Candy Canes

Image result for pokemon go pikachu santa hat
Image: Pikachu in a Santa Hat from Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go had a super event this weekend, in which all their previous special events were combined. Increased spawn rates for all prior Community Day Pokemon were available all weekend, but, within the weekend, there was one three-hour period wherein all the prior Community Day event bonuses (including double candy and stardust) were also available at once.

Because it is winter, everyone is sick, and I’m still destined to catch every acute illness that I am ever exposed to, I was getting over being sick and the concomitant flare this weekend. I was aware of the spoon cost to participate fully, but self-care sometimes means caring for my mental health even when it costs my physical health.

I’ve considered mobility aids before. There’s probably some residual feeling that I’m a pretender who doesn’t deserve one wrapped into my prior avoidance. It’s hard to get over a lifetime of ignoring your own needs because someone else has it worse. Mostly, though, I haven’t used one because I haven’t seen how it would help.

All the canes I’ve ever been exposed to are sturdy, wooden things that have to be held onto like an umbrella.

The first major problem with that sentence is “held on to.” Even carrying a water bottle if it is too big to fit completely into my purse and/or is poorly made enough that it will leak if I put it in there is more fatiguing than just going without and assuming there will be an omnipresent Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts to buy one from. (I’m a true Northeasterner at last! I think of Dunkin Donuts almost as quickly as Starbucks now, and I even seek them out first because they are usually cheaper.) It took me awhile to find lightweight water bottles that even I, with nonexistent hand strength, could shut tightly enough to keep confidently in my purse. If I’ve misplaced my “good” water bottles, though, I default to buying one after I go out rather than using less sturdy prior “experiments” that I still keep around at home.

The second problem with that sentence is “like an umbrella.” It has been a record wet winter – with freezing rain instead of old-fashioned snow – in the Northeast. Yet, at the moment, a household of two people owns one umbrella. I eventually lose every umbrella I am given. ADHD inattentiveness: the struggle is real. If I have to be trusted to “hold on to” any item – even one as light as an airplane boarding pass – we’re already doomed. I will misplace it at the worst possible time.

Thus, even if something really is too heavy to safely keep in my purse, it must go in there anyway if I ever hope to see it again. Packing up my desk at the office after I transitioned to remote work was an act of sheer willpower. Items that were slightly too bulky for the tote I brought had to be held in both hands all the way home. If I bought a cane as a sometimes-use item for exhaustion, I’d inevitably leave it somewhere while feeling ok and have to later borrow spoons to go find it just when it was supposed to be saving them for me.

Or so I assumed. My conception of canes is still stuck in my parents’ era because the only people I’ve known personally who have used them have been my own family. I figured other Spoonie bloggers who wrote about using canes probably weren’t also so inattentive that they left them everywhere. Thus, while I always made sure to include “and your mobility aid, if you use one” on any list-post of spoonie-friendly items to, for example, bring to a protest, I mentally lumped mobility aids into the same category as umbrellas. They are things to mention because the whole world does not share my same limitations but not something I should ever rely upon in my own life. (For anyone wondering, I have an amazing waterproof winter coat that makes up for all those lost umbrellas.)

I noticed another Spoonie my age during the Pokemon Go event who was clearly keeping up much more effectively with the “herd” of pocket monsters and human friends by using a lightweight portable cane. They were also quite overt about stopping when they needed a rest and buying snacks and water at Starbucks even when their friends were impatient to move on. I’m not sure if it breaks Spoonie etiquette to ask someone overtly about their cane if also a Spoonie, but I did so anyway. If I am ever going to get a cane, theirs seemed like one of the rare ones that might actually work for me. It was hard not to notice how many fewer spoons they were expending relative to me by using their cane openly and practicing even better self-care.

We exchanged trainer codes and info. For anyone interested, the cane is this one, available on Amazon U.S. for $11! It weighs a little over half a U.S. pound. Maybe a lightweight purse-sized collapsible one would help me when I inevitably overdo it on our Christmas mini-trip? Though, I’m not sure about that one’s wood handle. I might look around Amazon to see if there is a similar lightweight collapsible one that also has a squishy grip. I would prefer one designed for a girl whose hands are as sore as her legs when she has expended all of her spoons. If I’m being picky, a neutral color scheme would also be nice so it never overtly clashes with what I’m wearing. I have the tiniest modicum of awareness of color coordination, but not enough to buy multiple canes to match different outfits (as a bit of research suggests the most fashion-forward Spoonies often do!)

Any readers have any affordable mobility aids that work for them and meet the above criteria to recommend?

Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out the Glossary of Terms.

 

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8 thoughts on “Candy Canes

  1. I use craighoppers hiking sticks, makes me feel like a mountaineer even if I’m just going to the market. Especially good for spinal problems like mine as some of the weight is spread. I don’t always use them, depends on the distance, sometimes just one will do. Interesting post though, no one really discusses how much these mobility aides work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll look into craighoppers. Personal recommendations are reassuring when buying something I’ve never bought before. I think seeing a mobility aid “in action” this weekend finally convinced me it’s not just a thing to put off using until there is no other choice, but rather it is a sensible preventative measure to employ early enough that I have the best shot at *continuing* to be able to do the things I enjoy in the future. Also, being able to do things I enjoy without paying for them for *quite* so many days afterward in the present would be nice, too. That other Spoonie’s confidence (and general lack of exhaustion compared to me while participating in the same event) was very convincing. I don’t quite have their self-confidence, but I shall endeavor to develop it for the sake of the rest of my sore body…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It makes me so sad to read about that residual underlying feeling that you’re a pretender who doesn’t deserve things like care or mobility aids, spending so long with the rule of how others have it worse. Sometimes knowing these things aren’t true and that there’s no sense in comparison doesn’t make it any easier; it can still be hard to care for yourself the best you can and not feel guilty or whatever. I can see the issues with aids though and not knowing whether they’d be of much help. I bought my father a folding walking stick (UK though), light weight, which he thought he’d never use but he does, and it’s helped transform his idea of what a cane is, who uses them, his preconceptions about it. Not that it’s really relevant here, just thought I’d mention it. Aaaanyway, I’d want a bag-friendly item ideally. I’d like a folding chair because that’s personally what I would benefit from, but don’t think one small or light enough to fit in a handbag has been invented yet. Amazon US has a few folding thingybobbies but they say ‘comfort grip’ and it’s hard to tell if they’re squishy or not. My dad’s isn’t squishy but he finds it quite soft. Gloves may help too in the cold weather and provide a little more padding. These fold up – https://amzn.to/2Ucs5p1
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I like how that one has a handle so if (when) I do my inevitable EDS “just lose all ability to hold things” I won’t drop it completely. I also like that it says it is designed to avoid pressure on my wrist, which is something my physical therapist has been stressing in general, even in modified exercises. A fold-up purse-sized chair would be even better, though, now that you describe it. If it doesn’t exist, whomever invents it could make bank. That seems like a perfect winning Shark Tank idea (I say admitting I’ve never actually watched that show so am only extrapolating what happens on it.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seriously thinking about it…I bet we’d get a side market from people wanting chairs to sit in for Black Friday shopping lines but still need room for all that stuff to buy. And once you hook the Black Friday shoppers…you’re set!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “I was aware of the spoon cost to participate fully, but self-care sometimes means caring for my mental health even when it costs my physical health.” – No truer words

    Well Done for getting out, hope you can get some much-needed rest now.

    From your fellow warrior. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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