This week I walked in public without my cane.
I do walk short distances at home and at work (sometimes even without my brace), when I need to carry something large or can't find my pine cane amidst all the pine flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. But on Monday evening, after filling up my tank (under $3.00/gallon, woo-hoo!), I found myself outside my car at the gas station -- wondering whether I'd be able to carry both my cane and the half- gallon jug of milk I'd been asked to pick up-- and ultimately concluded I'd leave my cane in the back seat and go it alone. Getting in the store was one curb step up and a fairly light pull door away, which weren't a big deal. Once inside, I did become somewhat hyper aware that, outwardly, I was some guy walking funny for no particular reason (Cane and Brace of Explanation, respectively being in my car and under my pant leg). I was in fact coming from a work Happy Hour and did have one Pineapple Potion under my belt, though I actually think I was in better shape than the guy in front of me who was buying a Twisted Tea six pack (not his first of the day, me thinks). I sincerely doubt he or the cashier even gave me a second thought -- I was more aware of my silly walk than they were.
Once I had my milk paid for (thanks to my handy, wallet-toting murse -- man purse, not male nurse) , it was just a matter of opening the door with my milk-loaded hand, heading back outside, and stepping down from the curb to get to my car. That was really the test, since I basically never step up or down without holding my cane, a railing, a wall, or someone else. Over all, aside from being a little self conscious, I felt steady and safe. I'm not ditching the cane any time soon, but it's nice to know I can when the situation calls for it.
And here's a shot of my new murse. Technically, it's a military map case shoulder bag, but I'm not ashamed to call it a murse. Bottom line, it's an essential piece of Assistive Technology that allows me to carry my wallet, phone, keys, and a number of other things without monopolizing my hand. And this satchel's a little larger than my old one, making my messenger bag nearly but not quite obsolete (I need its cup holder for my coffee travel mug). My lunch bag is still a separate sash, too. Maybe one day I'll find one bag to rule them all but not yet: