Why I Hesitate to use my Mobility Devices - #disability #mobility #wheelchair #chronicillness
chronic illness,  Hemiplegic Migraine,  My Journey,  Stigma,  Travel

Why I Hesitate to Use My Mobility Devices

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Over the past couple of years, my ability to walk long distances had decreased drastically. Very little activity will leave me exhausted and sweating profusely. I made a decision to get two different types of mobility devices so I can get out of the house for longer periods of time. There is just one problem, I am hesitant to use them.

I guess I have to admit here that pride is one of the reasons that I am not eager to use my wheelchair and my Rollator. It is obvious that I worry way too much about what people are going to think. I do need them because when I don’t use them, I can barely get down one aisle in a store and I have to leave. But I feel like that is the part that people don’t see.

That is the problem with an invisible illness and it is a hard battle to fight. If someone does get the idea that you don’t “need” to use it then the looks are horrible. I know because I have seen people glare at me when I have used the in store wheelchairs.

Admitting to Myself that I need Mobility Devices is Hard

The other reason that I am hesitant to use the mobility devices is because it is hard to admit to myself that I need them. I desperately want to be able to go to the grocery store like everyone else  but the truth is that I just can not do that. If I push myself to the complete point of exhaustion, it will take me up to a week to recover.

So, I might be prideful and I most definitely am stubborn but the difference is made when I use them and I am able to get through an entire store! It does me so much good to be able to do the things that I need to do. I makes me feel great to know my husband doesn’t have to make 2 trips to the store because I wasn’t able to make it long enough the first time.

Change of Attitude

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about going to my step-grandson’s football game called, When a Win Feels Like a Defeat. This is a time when I should have used my wheelchair and didn’t. It took an entire week to recover from the physical exhaustion it caused. This was the experience that made me rethink my attitude toward my mobility devices.

Why I Hesitate to use my Mobility Devices - #disability #mobility #wheelchair #chronicillnessI realized that in order to live a fuller life that I have to use them. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it doesn’t matter what others think and it doesn’t matter what looks I get. I don’t want to spend 5 minutes somewhere and have to leave. It is important to me that I am able to go and enjoy myself…I want to live my life no matter what it takes. That means occasionally using my wheelchair and on better days using my rollator.

It was at this time a decision was made that I would indeed be using the wheelchair on our trip to Washington DC. It is not the decision that I wanted to make and it is not the way that I really wanted to do it. BUT it is the only way to ensure that I will be able to physically do all of the things that we want to do while we are there.

Do you have a love-hate relationship with your mobility devices? If so, how do you handle it?


  • Annie grimes

    Well done for going out in your wheelchair it’s a massive step to go out your door ,I know it is for me anyway . I was put in a wheelchair at 20 thanks to chronic pain and if anyone was to look at me they would be giving me the “what the hell is worng with you” look witch if you have had a rough few days can really get to you. I think you are amazing keep fighting and just think “up yours” to the people who are to small minded and clueless to under stand

  • Daniel S Hardy

    I’ve had genetic sciatica since I was a kid, but not been so limited unless I was trying to go for speed. Since turning 25, my walking has gotten more and more painful, then even doing distances are harder, to the point where every year the amount I can do has been cut in half. 3 years ago I got my first cane in a moment of desperation on Vacation, and I could have cried because instead of calling an Uber to take me home, I was able to stay out and continue sightseeing for a little longer and the pain actually got better. It’s STILL hard for me to accept the fact that I might need to use a cane for outings longer than a short trip, even knowing that my pain will be less and my function will be more. The internalized ableism(“I’m not That Disabled”), the internalized ageism (“I’m not old enough to need a cane”), even navigating around people who will intentionally walk into you if you don’t move (as if I personally on a cane am a lot more flexible in my motions than some two-legged walking person).
    I still end up taking it but more than not it’s folded in my bag until the pain gets “bad enough”

  • Katie Davis

    my mum suffers from a chronic illness that really effects her. Even after 17 years she still has trouble admitting that she needs help and things to help her. It must be so hard
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  • Mackenzie Glanville

    I can only begin to imagine what that must be like for you, in a way I see it similar to mental illness and my ability to cope with things and people do not see the illness (as you say invisible) and they just don’t understand. When I had to admit I was so unwell and actually take medication it just about broke me into pieces, it felt like a defeat, but the truth is I need them to function and be a great mum. I imagine it is similar to how you feel, you know the wheelchair is a huge help to you but admitting that is hard and then facing judgement for it is even harder. Bless you, you are strong and amazing and I am so glad you can open up here on your blog about your experience and help others through sharing your journey. Thank you for linking this up with #ABloggingGoodTime

  • Jo

    I hope that you now feel that you made the best decision for your holiday Jen. It can be so frustrating accepting that we are not as fit and active anymore, but if they helped you make the most of your trip then that surely was worth it. Love. Jo x #ablogginggoodtime

  • Paula

    I’m 48 and am struggling with my stubbornness at using the mobility devices also. I am, at times, my own worst enemy. I’m coming on my one year anniversary of my diagnosis’s and still laboring at the whole pacing concept. Thank you for your honesty and allowing me to see that I’m not alone in this !!!

  • Francesca Jacklin

    It must be hard but if it helps you to get around and explore then it can only be a good thing. We wouldn’t think twice about anyone using a bike instead of walking and at the end of the day that’s only a kind of mobility aid, although one that’s used . #KCACOLS

  • Lydia C. Lee

    Interesting post – it must be hard to accept it (in your head). We don’t like to admit we are getting older or frailer or weaker. But sometimes it’s in our best interest to just go with it.
    Hope it gets easier for you. Good luck #KCACOLS

  • Joeanne

    I was the same way “worried about the stares”. I had a difficult time getting my head around that but now…..I have embraced the independence that my wheelchair gives me. No more struggling the next day because I’m exhausted. I go out even if it’s just a stroll around the block to enjoy the sunshine. My quality of life has improved and that’s important.

  • Suz

    I have braces rather then wheelchairs. I feel stared at and judged for wearing and not wearing them . I have EDS and some days are better then others. My last vacation we went to Disney world. Omg it was a dream come true. The only reason I made it through though was the wheelchairs and scooters we rented . Being 39 it was hard to scooter to a ride and walk on albeit with braces showing . The staff- AMAZING. Other people going to enjoy the various rides and exhibits not so much. So be brave . Take the help when you need it as getting to the gate where we rented was killer somedays. and last but never least THANK YOU to the husbands , sons, friends, and any helping hands who push us all around . Your heroes to us . ❤

    • Jen Cannon

      So far, everyone has been great! I have not been made to feel bad except for 1 time.

      Next week, I will be doing travel blogs and including handicap accessibility in each place we have been. There have been some winners and losers in this department.

      I am excited to share my trip with everyone!

  • Kate

    I’m glad to read that your outlook on mobility devices has changed and that you are now enjoying your holiday to the fullest thanks to them (and your pushing husband). I can’t wait to hear how it went!

  • Elizabeth Mosley-Banks

    Posts like this one are so important. Thank you for being vulnerable, and talking about this. Other people find strength in posts like this… Also, you deserve to enjoy life. Use whatever resources you need to use. Live a full life. You are awesome, and you deserve it.

  • Pamela Jessen

    I have to use my cane all the time, there’s simply no choice. If I need to go a longer distance, then my rollator is the next step…where I have difficulty with acceptance is using my wheelchair. I feel like I could use my rollator for everything, but my husband knows that I will be exhausted far sooner than I should be, and he’s the one who insists that the wheelchair makes sense.

    He always tells me that since he’s the one who’s pushing it, he should decide if it’s going to be used or not, and he votes yes. LOL. I usually give in because I know what he’s saying is right…I will be exhausted faster if I don’t use it. I just feel weird sometimes, like I’m faking it, because I have Invisible Illnesses, but he doesn’t care. He just wants me to enjoy our outings with as much comfort as possible so that’s what I try to remember. It’s more convenient sometimes and definitely easier on my body.

  • Duncan

    You have made a big decision but it is one that is best for you. You will grow to love your mobility devices because they allow you to be yourself more than you could know at this time. They allow you to do the things you so desperately want to do. Keep your chin up and move forward with pride and dignity. You’ve got this, Jen!

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