Mobility Problems

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anniebooboo
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 8/21/2007 6:17 AM (GMT -6)   
G'day Guys,
I've been lurking here reading posts most nights but figure its time again to ask a few questions. When did those of you who use canes decide to do so? How bad did you finally get before you decided you needed some assistance? Me, my right sided exhaustion is steadily worsening and I am finding I am tripping a few times a day. So far I haven't fallen. Often it is my left toe that catches on the ground. Would this be because my right side isn't stable/strong enough to let me propel my good leg up and forward? I thought (maybe illogically) that all my tripping should be happening on my bad side! Am I just a klutz or could this be this (as yet undiagnosed) disease? Lately my right arm is so tired I struggle to brush my teeth/hair and feed myself using this arm. I have to do it left handed. I don't want to use a cane (nobody except my husband even knows that my GP is querying MS) and I don't want to draw any attention to my plight at my workplace (my colleagues would be supportive but I work in a large high school and the kids would crack up!) Anyway, if I already have a weakened/exhausted arm how could I manage a cane on that side? I am also wondering if my changed gait could be causing left hip pain due to overcompensation. Does anyone know or have similar experiences? Just to whinge even further, my body had a break from buzzing for a couple of weeks, but its happening again with a vengance. Both my legs purr constantly. My right back/flank is still numb to touch but burning/tingling again. Is this what would constitute a flare? Still two months until my initial neuro consult. I just hope I'm not going to be permanently damaged by the time I see this guy.
Annie

Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3524
   Posted 8/21/2007 7:19 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey Annie,

This is tough stuff for sure.  The decision as to when you should use a cane can be really tough.  My physical therapist said ( who also happens to have MS ) I need to use mine anytime I cannot stand on one leg for 20 seconds.  So, I use that as my day to day measure.  I too work at a large school and feel your inhibitions at just showing up with a cane.  Kimber gave me some great advice once which was to find a cane that really suited me, one that just looks like me.  That helped me a lot.  I have two now that I like.  As for what to tell people, that is a hard one.  You may want to stick with vague - "I am having some trouble with my hip." and leave it at that.  People tend to only ask questions at first and then they get used to seeing you use a cane.  Don't hesitate to use that cane though, you will make everything worse if you fall and injure yourself.  Take good care.

love and prayers, 


Gretchen
diagnosed: MS  July 2006
 
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.  It's jolted by every pebble on the road.
Henry Beecher
 


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 8/21/2007 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
anniebooboo said...
G'day Guys,
I've been lurking here reading posts most nights but figure its time again to ask a few questions. When did those of you who use canes decide to do so? How bad did you finally get before you decided you needed some assistance? Me, my right sided exhaustion is steadily worsening and I am finding I am tripping a few times a day. So far I haven't fallen. Often it is my left toe that catches on the ground. Would this be because my right side isn't stable/strong enough to let me propel my good leg up and forward? I thought (maybe illogically) that all my tripping should be happening on my bad side! Am I just a klutz or could this be this (as yet undiagnosed) disease? Lately my right arm is so tired I struggle to brush my teeth/hair and feed myself using this arm. I have to do it left handed. I don't want to use a cane (nobody except my husband even knows that my GP is querying MS) and I don't want to draw any attention to my plight at my workplace (my colleagues would be supportive but I work in a large high school and the kids would crack up!) Anyway, if I already have a weakened/exhausted arm how could I manage a cane on that side? I am also wondering if my changed gait could be causing left hip pain due to overcompensation. Does anyone know or have similar experiences? Just to whinge even further, my body had a break from buzzing for a couple of weeks, but its happening again with a vengance. Both my legs purr constantly. My right back/flank is still numb to touch but burning/tingling again. Is this what would constitute a flare? Still two months until my initial neuro consult. I just hope I'm not going to be permanently damaged by the time I see this guy.
Annie
You need to let your doctor know about your left toe -- that is a condition called "foot drop" and is a neurological problem.  The muscles in your left ankle aren't working properly, your foot isn't picking up properly, and you are tripping.
You also need to let him know about the weakness in your right arm. It sounds as if your right side is your weakest side?  All those are important clues for him to reach a diagnosis.
It does sound like you are in the middle of a flare.  You might want to call your doctor and report that, and see if the neuro appointment can be moved up sooner.  While a couple of months won't make a lot of difference in the diagnosis process, it would be useful to see the neuro while you are experiencing all these symptoms. But note that even if you do see the doctor immediately, there is no guarantee that this (or any future flare) won't leave you with some disability. While sometimes steroid treatments can help shorten a flare, they won't necessarily stop the disability from occurring.
You should be using a cane for sure. But you need to see a physical therapist for some lessions on how to properly use the cane.  If your right side is your weakest side, you use the cane on your LEFT side.  This is a quick lesson:  You have the cane on your left side.  When you step forward with your RIGHT foot, you swing the cane forward on your LEFT side, so that you form a sort of tripod -- right foot and cane forward, left foot back.  Then step forward with your left foot. Then repeat.
But a physical therapist can be MUCH more helpful than that..like, how to manage stairs with a cane, and ramps and doors and all that. And it might be that you would do better with one or two forearm crutches.
A cane can give you much greater stability and balance.  And yes, your back and hips can be hurting because your gait is awkward, and your body is trying to compensate for the right sided weakness.  A cane can help with that, too.
Falling is never a good thing. You can certainly cause all sorts of damage to yourself by falling.  I broke my leg in three places when I fell..which led to 9 months in a wheelchair, limited physical therapy after that..and ultimately led to my being in a wheelchair full time.  You don't want to go there if you can avoid it.
Bottom line: call your doctor, report your new and worsening symptoms, see if he can't get you in front of a neuro sooner.  Good luck!

...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


momofltlbrat
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 164
   Posted 8/21/2007 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Annie,
 
You have already gotten great advice.  I got a cane that collapses.  It is easy to tote around for the times I need it.  I agree, get a cane that suits you, there are some great sites that I think I got on from either the MS society, or googling canes.  I forget which.  HAHA
 
I too hate to use the cane.  So much so, that I will struggle with what I call "wall walking" until one of my two girls, ages 11 and 15 go get my cane and tell me I need it.  Kids that age would rather see you safe, then on the floor.  It was and sometimes is still hard for me to use it, but the alternative of laying on the floor, and probably wetting my pants (because of bladder problems) paints a worse scenario for me.
 
You only have to explain what your comfortable with.  You can simply say, I'm sore today and need a little support.
 
Best of luck in whatever you decide is right for you.
 
Debbie

Kimber
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1852
   Posted 8/21/2007 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Annie,
 
    The ladies here are simply wonderful with their responses to you.  It's hard for most people to admit they might need a cane but if you are asking the question then it probably wouldn't hurt to get yourself one and be taught the proper way to use it.  As for bringing attention to yourself with it, you'd be bringing more attention should you fall or trip and fall right?  No one wants that, and I'm sure the kids at the school would rather you use a cane than fall and hurt yourself. 
 
    I do agree with Uppity, you might want to call the neuro and explain whats going on and see if you can get in sooner.  Certainly couldn't hurt to try that, sounds like a flare to me too. 
 
    Good luck and you don't need to get some gawdy black one either, they come in all colors and designs now.  Pick one that you like and would feel comfortable using. 
 
Kimber
 
Co-moderator for Multiple Sclerosis
 
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anniebooboo
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 53
   Posted Yesterday 3:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks girls, your advice is intelligent and appreciated. Will make those phone calls tomorrow and get the ball rolling on this matter. It all just seems surreal at the moment. I have been having trouble for a while but lately I know my situation is worsening. If it is MS, well OK. Probably better than a brain tumour. Its just the second-guessing that is driving me to distraction. I have the added complication that I feel the urge to move on in my job (high school teacher where I have been for 17 years) as I am professionally stagnant! However, when I see interesting jobs advertised I feel unconfident in applying for a number of reasons. What if the stress of change (I don't cope well with it, I think - maybe I would - I haven't tried - LOL) sends me into a massive flare? Declining health may cause me to be incompetent in my new role. This is unnacceptable to me. And if this was to happen I will have burnt my bridges with my current employer. They would not want me to leave, and should my health fail, I know they would be immensely supportive. I work with lovely people, but I am too bored in my job. I don't know what to do. I don't trust my body anymore, yet I know people with this disease need the full understanding of their workmates. Not sure that I would get a similar level of acceptance in a new staff room should the situation arise.
Annie

odettesmom
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2004
Total Posts : 274
   Posted Today 9:33 AM (GMT -6)   
at first hated the cane. it was ugly, metal, clumsy and awkward. it was a tripod and was prescribed by my doctor. today, i see my canes as my fashion statements. have from clear lucite to ebony, plain and decorated. like a heavy cane as it makes me feel more stabilized.

you must see a pt about how to use a cane. that will teach you what size you need and which side, etc. to use it. after that, you're ready to go. i looked up canes on the internet and found one company that had a large selection. also have found a couple in a vintage clothing store. thing is to have fun with your cane. hope it works out for you. linda

Marie-Claire
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 8/27/2007 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
I ended up still falling with a cane when my vertigo was really bad. I never know when It is going to strike so my doctor suggested a crutch instead. I feel much better balanced and steady and can brace myself better when the vertigo and or my legs give outl. I use one or two crutches depending on what kind of day I am having.
Mary
50 yr.old retired RN,Crohn's D for last35 yrs..severe esophagitis, migraines,strictures,urethral stricture,depression,probable MS.
 
 


Helloitsme
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/28/2007 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I waited until the 10-year mark to start using a cane or disabled parking.  I still walk short (okay really short) distances now unaided.  I have had MS for 20 years now...diagnosed at age 19.  When it rains I like to use a large umbrella as a cane when I pick my daughter up from school.  STILL having trouble giving in to this blasted MS!  I do use a wheelchair for places like Disneyland, etc.  You know what looks fun, though?  A Segway!  I saw a bunch of college students really having fun this summer zipping around town with them.  They are basically "people movers" in scooter form.  Heck, if they can do it, why not?

uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 8/29/2007 5:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Helloitsme said...
I waited until the 10-year mark to start using a cane or disabled parking.  I still walk short (okay really short) distances now unaided.  I have had MS for 20 years now...diagnosed at age 19.  When it rains I like to use a large umbrella as a cane when I pick my daughter up from school.  STILL having trouble giving in to this blasted MS!  I do use a wheelchair for places like Disneyland, etc.  You know what looks fun, though?  A Segway!  I saw a bunch of college students really having fun this summer zipping around town with them.  They are basically "people movers" in scooter form.  Heck, if they can do it, why not?

I think the Segways look like fun, too. Only problem is, my balance is lousy, and you have to have a really good sense of balance to successfully ride a Segway.  I don't always "know" where my left side is, for example, and have no feeling in my legs, so a Segway wouldn't be a good thing for me.  Once I had several serious exacerbations I was never able to stand all that long anyway, so yet another reason why it wouldn't work.

The same company that builds the Segway, though, has a wheelchair that climbs stairs! Now THERE'S something I'd like!  Gotta win the lottery first, though..they start out at around $5,000 and go up...


 


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


Kimber
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1852
   Posted 8/29/2007 9:21 PM (GMT 0)   
A wheelchair that climbs stairs??? Anyone able to find a link I would love to see this.
 
Helloitsme-  Welcome to the forum, glad to have you here :)
 
Co-moderator for Multiple Sclerosis
 
Allow Healing Well to continue to help others, clink link for details

Sweetlydia66
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 8/29/2007 8:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kimber,
Its called the ibot. It does climb stairs, but you have to have excellent upper body strength b/c you have to literally pull your self up and be able to guide your self down. Did you forget i am the Queen of the power wheelchairs? lol. That is what i sell at work remember>>LOL. I have to know the competition, you know!
There is a local girl in my town who works at Target who drives one, it is pretty cool
I forget the manufacturer, but i do know it is called the ibot. Almost positive, woudn't that be funny if it wasn't, lol (i am a little silly tonight, the 3rd day on my round two of solumedrol )
See ya,
Lynn

http://www.ibotnow.com/about-ibot.html

here is the site


Dx Dec 06, Rebif,44mcgs 3 x wk, Baclofen, Lyrica, Celexa

Post Edited (Sweetlydia66) : 8/29/2007 8:36:32 PM (GMT-6)


Kimber
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1852
   Posted 9/1/2007 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lynn,
 
   This is neat thanks for the information!  I know who to come to now with my wheelchair questions, be prepared! tongue He's due for a new one so we are window shopping a bit.  He has a Jazzy right now but he wants something with a more comfortable seat, any suggestions? 
 
 
Kimber
 
Co-moderator for Multiple Sclerosis
 
Allow Healing Well to continue to help others, clink link for details

Sweetlydia66
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 9/1/2007 7:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kimber,
Well, he's in a Jazzy. That is my product girl. We have new seating. Check out www.quantumrehab.com It is Tru comfort seating. You guys should visit your local DME company and check some stuff out. What state are you in, i can find out for you who to go see that has one in their store. Email me, i dont know if i can post all this stuff on HW. Sorry if i did . My email is on here.
Love,
Lynn
Dx Dec 06, Rebif,44mcgs 3 x wk, Baclofen, Lyrica, Celexa


uppitycats
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 9/1/2007 8:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the quantumrehab link, and finding your email. I may email you too -- I'm doing some very preliminary research on power chairs. I "fell in love" with the Jazzy 600 I borrowed some weeks ago. I'll have to see if you've got them.
...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


Sweetlydia66
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 9/1/2007 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Uppitycats ,
Any questions please feel free to ask and email me whenever you would like. I have been with Pride for 5 years so i am pretty versed when it comes to power mobilility. The 600 series power is fabulous. It is the top selling chair on the market right now, excellent choice. Great ride. There is also a q6000z new also, for a more active user. Check it out and know that i am here for you all with any questions that may arise. Just ask. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Love
Lynn
Dx Dec 06, Rebif,44mcgs 3 x wk, Baclofen, Lyrica, Celexa

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