Enjoying the Freedom My Mobility Aid Provides
I have struggled with walking and standing for the past ten years due to the pain inflicted upon my body by several chronic conditions. Psoriatic arthritis, in particular, causes unbearable pain in my feet. During a flare, I am unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. At first, I was reluctant to use a mobility aid. I worried about what people would think or say.
Using a mobility aid
At the time I was in my 30’s and despised hearing others say that I was too young to need to use a wheelchair or walker. For years I let the whispers of judgmental people get to me. Over time I learned to ignore snide comments and sometimes offered to educate those who felt the need to belittle me. Yet, I still found myself feeling ashamed and embarrassed for needing to use a mobility aid.
A change of heart
My attitude shifted less than two years ago when I started listing all the places that I wouldn’t have been able to go if it weren’t for my wheelchair. Without my wheelchair, I wouldn’t be able to go to Disneyland, take in the sites of San Francisco, go for a stroll along Huntington Beach, and so much more. My wheelchair has made outings that I could never handle on foot possible. As my list grew, my bitterness towards my mobility aids decreased. I no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed; instead, I cherish my wheelchair. I love knowing that as long as I have my wheelchair, I can go anywhere I want no matter how intense the pain I am experiencing in my feet is.
Enjoying the freedom my mobility aid provides - no matter what others think
My attitude towards those who don’t understand has also changed. I feel sorry for them. Sorry that they lack compassion for people who live with chronic pain. Sorry that they are so closed minded that they only think that a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair, is only for the elderly or those who are paralyzed. Sorry that they would deny or shame someone for finding a way to improve their lives.
For the most part, I have learned to ignore ignorant comments. I have also developed a sense of humor in regards to my condition. I refer to my wheelchair as my "royal carriage." I tell people that I am a part-time roller and that I walk and roll. Most importantly I no longer permit what others think get in the way of getting out of the house and exploring this beautiful planet!
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?