Aging Gracefully: Part II

The Cane Chronicles

Hilda

 

Last year I wrote a blog about aging gracefully.

I emphasized the need to accept our natural bodily changes with dignity, push our egos aside and celebrate the privilege of growing older.

And then it happened.

One morning about a month ago I could hardly get out of bed.

I assumed I was having an arthritic flare up in my left knee.  I had these flare ups a few times in the past. But not like this.  This was a bad one.

The doctor confirmed that it was arthritic inflammation. He gave me a cortisone shot and hoped that my knee would respond as well as it had in the past.

Nope.

Advil. Ice/Heat. Heat/Ice. Advil.

Repeat.

The recovery time was taking longer than I had hoped and I was becoming increasingly more frustrated with my self-imposed lock down on the couch.

 My ego held me hostage in a place of fear. I was longing for simple activities like just leaving the house to make a quick stop at the grocery store. But walking was a challenge.

 I was afraid to leave the house for fear that I would fall and maybe break a hip…yikes!  My balance was off and my thinking was self-defeating.

Life interrupted.

And then while icing and heating my knee on the couch one night, I read an article on “How to get through arthritic flare ups”. Apparently, I was following all the recommendations except the last one: “let go of any shame and self-judgment regarding the use of supportive devices that could assist in your mobility; i.e. canes, walkers, scooters, etc.” The article said that unless one was bedridden, it was important to stay mobile if only in short spurts.

Whaatt???!  Was it time to invest in a cane????

My ego went into full overload:

Ego: “What would people think if they saw me using a cane? Are people going to see me as an old lady? Am I getting old? If anyone asks, can I just lie and say I was involved in an adventurous activity that injured my knee (skydiving?)”

Me: “Get over yourself. No one would ever believe you jumped out of a plane for fun. Get a grip and stop playing the victim! You need help…don’t be afraid to ask for it!”

So even though my ego was still blathering in my ear, I mustered up the courage to hobble into my local CVS the next day and asked for the cane display aisle.

And within minutes I saw her.

She had an ordinary look but I could tell she was for me. When I placed my hand around the handle, I immediately felt a connection.

I felt supported and balanced by her.  She took the burden off my achy knee and was my ticket to mobility.

Freedom!!!

I named her Hilda.

She was the inner warrior I needed to give me the confidence to be out in public, flaws and all, and not care what I assumed others might think of me.

I was pleased at how much easier and less painful it was to walk around the grocery store with Hilda and was surprised with how much help I got from others. For the first time I can remember, I actually had a guy, who by the way called me Ma’am, (I have to let that go) run across the parking lot and asked if he could take my cart back to the store after I emptied out the groceries. At first, I hesitated, once again trying to do everything for myself, but then gave in, and said thank you and released the cart. It felt good to get some help.

Being a martyr can be exhausting.

Oh…and on a side note, I have to say that I found some other good uses for my cane.  I used it the other day as a pointer when I wanted to point something out in a distance to a neighbor…and…I killed a spider with it (RIP). I’m feeling very comfortable now with my aide.

So, what’s the message here?

 Let go of critical mind chatter when you need support. Push your egos aside.  Asking for help has no age limits.  It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of humility and strength.

Thanks for reading,

Brunnie Getchell

M.Ed., Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, Advanced Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and Author of eBook, Finding Happiness Even Without a Fairy Tale Childhood

10 thoughts on “Aging Gracefully: Part II

  1. What an important message. Letting go of that ego and being willing to take the help that is available. I could so relate to this! I loved that you named your cane Hilda—helped to make her your friend, your warrior. Brunnie, we are living longer; we are more active; these flare ups are going to happen! It’s how we adapt (with some measure of humor and dignity) that truly matters.
    Thanks for another little gem.
    Marilyn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marilyn. Yes, we are living longer and flare ups are bound to happen. Thank God for the support available to us, as well as, our humor and dignity 🙂

      Brunnie

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  2. Love your spirit and self talk. I,too, was advised to use a cane after spinal fusion and while participating in PT. I chose the pink CVS model. Sadly, we did not bond. 😖 I did finish therapy. I hope we do not meet again. I’d love to see you again! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually saw a pink cane at CVS but Hilda won my heart . Sorry you and Pink didn’t bond but happy that you finished therapy :). Hilda is now collecting dust in the closet and I, too, hope we do not have to meet again.

      XO

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  3. Love the blog Brunnie! You’re not only insightful but a talented writer. I’ve been eyeing wooden carved canes for years. I’m not exactly looking forward to “needing” one, but remember they can not only be an aide, they can be stylish and cool conversation pieces. They can also protect you against aggressive dogs or other wild animals when you’re out and about. Some even have secret compartments that can hold a beverage – and they probably can be useful to jump to the head of a long line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your response ! I too have looked at a few wooden carved canes in case I decide to add to my Hilda collection in the future. I had no idea that some canes have secret compartments that can hold a beverage….Yessss!!! That’s a beautiful thing:)

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  4. That was very nice Brunnie. And yes these kinds of things are happening to most of us. I started thinking what is going on. Did I NOT take good enough care of my body? But then after thinking about it all I have been playing tennis avidly for 45 YEARS. Skiing for 40 YEARS. Also on a moms softball team and a community league volleyball team for several years. Are body issues popping up? They sure are. It guess what? Ultimately I have had so much FUN in my life. It has been a great life. So I will deal with what I have to deal with knowing I participated in living!!! 😘. Vi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Vi! Having fun in our lives, like you describe, is what matters even if and when body issues pop up. It’s a great life… let’s live it flaws and all 🙂

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  5. Oh, I had my little dance with a wheel chair and then, a walker. I hated it and was very happy to graduate to a cane. My favorite thing? My handicapped placard. See, some benefits are good. Don’t hit anyone with Hilda, that would be bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! #canegraduation. And, no, I would never hit anyone with Hilda but admit I enjoyed some of the perks like getting help from strangers at the store. I will miss that .

      Liked by 1 person

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