Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 2, 2012

1202 — Lee Ward: Cane is bad for posture, worse for attitude

Lee Ward
For The Independent

ASHLAND — When I broke my foot a couple of years ago, a friend who loaned me a cane noted how much older using a cane makes you feel.

I agreed with him. I was a little extra humped-over when I walked with a cane  and the old lady jokes rolled off my tongue with ease as a plunked the metal pole along the ground.

While using the cane, I wore “a boot,” which threw my hips off kilter and made them sore, and having sore hips certainly makes you feel old, but that really had little to do with the effect of the cane on my feeling old.

I recently sustained another injury that sent me hobbling to the cane and this time, I do feel old using it.

There is no interesting story related to my recent injury. I wasn’t rescuing an animal or a child in distress. I wasn’t saving myself from a burning building or fighting off burglars.

The floor was slick and I slipped on it, skinning and stoving up one knee and making both legs so sore I needed the support of a cane. This time, I’m using a metal, drugstore cane someone gave me.

There are three reasons why I feel older this time around on the cane.

‰No. 1: I am older this time.

‰No. 2: The cane my friend loaned me when I broke my foot was a beautifully carved wooden cane. This time, I’m using a very medicinal-looking metal cane.

The wooden cane looks like a good time, like somebody with a sense of humor. It might even suggest the user doesn’t really need a cane, but carries it as a conversation piece or to lend a little mystery to the user’s personality.

A metal cane says one thing: this old person doesn’t walk right without assistance.

‰No. 3: If you’re wearing a cast or a boot while you walk with a cane, everybody knows you have injured yourself. Maybe you hurt yourself skiing. Maybe you had a car accident. Maybe even you were attacked by a cheetah while on an African safari. A cane and a cast indicate the possibility of an interesting adventure.

A cane alone, again, says this old person doesn’t walk right without assitance.

I left the cane at home on my second day of suffering, deciding to make the best of it.

If I’m going to feel like an old lady, at least I want to get my senior discounts.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.