POTS Images: The Girl with a Walker

When I think of a walker I picture…  Well, what do you picture?  It probably isn’t a beautiful 17 year-old girl.  She’s probably older than that, right?  A bit more wrinkled?

And that’s a problem.  Walkers conjure up images of “old people,”  which is ridiculous if you think about it because we all know that there are really tons of people of all ages that need walkers, rollators, wheel chairs and canes.  Great, amazing people who need help.  And then we just saw a footless man run in the Olympics.  That was amazing.  It’s inspiring.

And yet… there’s still this image in our heads.

I suppose in my pushing and feeble attempts at being Tiara’s personal cheerleader, I forget what the reality of all this must be for her.  Some times I don’t want to think too much or I’ll worry more and feel sadder that my girl has to go through this.  POTS isn’t want to go away anytime soon.

I’m looking for solutions – like this walker, forgetting how challenging that solution must be to face.

But school is coming next week and though she’ll only be taking two classes at the school, she needs to get around independently and needs stability.  She needs it for little things like taking walks and getting the mail.  It’s a simple chore, but she hasn’t been able to get the mail since January and it’s these little things that makes her just a tiny bit excited to have the freedom that a walker can bring.

Last week I learned that many medical supply stores won’t even let you enter their showroom without a doctor’s note and/or prescription, so today we went to Walgreens.  It’s a small pharmacy attached to our local hospital and has only one small divider creating two tiny aisles.  There were 2 walkers and 2 rollators along the back wall, so that she could hide back there and look at them a little without really being seen.

I pulled out a blue rollator at first.  It had 4 swivel wheels, a pouch, and a chair, so it’s easy to maneuver and use as a walker, but also provides a seat if you need to sit or even be pushed.  They’re really great if you’re not thinking about pushing one around your high school.  I got excited.  Tiara, well, she set her jaw and shook her head.  A giant crocodile tear slid down her cheek as she tried to hold back the others.  Too big. Too obvious. No.

She’d barely stepped out of her hiding place, then stepped back and tried out the standard grey hospital walkers where no one could see her.  They don’t have wheels, but there are wheels that come separately.  She liked that she could stand inside of it instead of pushing it in front.  From a space issue, it was better.

I talked to the pharmacist and asked her opinion while Tiara silently cried in the back.  I bought the walker and 4 wheels.  Her dad put it together.

The wheels don’t turn, so maneuvering is hard and she’s too unstable to lift and turn and if she forces it, it makes a horrible sound on the floor – not cool at school where she wants to blend in as much as possible and draw as little attention as possible.

So this was Saturday.  She looks across the room at her walker as if it’s the enemy instead of this illness that requires it.  She doesn’t want to touch it or look at it or try it out.  She glares at her sisters as they try to roll it around.  To them it’s fun.  They don’t get it.

Today is the first day of school.

Sisters 1, 2, and 3 are all out the door and on their way, excited and ready.  Tiara has a migraine that started a week ago, slowly, teasing her that it was just a headache, but it’s increased and she’s in too much pain to endure the noise of high school.

I’m online ordering a Minnie Winnie from Amazon, a three-wheeled rollator that has a little bag, but no seat and is therefore smaller and more compact than the 4-wheeled versions, so that when Tiara does go to school, that she’s prepared with something that works for her.

We’ll see how that goes… this is a learning process for both of us.

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