If you are new to the RA journey or your disease is still in the invisible stage this still applies to you so listen up! There are some common sense inventions out there in the world that can save your limited and valuable energy. I am into the very visibly disabled part of my journey so I don’t really feel self conscious anymore but I used to. If you are relatively young and are able to walk with a fairly normal gait this still applies to you. Are you listening?
First, talk to your Doctor about getting a Disabled Parking Permit. Don’t let the picture of the person in a wheelchair on it dissuade you. You are also deserving if you find you can get yourself into a store reasonably well, even walk around in said store for a time until your energy levels drop and/or pain levels increase. Then getting though the check out and back to your car is a lot harder than it is for most folks. Remember also that you still need to have some energy to get home and in the door and on with the rest of your agenda. When I first got mine I was battling both RA and severe sciatic nerve pain that is related to the RA plus other factors. At first I was a bit insecure about using it after all (at the time) I could still walk. I soon got over it as I realized that it saved me some precious steps. It is nobody else’s darn business why you have one, you owe no one an explanation. Your Dr. has prescribed it for you.
Second, if you have any difficulty with walking or balance issues, get yourself a walking stick or cane. If you are worried about your image get a really styling one. Having that small extra support may help to prevent a fall. Falling or tripping and falling can bring about a whole new set of injury and issues you would rather avoid if possible, believe me. Plus if you are worried about what people think at least it is a visible cue that you have a reason to have the parking permit described above (lol?).
Third, and I wish I had done this one sooner also, make use of electric motor scooters provided in big box stores. I only in the past six months have started to use these convenient scooters marked ” for the convenience of our valued customers”. My husband suggested it perhaps because he knew how tired even a brief stint in a Wal-Mart store could make me. I, of course, resisted because of vanity. I did eventually try one though and have never looked back. I cruise around any big box store that has scooters with ease. I can spend more time looking around and although many items are too high to see (like the books in Costco) or to reach like my favorite toothpaste, I do find there are usually people who are fine with reaching something for me if I ask. The big plus is the fact that I get home and have energy still. This is energy that I can put to good use believe me! Try one…it is actually quite fun. (In a future post I will write about funny things that can happen whilst scooting around big box stores at high speeds!)