for long term aid, it is intrusive. I’ve given this a lot of thought, but I can’t seem to figure out if this way of thinking is a relic of the past. Am I old fashioned in feeling that it’s just none of anyone’s business why I use the cane, or why someone uses a walker, or wheelchair? I distinctly remember being intrusive with one of my mom’s friends and asking her something that made my mom blanch and scold me right then and there. I can’t recall what I asked, but I definitely remember being told that it was none of my business. But the people who often ask me are not always young, in fact, many times they are ten-to-twenty years older than me. Has society changed so much that they no longer find these questions intrusive? While that may be, I’m going to share with you why I don’t think it’s okay.

  • Liza Zoellick

    The mobility aid is an extension of the person: Most people don’t understand that a mobility aid, be it a cane, walker, wheelchair or anything else, is an extension of the one using it. It continues where my body fails and it helps me get around. I don’t view it as separate from my body, nor as an object. It is as much a part of me as my leg is.

  • Possible Trigger: It’s strange to me that anyone would ask questions without wondering if there might be a painful reason for which a person is using a mobility aid. Even for me, where my need for the cane is not considered a “traumatic event,” the reasons why dredge up all the ways in which my body has betrayed me. Not only that, it reminds me of everything that chronic pain/illness has robbed me of. This may not seem like a trigger to some, but just like a catastrophic accident can alter life as you knew it, so has chronic pain/illness for me.
  • Privacy: This is one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t be intrusive. Everyone wants and should expect some privacy in their lives. I know that sphere of privacy is getting smaller and smaller today, but we should try. Our mobility aid is not an open invitation to scrutinize through our medical history. For the vast majority of us, there is no clear and decisive reason for why we use our cane or walker or wheelchair, and we shouldn’t have to explain it.
  • Justification? Validation?: We shouldn’t feel as though we have to explain or justify our reasons for using a mobility aid. This falls into privacy and other than our caregivers and doctors and anyone else we choose, there is no reason why anyone outside this group needs to know.
  • It’s not for fun: Disabled people who use mobility aids do not use them for fun. They aren’t temporary. Even if you see someone get up from their wheelchair, it doesn’t mean they are faking and no one has the right to assume that. Disability is long term and so is the mobility aid, which is used so that they can continue their life with some sense of normalcy. It’s so they can go to work, go shopping, pick up the kids at school, or go on a date. The list of things is endless because life goes on.

Disability is the furthest thing from being fun. People don’t go out seeking disability and it’s not generally seen as cool, though I know some pretty awesome people who are disabled. Even with the lovely, Selma Blair, giving people a glimpse of an MS flair and leaving everyone breathless in her stunning dress- complete with cane- I’m doubtful that this would lead to a stampede on canes. I could be wrong, but my point is that in the many ways that people could attain the status of “cool,” it’s unlikely a cane or wheelchair will fall into the requirements. My thought that I will leave you with is this that we are no different from you. We want to be respected and we want our privacy to be honored, just as you would. You may not understand our pain or our illness, but maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t matter. Maybe, the only thing that matters is our humanity and treating each one another in a way that honors that humanity.

Liza is a chronic pain warrior from Houston who has been chronicling her journey through chronic pain and illness on her blog: http://lovekarmafood.com. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Authored by: Liza Zoellick

Liza is a chronic pain warrior from Houston who has been chronicling her journey through chronic pain and illness on her blog: http://lovekarmafood.com. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.

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Cindy

Honestly, I think it’s good that people ask questions. It’s a good way to learn about people with disabilities. But, I also don’t think everyone is a teacher. That’s ok too.

Annell

Before I got a can my balance was off at store 1 day my knees gave out and a very nice man grabbed my arm, almost fell in hedges I would have been on the ground if not for them. I told my then Dr I think I need can she said no it could affect my posture! At home went to sit and knee popped out! Boy that hurt I was sitting but my leg was up I could see bone could not move did not want to call EMTs didn’t want anyone to touch me so as on TV I took deep breath and shoved my leg as hard as I could that God it popped backed. I do have can and it doesn’t make big difference. Sorry just posted on another sight hope this makes a little sense. Also like to tell people with fatigue to watch “unrest” think it’s on Amazon. Wish u and all the best

Ron

I am into a decade of my painful disease. I don’t see inquisitive inquiries as a threat or mean spirited or even rude if it is just a comment. If people ask then I explain but not in much detail as they are most likely not that interested or caring. And besides how could they understand anyway? I need to keep my mental health in good shape and this should be kept trivial considering everything else we all are fighting and struggling with. I do make canes so it is a good chance to show off some of mine when asked about my afflictions. I do my best toward contentment every day.

Diann

I’m 65 and have been in a wheelchair for decades. Once in a while I answer a question from a child or someone who truly needs or wants info. The rest of the time my response is “And this is your business, why?” I’ve only ever gotten “sorry” back. However I no longer use my service dog because of so many fakes and all the arguments. I’m getting to the point that it’s hard to offend me, and I don’t worry about offending anyone else.

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5 Things You Should Know About Being Disabled
5 Things You Should Know About Being Disabled
by Liza Zoellick
Here’s a thing which I’ve encountered many, many times since I began using my mobility aid, my cane. I could be at a doctor’s office waiting room, or getting vitals taken by a nurse; I could be grocery shopping or at the pharmacy, it really happens anywhere, with a lot more frequency that I think it should. What is this thing of which I speak? The inevitable question of, “Why do you use the cane?” or sometimes, “What happened that you use that cane?” It may seem a benign sort of thing to ask. I’ll admit, on the surface it seems harmless, but for those of us who use a mobility device for long term aid, it is intrusive. I’ve given this a lot of thought, but I can’t seem to figure out if this way of thinking is a relic of the past. Am I old fashioned in feeling that it’s just none of anyone’s business why I use the cane, or why someone uses a walker, or wheelchair? I distinctly remember being intrusive with one of my mom’s friends and asking her something that made my mom blanch and scold me right then and there. I can’t recall what I asked, but I definitely remember being told that it was none of my business. But the people who often ask me are not always young, in fact, many times they are ten-to-twenty years older than me. Has society changed so much that they no longer find these questions intrusive? While that may be, I’m going to share with you why I don’t think it’s okay.

Liza Zoellick

The mobility aid is an extension of the person: Most people don’t understand that a mobility aid, be it a cane, walker, wheelchair or anything else, is an extension of the one using it. It continues where my body fails and it helps me get around. I don’t view it as separate from my body, nor as an object. It is as much a part of me as my leg is.

The replies I just read correct. I also suffer with many illnesseses that all have chronic widespread pain. It’s not my mind that is the problem. It is my body that doesn’t allow me on days to do even the basic things, like simple everyday chores or tasks. I am disabled and have been ill now longer than, I have been well. I didn’t want to go on disability. I had a job and was making good money than government disability pays. It is joke that the amount a month I receive, to the amount per month I made. Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad to receive the amount I get per month but, it doesn’t even cover the amount, for the several specialists I have to see and the cost of prescription medications I need to be able to get out of my bed everyday. With chronic insomnia and the amount of pain, I can’t even sleep or wake up with a lot pain, I have to get up out of bed to take medication (which of has dwindled way down, because of problems with all types of pain medication being abused by people without pain). That is beyond my control, as well as, it is for anyone who suffers with daily chronic pain. We are the ones being punished, forced to have no quality of life and suffer everyday from chronic pain. It is truly unjustified that we have to suffer from the addiction of addicts. So, thank you Lisa Zoelick for breaking the problem down in your article. Doctors will give you all the steroids, like Prednisone, that only mask the symptoms and have terrible side effects and I suffer from all of those side effects. They are also ready to prescribe you with anti-intinflammatory meds that must pass through the liver and offer little relief, if any at all. Researchers are know saying they have negative effects and not take them. It seems like it is, a no win for chronic pain sufferers and depression and chronic anxiety, opening another door to major suffering and more money. Doctors use to throw pain meds at you when I first saw them without even knowing my diagnosises.

Thank each of you for reading, as always. I love reading the comments and sometimes I am able to get to more while other days I can’t. I appreciate each and every one of you for supporting my column the way you do!

@Kimberly You are absolutely right. And I have gotten looks from some who are ‘more’ disabled than me. But to have to quantify that ‘more’ is exhaustive and we shouldn’t have to, to one another. It’s one thing I always strive to point out when talking about chronic pain. We are in pain. No one is more or less in pain than you. Once you hit chronic it’s a mute discussion. I am disabled and you are disabled. Yes, our disability may not be the same but we both need the spot. What we, as a disabled community should be discussing, is how we shift the abled community from the idea 10 parking spots is enough for us as compared to their 50 spots. It’s shifting the way in which we see construction of everything to make is accessible to EVERYONE, not just a few.

@Rebecca Gavin That is such great behavior to highlight! It really makes me smile when I hear about kids doing something we don’t necessarily expect. Thank you for sharing.

@kelly I appreciate your reply. I would agree that many people do not understand those who use emotional support animals, may not have anything physically wrong with them. I struggle with PTSD and most would not know it to see me. Unfortunately there are many who also abuse the system and do not register or train their pets properly, leading to accidents and bites. This has also given me an interesting idea for another article. Thank you.

@Debbie Schultz Ty for your comment. I’m so sorry your friend has to go through this. I understand it well, having a good friend who battled cancer for many years and had to wear a mask for the same reason. I’ve also seen immunocompromised people need masks to protect them from infection and endure a very different response from people. It’s given me an idea for my next article. Thank you!

Becky

To each his or her own. While my daughter abhors people staring she would much rather have them approach her to ask what is wrong with her when she is in the Power Wheel Chair (PWC) and/or using a cane.
My only child is approaching 10 yrs in May of being disabled with severe all over head to toe pain of various body parts and various pain verb types.
Undiagnosed Lyme and co-s, thx to uneducated American doctors, sadly, and poor blood tests. On top of EDS HM. Worse fate than cancer, any Lyme literate doctor will attest to this.
We need help with pain management. Thx to again Senators, Representatives, Governors, members of CDC, there is no help for chronic pain sufferers in this country.
The message is clear from gov sorry, but you have to suffer until you can no longer take it .
That is the message for incurable inretractable pain and severe Lyme damage that cannot be fixed, on top of auto immune.
Blood on their hands for the currently increasing suicides of chronic pain patients who do not get help they need. So deeply tragic and sad gov wants these people to end their lives.

Anyone having problems with their local in home support service agency? Anyone having problems with their “social worker”? About a year ago I was rewarded by my state with a new social worker. She’d trained by watching docmentaries on Hitler and who was successful advancing their careers with the Reich. Her demeanor on coming into my home was stiff and cold as opening my refridgerator door. Her questions were aimed at finding any area of my life that could be used in her goals of taking time from my caregivers hours and in asking questions about my life that had nothing to do with why she was in my home. She filed a report that advocated taking 48 hours from my monthly time. That would take away my caregiver’s time taking me to doctor appointments, proceedures, and personnal care, taking showers, applying lotions to areas of my body I can’t reach, getting dressed etc. I wound up in a court hearing pleading that these services not be taken away. All persons there worked for the state. I am still waiting to get the decision. With pain meds cut back and time for a caregiver to help me possibly being slashed it seems like I am loosing the battle. My blood pressure has set new records. The levels of pain have reached new heights from stress. I’ve been advised to try old failed solutions such as yoga, exercise, meditation and getting a pet. (Another pet). The terms “social worker” and “social services” means what? Please send your definitions to: California Department of Social Services, State Headquarters, Sacramento, Ca. (please look up zip, sorry).

Debbie Schultz

I have a dear friend who has had a lung transplant. Because her immune system is compromised she wears a mask in public. Often people will assume she has some disease they can catch. Even when she explains the situation they don’t believe her. Last week an older couple refused to get in the elevator with her. She is happy to be alive and doesn’t let it upset her. But I find it rude and disrespectful. After 8 years it seems to be getting more frequently.

Rebecca

beautifully said!!!!!

kelly

As a sixth thing, I’d add that being disabled is no longer remotely legally “protected” the way it’s supposed to be. God knows the ACL-Useless demonstrates that by remaining determinedly out of the picture on the national policy of torturing CPPs.

I don’t use a mobility device, but have gotten a lot a flak about my dog. I carry around the doctor’s letter saying I need him (tho I have no intention of showing it to nosy jerks who gripe merely on principle –“You don’t LOOK like you have anything wrong with you.” And it’s amazing how many people feel free to talk like that. I’ve managed –so far– not to respond with something like “You don’t LOOK like you’re a brainless [edit], but you clearly are,” but it’s gonna happen one of these days.

Anthony Harding

It’s embarrassing for me to use my cane or walker, I am 42 and was in a car crash that destroyed my life forever. I have had teenagers steal my cane or walker or seen other young adults point and laugh at me, some even called me names because I am disabled.

Linda Olds

It seems like this country is mixed up about privacy. When we go to the doctor’s office, the nurse or clerk calls us by our first name only–for our privacy, supposedly. We don’t like our first names to be used, but it makes no difference. It’s also confusing; there are often multiple patients with the same first name.
At the same time, people see no privacy problem when they ask all kinds of unnecessary personal questions, like the ones you mentioned, and others. It’s frustrating, but there are more important issues so we just deal with it.

Karan

It doesn’t bother me at all that people ask me about my wheelchair. I have a great testimony and I’m a miracle. I have a story and it helps and has helped many a people, Young and old. Not only that, I believe it educates people in so many ways. So all me please as I’m a miracle. Yes I have chronic pain but haven’t let it stop me. I can see your side but it doesn’t bother everyone. Also, I was 23 when i had my accident so I know what I lost. I chose to grow and use my disability to hopefully continue to change others lives.

Rebecca Gavin

I use a rollator when I work as a substitute teacher. I’ve had a couple of middle schoolers ask me why I use it, which I think is to be expected. But never any teachers, administrators or high school students. I just have to relate, though, I spent 3 days at the high school last week and the kids were amazing about running ahead to open and hold doors for me. In real life that almost never happens. I’ve struggled through so many doors by myself and it reminds me of being a young parent with a stroller. Nobody seems to even notice. But these high school kids really impressed me

Kimberly

I am not bothered when children ask in particular, they are naturally curious and denying them their curiosity is losing a chance to teach that everyone is not the same. I see 3-5 year olds tugging on mom’s hands and trying to understand why I was using a wheelchair, laying down on the booth in the restaurant, etc. I prefer to try to let the children understand. What is far more hurtful to me is when a customer complains to a restaurant staff member that I am laying down on a booth with pillows in order to go out for a meal. These adults complain that i am too lazy and act like I am at home, when in reality sitting is far too painful. Thankfully, the restaurant staff already understands why I am laying down as I did feel it necessary to defend why two people require a booth for six.
Have you noticed that dogs are often scared of your mobility aid(s)? Walking in my neighborhood, folks pets hide behind the owners legs. i often have to stop to let the animal slowly approach me to calm down the pet. This is both for the curiosity of the pet and the safety of all people around.
I agree that we should not need to defend who we are and what makes us who we are, but often i think it serves as a teaching moment, especially when a disability is not seen.
Now, my disability is much more obvious, but I remember being yelled at by a guy in a wheelchair as to how dare i take a handicapped spot. I, in ters, yelled back what i wouldn’t do to have my nerves to my legs severed if the pain would stop to be in a wheelchair. The very last person a disabled person should have to defend themselves to, ia another disabled person.

Paula

Tell them the cane is to whack most people and you’re driving the buggy to run over most people. I’ve never said that but one day. One day.

This is not a comment directed toward todays topic but a general one that is a current event for many. It was the our fore fathers that gave us the bill of rights and the constitution. The second admenment was suppösed to stop such encroachments as the pain patient genocide we currently face. Granted, militias have fallen out of style but how is it that our government is getting away with killing hundreds of these patients daily now that their medicine has been arbitrarily taken away? Anyone with an idea?

James McCay

Cindy, you answered almost as I would have.

I too had to start using a cane young- at age 36, yet I’ve always looked younger than I am as well. I think people will ask females that question regarding why they are using a cane, more often than men for some reason. I’m a male and very rarely has anyone asked me why I’m using a cane (when I was still able to go out). Plus in this “cold-hearted” environment NYC has found itself in again since 2009 or so: almost no one holds doors for me with my cane anymore, and cars would rather hit me; than let me walk when I’m crossing LEGALLY???

I’d rather people know that I am suffering terribly with three inoperable Neuromuscular diseases (of which two are autoimmune diseases killing me from the inside) and I’m in constant severe-excruciating nerve pain and fatigue everywhere; because from the outside, most people would ASS-U-ME I sprained my ankle or something benign like that. If they looked at my face and had empathy, they’d know I was in severe pain (AT BEST) because truly severe widespread pain causes your face to scrunch up and tears often well up in my eyes just from the pain, but so few people look people in the eye anymore too.

Those who hide their illnesses out of some sort of shame is no way to go about this in my opinion. The Disabled have ADA (Americans w/Disabilities Act) Rights and especially in the case of businesses, they have a legal responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for us. But if they don’t know that we are truly physically disabled (especially permanently & progressively worse), they just treat us like anyone else and I won’t put up with that.

Louis Ogden

I use a cane when travelling or when in a large crowd. People tend to give me more space but I’ve NEVER had anyone ask why I use it.

chuck darrah

I was once a professional World Champion ; one of the strongest men in the world until I got badly injured at work; my injuries are progressive so now instead of being 235 lbs of solid muscle, I am a tiny elderly man who can not walk without a cane , even in my own home. People of all ages, genders and races go out of their way to hold the door for ME etc.At first I found this very humbling and was uncomfortable.Now it has renewed my faith in the goodness of most people in a world that has gone totally insane and is filled with people only interested in themselves.

Jody Hoffman

What does this have to do with being in pain everyday of my life? I wish that I had this as a problem to deal with instead of not being able to breathe today and being in pain despite taking the low dosage of pain meds I’m given & it’s only 2:30 pm I have another 7-8 hours of my day left. Pick and choose what you are writing about.

We LOVE you Liza!. Love others just as long as the pills hold out. Picture Jesus coming for us before that happens! If not the future with him looks BRIGHT. GOD promised. How could we believe different?

Kris Aaron

When asked about my cane, my responses depend on who does the asking. I have no problem sharing medical information with people who are also disabled, and have made several new friends that way!
Children are upfront with their questions, and I’m always honest and direct in my replies. I look at it as a chance to educate them and introduce them to diversity. They love it when I tell them a cane is great for tripping bullies and defending myself!
When the question is asked by adults using an antagonistic tone of voice, my response tends to be the most outrageous reply possible. “Why do YOU get the best parking place?” “D’ya ALWAYS need that thing?” (pointing to the cane) Or my favorite: “What happened to YOU?”
I love watching people’s faces when I tell them I have leprosy. Or a skydiving jump gone bad. Kidnapped by aliens from Andromeda. Cell phone radiation destroyed my balance. Any ridiculous reply said with a straight face in a normal tone of voice leaves them confused and momentarily speechless while they try to figure out if I’ve told them the truth or delivered a vicious insult.

Hi Liza, as always, I love reading your posts. I’m curious to know what your response tends to be when asked.
But for me….Hmmmm….while I can’t imagine most people asking about your cane, other than a doctor or new aquantance and such, I have to agree with Gregory on this one.
I’ve had to use a cane long term, and lately just when really needed when my balance if poor.
But I do wear a huge back brace when out of the house…especially for when shopping and for long sitting at the doctors.
I would never mind anyone asking. I find it as an opportunity to educate others that ‘while I may look just fine, I am not’. I see people with canes, wheelchairs and braces all the time. I would never judge them. I actually tend to say a silent prayer for them,because I understand their plight.
Also, for me… I live alone with no support whatsoever therefore I never mind when people in public ask if they can help me…it saves me increased pain when I have help because everything I do hurts my body.
I’m forever saying ‘if only I had someone to bring in, put away my groceries etc and then cook and serve me dinner! It would be like hitting the lottery to me!’ 🙂
People in the world need to know more about our disabilities.

I use such questions as a teaching opportunity of the failure of the FDA and drug companies in that both achilles tendons ruptured after taking an FDA approved antibiotic Levaquin that a doctor said was safe. I tell them not to trust any drug and they must stop at the slightest sign of any reaction no matter what the doctor says, and to STOP and go to ER.

Cindy

Liza, I have several thoughts which may answer some of your questions.

You are young, and so people seeing your cane may assume that you had a skiing accident or something similar and that the cane is temporary and caused by an interesting accident. People much older than you may be especially curious about a younger person’s problem.

This is not to excuse the breaches of etiquette, but just to explain them.

Look at all the people who feel entitled to touch the belly of a pregnant woman and ask all sorts of intrusive questions etc.

Lots and lots and lots of people simply don’t know any better, even though they should.

I’m disabled due to chronic pelvic pain. I dont’ use a mobility device, but I do frequently park in handicapped spaces b/c shopping takes so much out of me. I went to Target yesterday, and when I got to the cash registers, there were long lines everywhere. I freaked out immediately, b/c standing in line after shopping, which itself involves standing still to read ingredients or prices etc, causes my pain to spike almost immediately. I hunch over to try to alleviate the pelvic pain, and then look strange.

So far, no one has commented on my hunch over look, and no one has commented on my parking in a handicap space even though I look fine, but it’s only a matter of time.

I really hate when people abuse their handicap stickers — healthy people on their own using the sticker that is for an elderly parent — and I’m sure to many people, I look like one of those people — at least when I go into the store. I usually look much worse coming out of the store but still there’s nothing visible. Recently, in FL, there was a fatality when someone abused a handicap space and incurred the ire of someone with a gun.

Virginia

3 reasons I ask those who use devices who are disabled:
1- So I can lift a silent prayer for them up to the Lord. For if it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t have made it this far in my long journey of chronic pain and trouble suffering.
2- To see if I can start a conversation on how they are getting along on their journey using their device, as I may also have to be using the same device soon and I want to know more about how they learned to use the device, was it hard, what did they learn was the easiest way, the hardest way, etc., and did it help them, were there other things they also used.
3- And finally I can ask them if they are familiar with NPR, and then I can share how you all have helped me.
I don’t think it is intrusive at all for people to ask me about my disability and am happy to tell them about my conditions and the fight I have to go thru each moment of every day. If we don’t speak up about ourselves, all people have about us are their opinions, not facts. Just saying.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Gregory

I don’t find questions intrusive as to what’s wrong with me or why I walk the way I do. It’s natural curiosity to want to know and understand. You never know how what you’re going through might offer encouragement to others who are suffering when you talk about it. You don’t know….you may offer a glimmer of hope to someone else that keeps them going. 🙂

Terri James

Oh heavens honey you are so right. When I became disabled I was embarrassed. I used a cane for the longest time time and refused to park in a handicap place so that the older people could have it. Things began to get much worse and I ask my doctor for a handicap tag to hang on my mirror. I told him why I’d waited so long, he said you have just as much right to park there as anyone else does. When I get out of my car the looks I get are downright disgraceful. People look at me like I’m faking it. It breaks my heart. I can understand children being curious and asking questions, that does not bother me in the least. Though when I get questioned by people who are old enough to know better it tends to bother me. I just smile and go on. Inside though I’m not smiling. I’m not one to tell an untruth but have often thought if someone asks why I’m using the handicap spot I’ve been tempted to tell them I’m a veteran. I believe that would embarrass them to pieces and cause them never to ask anyone anything else. In a way I am a veteran for I have fought for this country, the people in it and what is right for many, many years. You’re a beautiful girl Liza and that probably doesn’t help any. Just think to yourself the only thing that matters is what God thinks if you, no one else! That helps me more than anything and has for years now. May God continue to bless and guide you, may He also continue to give all of us the miracles we so desperately need!💕

Brian D.

I think that is strange people would ask about your cane. I use one regularly if I leave the house, I can use railings and such in the home, And It’s pretty obvious why I use mine as I resemble a question mark with my curved spine.
The reaction I usually get is folks are mostly very polite and hold doors open and the like, Which can be embarrassing when people Much older and with their own problems insist on it.
People ask you due to your age and probably feel sorry for you which is annoying you, They likely do it with good intentions , the older ones maybe more so as the previous generations seem much more willing to talk to strangers than some do today?
Just tell them it’s to keep you from falling over?
A friend told me ‘If that’s the worst thing that happens to you, You’re Having A Good Day’ Good Luck !

Wendy

A related concern: please don’t ask me if you can help me, or worse, help me without asking. Perhaps I am overly sensitive, but I have a routine with my walker, and if I am backing through the door and you pull it out behind me to “help,” you can cause me to lose my balance because I have my weight into the door. Then I stumble and it frightens me. And of course, please never ask me what’s wrong or say “good for you”. As Liza says, my walker is a part of my body and I don’t want reminders of its otherness. I was probably not thinking about my disability, and your comment is like a screeching needle being dragged over a phonograph.

Again another great article Liza. Since my hips/back r locking up more often since no pain clinic treatment & causing severe instablity & pain. I notice even the pcp/nurse asking why i use a cane. I thought obviously they’re not blind about the cane but blind that I can barely walk & nurse looks back at me to see if i am following her to doctor’s office that seems miles away in the building. I have Wonder if they purposely set the office way back in the building as to see if a patient can make it. seems like an obstacle course. bc that’s what it feels like. But i only use the cane when forced to for mobility. ER visits have asked & the pharmacists receptionist say why are you using a cane & when I’m not using the cane they ask why I am not using the cane. I thought I made it clear the first time why it is used. Hate repeating answers. I wonder if they’ll leave me alone now that they know I will have hip surgery. I feel interrogated. It’s like you said Liza it’s not a fashion statement piece or a way to look cool or even get attention. I rather not have it at all or answer the reasons why. I actually feel very vulnerable being seen with it. I’m afraid that it make it me get attacked to be robbed.

Gary Raymond

Hi, Liza. Doctors, nurses, and my family have asked me why I used a cane – even though they know I have spine problems. People in today’s medical monopolies and governments do not understand what pain is because they have never experienced it and they are afraid they might catch it. This is one reason why there is a nationwide witch hunt for people who need effective pain medication 24/7. In school, they told me this type of behavior was called OPPRESSION. The alphabet people are getting more attention and legislation than chronic pain sufferers. “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”, President Theodore Roosevelt.