Sunday, December 5, 2021

'Slim' proves to be my best friend

"Slim" has proven to be my best friend, and I will tell you why.

As many of my readers know, I met up with some bad luck just before last Christmas when I fell and broke my right ankle in three places.

For the past four months, I have been recovering with the help of orthopedic surgeons, occupational therapists, physical therapists, my dear wife Judy and a friend who I call "Slim."

Who is "Slim?" He's a black, metal walking cane (walking stick) that is adjustable and will extend far enough to accommodate a 7-foot-plus NBA basketball player. My desired height is 3 foot.

I was first introduced to a cane when my father, Willie (Lestrud), had a couple of canes lying around the house after he was laid up with a broken leg. He broke his leg when kicked by a cow on our small dairy farm located two miles west of Corning.

As a kid, I just used the cane as a plaything.

As I grew older, my father offered it to me when my son Troy and his wife Nancy announced that Judy and I were going to be grandparents (Kaley). My dad slyly pushed the cane toward me, acknowledging the fact that I was going to be a grandfather.

Most recently, my physical therapist set me up with a fancy cane. I thought you just put the cane forward and began walking. Huh! It's not that easy.

Therapists Derek and Shannon gave me lessons on how to use a cane. Yes, there is a technique to using a cane.

When used as a mobility or stability aid, canes are generally used in the hand opposite the injury or weakness. Since my right ankle is the injured part, my therapists said I should carry the cane with my left hand.

I was taught to go up a flight of stairs putting my left foot forward first. When going down stairs, I was taught to lead with my "bad" foot.

It works! When going on a flat surface, lead with the cane and notice that the cane hits the ground when the right foot is forward and again when the left foot is forward.

"Slim" provides me with stability when walking. I can easily transfer most of my weight from the right side to the left side.

A cane is used primarily to aid walking and to provide postural stability or support, or to assist in maintaining good posture."

Wikipedia says in North America, a walking cane is a walking stick with a curved top, much like a shepherd's staff, but shorter. Thus, although they are called "canes," they are usually made of material heavier than cane, such as wood or metal.

I'm beginning to do more walking without the help of my friend "Slim."

Judy teases me from time to time, saying "Where's Slim?" I respond with a quizzical look, indicating that I parked him somewhere, maybe in the bathroom, in the kitchen, or in my office.

I wholeheartedly recommend finding a cousin to "Slim" and using this device to make your journeys much easier.

I hope to soon retire "Slim" and plan on using "lefty" and "righty" to reach my destinations. Until then, I hope "Slim" will be close by at all times.






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