I’ve had a few people that have been stunned that I am “suddenly” using a walker. But I think most people forget that I have already been using a “mobility aid” for over 6 years now. Most of the stunned folk just didn’t understand my pre-cancer medical condition. I have had Meniere’s Disease since I was in my teens. It causes hearing issues, balance issues, and severe vertigo.
Amos was originally prescribed by my doctor as a balance/bracing dog, but we were totally blessed by the fact that he is a total pro at sensing my vertigo before it happens. So alerting was added to his job description after-the-fact.
After a few years together, Amos started showing signs of arthritis in his hips. This was around the same time Trent was in the hospital for his heart issues. I got a walker because I wanted to relieve Amos of some of his balance/bracing duties. And even legit service dogs are not allowed in the ICU and other areas of the hospital where masks needed to be worn (this was pre-COVID.) So I used a walker while Trent was in the hospital when I went to visit him.
Now that my cancer has metastasized into my spine, and one of my cancer meds causes severe hip and other bone pain, I am back to using my walker, but on a much more regular basis. I have Wilbert for use outside of the house and a slightly smaller version for around the house (Wilbert tends to crash into walls in our hallways.) The smaller one isn’t as trustworthy as Wilbert, but doesn’t tear up my house.
My oncologist said that she doesn’t want to see me without my walker because the Meniere’s fall-risk coupled with cancer in my spine coupled with the fact that radiation therapy weakens the bones even more, makes it so that if I lose my balance and fall, my bones (esp my ribs and spine) could shatter like glass. And that would be bad.
So for those who were surprised by my “sudden” use of a walker. (And who have bothered to read this far.) Suffice it to say, this has not been sudden. The regular use of a walker has been a long time coming, and my doctor said to brace myself (no pun intended) for the fact that a wheelchair may not be too far in my future. She said the only reason she doesn’t want me in a wheelchair right now is because she would like to do everything possible to avoid blood clots in my legs, which includes using a walker instead of a wheelchair for the time being.
So Amos is currently living the good life as a retired balance/bracing service dog, but is still alerting me at home. And Wilbert has taken over the duties of balancing me and bracing me while I walk. Wilbert is also much more patient with my desire to “decorate him”. (Amos was never into that, his mobility harness was far as he would let me go.)
So here we are, after quite a few years. There is nothing sudden about Wilbert the Warrior Wagon’s appearance in my life. Which is why I am so comfortable with him at this point.