Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Want a Cane

I want a cane.

It's a strange thing to want, but it would save me a lot of grief.

See, nobody expects a person walking with a cane to walk fast. Nobody expects a person with a cane to do all the chores in a timely fashion, or run after their toddler relatives. The average person offers a person with a cane a little leeway, a little understanding. Sure, they also offer the person with the cane unwelcome pity, but still.

I could use a little leeway.

You probably don't see me this way. On the internet, I am virtual me: strong, independent, fearless, without limitation. In real life I'm fading fast. I am an equal online, where ideas and the ability to express them are most important, but in real life I'm sitting on the sidelines, unable to compete with all the runners.

I'm in too much pain to move, too tired to clean the tub, and exercise intolerance forces me to spread mopping 800 sq ft of hardwood floors over three days. Even then, I pay for keeping my floors clean. I restrict my fluid intake so I don't have to get up to pee as often. But because I look fine, my friends and family just don't buy it. "Well, if you exercised more, you'd feel better." No, I'd incur more heart/muscle damage. "You just enjoy playing video games more than you like cleaning." That's true (who doesn't?), but not the issue. "You just don't like babies." I love babies, but she's going to get hurt if I watch her because I can't keep up with her.

I suggested that maybe this year, Thanksgiving could be at someone else's house, because cleaning the house for the last 2 years of holidays (all of them) left me too tired and in too much pain to even participate. I spent Thanksgiving last year in the bathroom, crying. And was then castigated for "ignoring" everyone. Christmas, I don't even want to discuss.

My suggestion that I be given a break this year was met with outrage. "My house is too small!" "Your house is the nicest!" "What- you don't want us to have Thanksgiving this year?!"

I just want to eat cranberry sauce and stuffing this time, instead of crying in pain on the bathroom floor because I can't even get on to the toilet to cry.


  1. I don’t know what to say … I can’t imagine living in pain like that. Can you say what you’re suffering from?

  2. this is horrible.
    i grew up under tha shadow of both my mother and my step-mother "being more in pain" than me, but at least they *GOT* that i was in pain.

    re: cane. it shocked me, it really did, how all the bullshit snarky "your not really in pain your just lazy" went right the fuck away once i had to start using a cane.
    and, from what i gather, you *do* have good and suffecient reason to use one. you don't have to use it all the time (it is kind of embarrasing to go to a club while needing to use a cane), but you could use it fairly often. wave it around. threaten your relatives with it.

    i send Good Thoughts your way. all of the holidays should *NOT* be at your house, especially if they are making you do all the damned work!
    can you insist on getting *HELP* if they just must have turkey at your house? because even if you were Wonder Woman, it is downright fucking RUDE to put the burden of every single holiday on YOUR shoulders, and then not even help you clean up afterwards.

    but mostly, i am just offering a shoulder and some empathy and understanding.

    go ahead and get a cane. if nothing else, it's a weapon (in so many senses!)


  3. also: appologies for not once, but TWICE typing "your" instead of "you're". i have no clue why i did that. none at all. sorry

  4. It sounds like you don't have very understanding relatives. I don't want to tell you what to do, but if I were you, and hosting Thanksgiving was going to be that hellish, I would just have to tell them I wasn't doing it this year. They can get over it.

  5. Well, I DO walk with a cane, and you would be surprised at how little ice it cuts.

    I have tho opposite problem a lot of times. I, as the youngsters in the military now say, "embrace the suck" (in my day, in Viet Nam, we used to simply say, "It don't mean nuthin'", a bit more fatalistic, but roughly the same thing, and simply do what we could to survive if not thrive) and do a bit too much to suit them. I have very good friends, I'm quite lucky.

    But disability, chronic pain, and the expectations of society at large and the expectations of others is really something to deal with.

    No matter what they say, no one feels your pain, and they are damn glad of it. They may "feel for" you, but they often take meticulous care to not touch you at all. The pain of others is considered a weakness, something to be overcome, "won" against, and giving in is evidence of moral and personal shortcoming. If you give in to pain you are a "loser".

    A doctor once told me when I asked him about certain relief for my own chronic pain (facial, arm, and hip wounds and their after effects) I was informed that since pain was not actually independently measureable, it really didn't exist and was of no concern to him. Pain, to him (and several others I've encountered) is 'anecdotal', 'subjective', and 'notional'.

    Pain is a great inconvenience to most others, I suppose...

    But my cane...due to the fact that I live in an area that boasts more denizens than residents I have loaded the tip with about six ounces of lead...

    As I turned to leave the foe-mentioned doctor after an appointment, the cane swung and impacted the "Good Doctor"'s knee and this caused him some to have one of his 'anecdotal', 'subjective', 'notional' experiences.

    He claimed I did it on purpose, but his nurse and another person reported that the cane was hanging on my arm and had simply swung out as I turned. It was true: if I'd have done it on purpose I'd have aimed higher and more central.

    I doubt he learned form that 'teachable moment', though.

  6. My wife has said I should put in some positives about the cane:

    It is handy device for many things, among them, herding people (especially youngsters) where you need them to be, doing things "by hook and by crook", ie: snaking items in stores off top shelves, pulling, assorted grandchildren back from things when you can't reach them quick enough otherwise...the utility is endless.

  7. Sarge;

    you are (i'm pretty sure), male. it's a wee bit different.
    i have *HAD* to walk with a cane for ober 2 years now. no cane, and i'm not walking.

    and now, instead of everyone assuming i am making it up, they assume that i *have* to be telling the truth, because why else would a woman use a cane? yay, sexism. sign

    but, i say to YOU sarge - get a new fucking doctor. if i had any notion of where you were, i'd make you come see MY pain management doctor. who won't let me start getting off the pain meds. so i am sure he would talk to you about what you NEED to do.

    pain as a "notional, unmeasurable, unknowable" thing. BULLSHIT. it may be different for each person, but there ARE ways to tell if a person is in pain. lots and lots and lots of ways to "prove" their pain is real.

    seriously. is this the VA? if it is, i am ANGRY because the VA is supposed to have become much better over the past 15 years. my step mom gets treatment at the VA for a thing other doctors won't even admit is real...

  8. I'm fit and healthy and don't suffer from such pain, and yet hosting thanksgiving is HELL. I get completely wiped out.

    denelian: "wave it at your relatives" LOL

  9. Ulyana:

    "wave" is a euphimism for "beat". it is rather shocking how easy it is to cow my sisters just by saying "i have a cane. made of metal. shut up". of course, a huge part of that is i'm the oldest, and it's my *job* to threaten my younger sisters when the try and make their husbands wear horrible sweaters, or even worse make their CHILDREN wear horrible sweaters...


  10. I am sorry, PF. I don't know how you feel and don't know what to say. I wish I could do something for you. If there is anything I could do, don't hesitate to ask.

  11. As much as I disagree with you politically, I am truly sorry you are in so much pain. It makes everything in life harder and people who aren't in pain, or have forgotten it, don't really know what you go through.

  12. As I read your post, a couple of conditions came to mind that you might want to google: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or an arthritis (some kinds such as rheumatoid occur in younger people, usually women). Also, while you probably don't want any advice, I've seen an anti-inflammatory diet do wonders for almost anyone with chronic physical pain.


Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

Creative Commons License
Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at