The long cane is a blind man's best friend. Forget about the canine variety of mobility aids, my weapon of choice for tackling the busy streets is my trusted five foot long piece of carbon fibre. Often being referred to as my white sabre by some of the locals, it has fast become an extension of my arm. Much like inspector gadget, I simply whip it out and away I go.
It took me an awful long time to even consider picking up a white cane even though I knew it would help me. There was always that stigma of finally admitting yeah, you are blind. I didn't want to be that guy. So I continued to not use a cane and continued to bump into things and trip over what was left in the streets. Be it the A-Boards or the tables and chairs outside Costa Coffee (other coffee shops are available). But as many times as I would walk into something and end up looking like a fool with arms and legs waving around trying to regain some sort of dignity from the situation, I still refused to pick up the dreaded cane of doom.
With pressure from colleagues and one all mighty fall over a tree stump (seriously, who put that there) I decided to go for it and start some training with a long cane.
If I had to use one word to describe the first time I threw that thing around the streets of Stroud, it would have to be terrifying. This was it, I am now looking at a whole life of blindness, I finally had to accept who I now was, and instead of being worried I have to now embrace it.
After a few training sessions I was allowed to keep my very first cane and use it all by myself. The stabilizers were off and there was no stopping me now. Apart from the over-hanging trees of course, I will cover them in another post.
For me the freedom that a long cane gives you over a symbol cane or no cane at all for that matter is overwhelming. I feel confident, I feel a sense of freedom and now I don't go anywhere without it. Gliding and guiding me from place to place with seamless effort, but the best thing of all is that you could be walking along the high street in a busy town and you are quite simply, as the heading would suggest, The Moses of the High Street. Just like the Red Sea did for him, the people part for me. It's actually quite amazing.
Since using my cane I have moved towns and started a whole new life away from the place I grew up in. This was something I never even considered a possibility, but truthfully, it was the best decision I ever made. Pushing myself to achieve things is what life has been about for some time now and that will not be changing any time soon.
The moral of this story is that what helps you doesn't always seem appealing to you at first. However in your own time, when you can accept the condition and learn to live with it, there are many, many products that are designed to help and make a big difference in your life. But it has to be when you are ready and not before. It must never be pushed upon you, you will know when the time is right. Coming to terms with a disability is very tough and something you wouldn't wish upon anyone. There are plenty of support networks out there but you must be ready to accept the help. This takes time but as the saying goes, time is a healer.
That's it for now,
Until next time.