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Mobility aids improve living with a chronic illness in many ways. Yet so many who experience debilitating pain and fatigue from them refuse to use them. I know this because for many years I was that person. I worried more about inconveniencing those I went anywhere with and what people who weren’t aware of my health status thought than I did about my own health and wellness!
Here is a breakdown of what is lost when we don’t use a mobility aid and what we gain when we do!
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What happens when we choose to do everything the way we used to
When fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and endometriosis first began interfering with normal activities, my first response was that there was NO WAY I was going to let them control my life. On one hand, that mindset was good as it prevented me from giving up. But on the other hand, if I had known how much it was going to cost, I would have done things differently.
The cost of not using a mobility aid:
- Less time spent out of the house
- Increased levels of pain
- Less time to spend with family
- More money and time spent on trying to relieve pain
- Increased risk of injuries
- Having to give up certain activities
What happens when we modify how we do things
The second choice we have is to modify our activities. My first response when I began experiencing trouble with standing and walking was to cut down how much I did. While it sounded reasonable, it was actually harmful. It hurt not just me, but my family because it limited how much I could do with them. Another way it was hurtful was because my abilities fluctuated so greatly, there was no way to predict how much I could handle on a daily basis. That uncertainty grew into an unhealthy fear of going anywhere I wasn’t familiar with.
By utilizing mobility aids I get to do more than my body would otherwise allow. When using a mobility aid I stress less about long lines or the duration of my outing. Instead, my focus is on the people I am with and the purpose of our adventure.
How mobility aids improve living with a chronic illness:
- They extend how long we can be out
- Rollators allow us to walk/stand farther
- Wheelchairs make it possible to spend a day out when we lack the strength or energy to stand or walk
- May prevent pain spikes
- Decreases the chance of injury
I want to be clear, I am not saying that you should invest in a mobility aid(s) the moment you are diagnosed. But if you notice a pattern of losing time and of increased pain due to normal physical activities such as walking and standing, your life will improve if you accept the assistance a mobility aid can provide.
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