White Cane:Friend Or Fo

After reading
This post
From John, I thought i’d write about my relationship with the cane and when i first got it.

When i was a child, i had a fantastic social worker who taught me how to use the cane when i was about the age of three or 4. Now this was before canes were designed especially for kids, so my cane was a tiny simbol cane, which was painted pink and had little bells on the end of it. I called that cane Annabell after my classroom assistant at my nursery school. I wasn’t really that keen on using Annabell though, because i couldn’t understand why nobody else had to use a cane. Unfortunately poor Annabell was stopped when i went to school, as the school didn’t like any of its blind pupils using a cane unless it was with the mobility officer there. So poor Annabell now resides in a cupboard, probably never to see the light of day again. I’m not even sure if she still exists.

When i was at school, i just had to trail the walls which was basically having your hands at about waist height and trailing the walls with the back of your hand. It was horrible when you hit your fingers off horribley sticky out door jams. Not to mention the massive radiators which were at knee height and were ever so painful if you walked in to them as they were big chunky things.

I didn’t get to use a cane until i was about 12. The mobility officer in school didn’t really teach me much. In fact i learnt more from my rehab worker who had started working with me at home at that time, than i ever did at school.

I remember when i started learning the cane with my rehab worker at home. We went to where my social worker works. It is a day centre but that part is upstairs. Anyway the downstairs part has long straight corridors. The very first cane i used was a pencil tip one. It wasn’t recommended much as it would get stuck in cracks in the pavement and such. I eventually moved on to a roller ball when i was propperly measured for a cane.

I remember trying to walk in step with the cane (I don’t really walk in step even now), learning about traffic, different surfaces through the cane, pinging off every lamppost, the first route you learn with a cane…i could go on. I wonder out of interest if i would still remember that first route i learnt with the cane. Hmmmm. Even the first time i had to ask for assistance was hard.

I worked with the cane up until i was about 18 but yet i still could never see eye to eye with it. I had a good technique and could use it pretty well, but i was never that keen. I think it could have been because i didn’t have it from 5 to 12, so that is such a long time without support. Maybe i might have liked and used it more. Plus maybe if i had to use it to get places rather than relying on my family, i might have used it more too. Who knows.

I was very hard on myself when i used the cane. I had to be perfectly straight, perfectly alined, I had to know my left from my right. I remember on a couple of occasions beating myself up ridiculously when i was told when i applied for a guide dog that i had a
Rolling gait
For example, or when i kept making mistakes and i
Got in a tiz over my left and rights
Note that it was me putting all that pressure on myself.

I have great admiration for people who can use their cane full time. I personally use a dog, but it’s all different strokes for different folks.

So what are everyone elses experiences of the cane? Would it be your friend, or fo? If you have got this far, thank you. That was a massive case of word vomit there. Thank you for reading though :).

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