|Photo taken from Google Images|
First I'd like to publically thank Kathy of @Meow_Girls for sharing her story of being a care giver (along with her sister Anne) of their father in the previous post. I think it reminds all of us that being a caregiver to any disabled person is a full-time job and not an easy one physically or mentally. Kathy and Anne truly are an inspiration to all of us. They do have their hands full.
A few weeks ago, the neurologist suggested I get a walker because I had mentioned that I felt like my legs were going to give out sometimes. This was especially noticeable when trying to shop. Grocery shopping was not a huge problem, because I push the cart. But when going to a department store or the local mall, I was always hoping there would be a cart at the entrance of the store to grab on to.
I did not rush right out tho to get one because it's easy to procrastinate until the day comes when you really wish you had it to use.
When the neurologist prescribed the walker, he also wrote a prescription for Physical Therapy. This was invaluable as the therapist was so very helpful. Not only did she teach me things I could do at home to help build strength, but she also worked with me on trying to improve balance (a big problem with persons who have PD. She watched me walk and suggested I also get a walker then proceeded to dig one of theirs out of the back room. She recommended getting one with wheels, a seat so I could sit down when tired, and most important of all - brakes.
Brakes are very important if you have PD and if you have a walker with wheels. Going downhill on even the slightest decline (like the driveway) makes you want to go faster. It's hard to control the momentum for some reason.
The therapist had me driving it all around their facility. It was great. I could stand up straighter when walking versus having the stooped over walk which is so typical of PD people. One very nice thing I noticed right away - I could finally walk at a decent pace instead of creeping like a snail. I felt like a kid with a new bike to ride.
That afternoon Don and I ran downtown to the same Home Medical Store that we had bought the stair climber from. They had to measure me for the walker, so I couldn't take it with me then, but I could pick it up the next day.
When I asked if Medicare would pay for it. The answer was yes, as long as there was a prescription form the doctor. I proudly handed over my prescription, thinking I was so smart to already have that in my hand.
WRONG - not so smart after all. The prescription had to be exactly for the type of walker I was looking for. It needed to say with seat, brakes, and basket. Otherwise, I would get the basic model - no seat, no brakes. Something to keep in mind if and when you ever have to do this.
This meant going home, calling the doctor, and having the correct prescription faxed over to the home Medical store. Nothing in life is ever easy or simple.
The walker was ready to be picked up the next day. Fortunately, we drive a car with a HUGE trunk because this walker is not easy to transport because of the shape. It does collapse by pulling up on the seat handle, but is still rather bulky. It JUST fits in my trunk. It is NOT the type of walker you can just shove in your back seat for transport. A girl friend picked me up for lunch recently, and she had her car, which is somewhere between a car and a van. It would not fit in the back without dropping the seat.
One other piece of information - Medicare will only pay for a walker for you once every 5 years, so you are wise to keep that in mind when shopping for one. In my estimation, that is fair, and quite frankly I was surprised that they even paid for this one.
I know this sounds like a product review - well it isn't. I'm just so happy to have the mobility to go into stores without having to worry if I'll find a cart of some type to hold on to and, most importantly, I can sit down when I feel the need.
It is a great invention, and you don't realize how great until you really need one.
Hope you'll come back next week because Debra, human mom to @Manxmnews will be a guest blogger again. She's been doing lots of research too on PD, so came up with an excellent post you won't want to miss.