I broke my right femur, I tell them.
As if anyone knows what a femur is. It was only after I broke it that I learned that this is my thighbone, a part of my anatomy...
By Muriel Lilker
My goodness, what happened? people ask when they see me with a cane.
I broke my right femur, I tell them.
As if anyone knows what a femur is. It was only after I broke it that I learned that this is my thighbone, a part of my anatomy that I just took for granted, along with my gallbladder, my rib cage and all the other vitals I always assumed could function without any prompting from me.
Werent you taking bone-density tests? one friend asked.
It looks like she failed, another said.
What were your numbers?
As if I knew. Was 150 my blood pressure? Or was that my cholesterol? It wouldnt be my sugar, would it? Then what was my bone density?
Look, I told my friends, with the help of exercise and the cane, Ill be fine.
But would I, if I didnt do all the walking the therapist ordered?
Where can I go? I asked. People get very suspicious when they see a stranger on their block.
Not when youre using a cane, my friend said. Just look where youre going.
Boy, did I have to look! Not only were sidewalks uneven, but they were no match for tree roots that went ahead and pushed the pavement up, daring me to continue my stroll. Where was it safe to walk?
This is when my friends came through.
Ill drive along beside you, Cory said, so Ill be there if you trip on anything.
She should walk down by the shore, said Felice, where the pathway is nice and smooth. Im free on Tuesdays and Fridays, she added, so I can walk with you.
Do you have to use that cane? asked Emma, pointing to my staff with the label on it from the home health center. I have a snazzier one in my basement that Ill bring over.
This was when my injury was still a novelty and friends were helping me with shopping and chauffeuring me around. But then time passed and they started to ask, Arent you supposed to be better after eight months? And, Are you going to use that cane forever?
I am better now, but I have to admit that there are both advantages and disadvantages to using a cane.
On the plus side, all I had to do was enter a subway train and passengers suddenly jumped up and offered a seat, not only to me, but to my friends, as well.
At home I lucked out, too. Just the sight of me with a dust rag in one hand and a cane in the other was too much for my husband.
Hold it, he said, grabbing the cane before it changed forever the appearance of our lamps. You sit, Ill dust.
Did I say there were disadvantages, too? I found that out when the forecast was for rain.
Why do you want to walk now? my husband asked. You cant manage an umbrella and a cane.
Why not? I asked confidently as I started out with my cane in one hand and the umbrella in the other.
Guess what happened when I was at the point of no return between my house and the supermarket.
Guess how wet you can get when you struggle to open an umbrella without letting go of a cane.
And, guess who needed a towel when she returned home and had to dry the cane, as well.
Even trying to relax at a movie was a problem. The soda holder was never meant for a cane. Nothing was meant for a cane. Especially when it trips up other moviegoers trying to get to their seats. This is when we started to rent movies.
Good news! By now I dont really need the cane anymore, so Ill be glad to lend it to anyone who needs one. You know though, the label doesnt come off!
©2002 Community News Group
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