Nice Bike

Looking down into my family room from my kitchen table, I noticed my blue, metallic walker with the seat on it had become an end table. Fortunately, it blends in well with the blue décor of the room. It holds the remote, phone, keys, papers, snacks and it’s portable. It has become such a part of the furnishings that I forgot I once used it to get around. Now it is being repurposed as furniture or auxiliary seating. This realization made me a little queasy, because I couldn’t remember when I stopped walking. I know it was a gradual process and I’m assuming that comes from having MS for many years.
Signs of the struggle to stay on my feet are all over this house. The wallpaper alongside the door leading from my bedroom into the bath is completely worn away from clutching the frame to steady myself as I made the transition from carpet to tile. Grab bars at all heights and angles now go unused except for the one of three in the powder room, which is perfect for hanging towels.

My son became one of my best assistive devices for walking for about six months. When we were out, I firmly had my cane in one hand and the other in a firm grip on the back of his neck. He lovingly referred to the move as that “chokie thing.” It worked until he shot past me in height, twelve years ago, I think.
I suppose I should have been keeping track of the milestones in my MS Journey Journal, but what a boring and depressing read that would be. MS changes your life. I can’t remember the year I stopped walking and perhaps I don’t want to. I am resigned to using a wheelchair. But, on a recent shopping trip to Macy’s, a darling three-year-old girl came right up to me and pointing at my wheelchair told me she really liked my bike. Occurrences such as that can change your point of view.
I have a similar walker in red in my bedroom and it too has become a piece of furniture. It holds my hair dryer, makeup, piles of folded clean laundry on the seat and it makes a great place to hang unmatched socks. But, I have to remember, some people think my wheelchair makes a nice bike.
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Susan Skoney, Blogger

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.

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  • David Maskalick   Aug 16, 2016 3:51 PM
    Your story helps keep all of our lives in perspective with humor. Thank you. :)
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    oldhippie  Aug 16, 2016 4:30 PM
    Ah yes the infomisse walker, I to have one it got moved to the basement about six months ago and I can't seem to get anyone to bring it up so I can use it, so I just stumble along when find the courage to go out 'this is not often' .
  • Jenny   Aug 16, 2016 5:29 PM
    I too have had MS for many years and walking is becoming a thing of the past. However when I'm in town with my red scooter I get a variety of looks, some smiley sympathetic, some horribly patronising, most don't see me . But the small children look on in envy and point and shout encouragement much to their parents embarrassment. Personally I love it ,me and my red car.
  • SmartyPants   Aug 16, 2016 7:38 PM
    Yes the tools we need to stay independent change, but some of us just get stuck at one stage, I have Progressive MS, and went from using a wheelchair to now walking with two canes and a walker. When i go out i need my air cushion so i use my wheelchair. Whatever it takes do it, the alternative is never going out, or falling and breaking a hip. I see many people when faced with having to use canes or wheelchairs as being very resistant, but the tools we have now in the disability field is awesome. The durable medical equipment keeps us out in he world doing good things.
  • Carolyn   Aug 17, 2016 12:25 AM
    I thought this was going to be an upbeat story about someone who had been able to get around now without their walker, and that is what the story is about. Just not the way I had imagined it. We all have our own story though, and I thank you for showing me, and others about the truth that can be the story for some people.

    MS doesn't play nicely, and we all have to manage with whatever we are given. I appreciate you sharing your words, thank you.
  • Beth   Aug 17, 2016 2:34 AM
    I definitely recommend you to watch ex MS sufferer Terry Wahl on youtube.
    Dr Terry Wahl 'How I Went From Wheelchair to Walking By Changing My Diet'.
  • AnyBeth   Aug 17, 2016 2:40 AM
    I'm a walker/wheelchair user. Late 2014, a nephew, T, was born. At 10 mos, my hands on the handles and his on the seat, he went on his first walk with a grown-up under his own power. We went on a lot of these little walks together.

    T explored the wheelchair with me in it several times. The first time he could check it out empty, to his great surprise, it didn't perform the same. He came and got me, making it absolutely clear he wanted me in the seat. As far as T's concerned, my wheelchair doesn't work right without me in it. He's still suspicious of it empty. Last time, he was horrified to have accidentally knocked of the cushion. He thought he broke it -- he'd never seen the bare seat, poor kid.

    Recently, T has been wanting to know what every bit of the wheelchair was for. He understood the wheels, the breaks, the seat and its frame. I demonstrated the folding to show him what the mechanism underneath did. I invented a use for the ever-empty armrest holders, but I didn't want to do that for the handles. Very rarely do I need a push, but I wouldn't want it to upset T if I do. So I had my sister to demonstrate. After a tentative trial (he's just tall enough to reach), T came around to my side. He motioned to the handles and slowly shook his head; then he patted a wheel, nodding. Maybe pushing the handles (or any of it, really) can make my wheelchair move, but it works by me pushing the wheels.

    T's a cutie in general, but I find his understanding of my equipment especially adorable.
  • Denise Coleman   Aug 17, 2016 12:47 PM
    I assume you are in a wheelchair now, and I appreciate all the adjustments you have had to make. My silver walker is now a clothes drier or a place where I put clothes that need to be hung up so my aide can do that when she comes. We have to be able to adjust with the times. I am in a wheelchair now, mostly motorized, and I had to have my house made accessible with ramps and larger doorways into rooms. I have gone from walking independently to using one crutch, then a walker, then two crutches, and for the last five years I've been in a wheelchair. I have a scooter that I used all the time in Manhattan but I moved to suburbia four years ago and it is a whole different world. I am having more trouble adjusting to life in the suburbs than I did with whatever mode of transportation I used.

    I wish you much luck with all you must accept over time.
  • Betty   Aug 18, 2016 1:26 PM
    My husband and I went on a trip to Nashville last year. I don't use anything at home except chairs and counters some. Usually the cane when I am out. Occasionally the walker if really needed. My husband said we really should take the walker and the chair, you never know how far you will have to go. So I unhappily agreed since would be out much more than at home. Had everything packed and on the bed. I was walking out of the room and glanced at my scarves I had hanging there. Some bought and most crocheted thin for accessories not warmth. And said if I have to take those stinking things I am going to make them pretty so took some scarves to decorate. Had many compliments on them.
  • Susan   Aug 18, 2016 5:20 PM
    To deal with pain
  • Susan   Aug 18, 2016 5:20 PM
    To deal with pain
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    Glassgirl  Aug 19, 2016 11:43 AM
    Oh, ya, those milestones that we aren't remembering with glee. However you are still moving in that nice bike and that's our goal, Still Moving! I'm firmly using the cane now, looking at the rotator in the corner some days. But I'm moving and that's what counts!
  • Diane   Aug 24, 2016 8:30 AM
    You are a woman of courage!
  • Tom Cote   Aug 24, 2016 10:15 AM
    Regarding your son: now that he's taller, you can use his elbow. Ask him to hold his arm rigid. When I was still walking, any 11 or 12 year old was my 'human walker'. They are usually happy to be able to help an adult, especially it's one they love. That rollator can come in handy if the chair was to fail. I use a scooter on my first floor, but when it's broken, I like the rollator. I just clear off the things that are stored on it. Yes, my house is all scuffed up, too, from hitting it with my scooter.
    Children are often fascinated by my scooter, and that's OK. When they ask why I use it, "My legs don't work well anymore" is all the need to hear, and their curiosity is quenched,
  • JamieLee  Aug 24, 2016 4:38 PM
    Thank you for sharing! Just what I needed to read today.