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Don’t Judge Me by My Mobility Aids

I have chronic migraine and suffer from severe vertigo on and off. It was actually vertigo that led to the migraine diagnosis many years ago. I guess I must be thankful for that. I was so unstable that the doctors thought I had multiple sclerosis.

What did they do to rule out MS?

I was immediately admitted to the hospital from the emergency room. My pulse rate was high also, and during this time, I kept a low-grade fever. I was put on the telemetry floor due to the heart rate. On the first full day of this admission, I saw multiple doctors. They did brain and spinal MRIs. I had neurologists and surgeons come in because they were unsure of the diagnosis. The neurologist had me walk and bend over. It was determined that my gait was very unsteady. I was falling and tripping a lot. They performed several neurological tests. I am pleased that all of those tests were negative for spinal lesions and whatever else had them thinking of MS, in the beginning.

How did they get to a migraine diagnosis?

I am not sure how they came up with a diagnosis of migraine. It is possible that they arrived there through a process of elimination. I was so drugged up that I honestly do not remember. I do know that they trialed numerous anti-nausea medications as well as started me on gabapentin and verapamil, during this time.

What mobility aids do I need?

I was confined to my bed while I was hospitalized. On the day of discharge, though, they had me try to walk on my own. I could not at this point. The doctor prescribed a walker, as I was too unstable for a cane. I was told that once my mobility is better, I could bring the walker back, and I would get a cane. I had the walker for a little over two months. I then had to prove that I was stable enough for the cane.

I improved and took the walker back. I got my first cane. I had to use this device for a couple of years. I liked the cane better than the walker, but I still felt ashamed to use it.

Why did I feel ashamed?

When I was younger, I was ashamed of using any assistive devices. I was in my late 20s and felt like I was too young for that. I thought that others’ looks or words mattered. I did get stares often. I had even seen people pointing and laughing. No one thinks they will ever need that until it happens to them.

What other assistive devices have I used?

Since that time, I have had to use other things. My vertigo became less problematic, but my back, hips, severe hypotension, and even post-op conditions have caused me to need a rollator and wheelchair. My go-to on good days is the rollator. I save the wheelchair for when I have assistance to push it, and I need to go farther.

What have I learned?

I have learned that:

  • No one’s opinions matter except your own.
  • If you need it, you should use it, despite the stares.
  • A doctor prescribed the aid to better your life.
  • Do not be afraid, but embrace your new way of doing things.
  • You still matter!

Time has made me more self-aware, and just appreciate that I can get the modality devices. I am happier that I do not care what other people may think about me. I actually hope that people will ask why I use a certain device. This gives me an opportunity to share my health story. I hope anyone reading this will also know that no matter what life brings, embrace it and use it to your full potential.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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