Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Stairs become your worst enemy

When it comes to climbing stairs most people just do it without even really thinking about it. I am sure plenty of people outside of those with disabilities can climb stairs with little to no effort. Lately though when it comes to the progression of my Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy stairs seem to becoming a little bit of an problem for me. You see as my leg muscles grow weaker it has started to cause a few challenges resulting in me being a apprehensive about using stairs. These days even a small step even off of a curb can result in a fall. It’s the main reason why I always try to avoid having to use stairs. Recently it has even placed a few limitations on some of the things I enjoy to do. It has even started to effect my ability to climb the steps at the local movie theatre. And at times has also limited my ability to visit family and friends - especially if there is no railing for me to use as a support. In recent years I have had to become very creative in dealing with stairs in thee times when I have no other choice but to use them.

The one place where stairs seem to be impossible to avoid is at my local movie theatre. It’s the one reason why my wife and I always try and arrive at least a half hour early so I will have no trouble finding the perfect seat. This is also done so I can avoid the embarrassment I feel when struggling to climb the stairs in front of a crowded theatre. It’s in these moments when it seems to feels like everyone is watching me and I never like being the centre of attention. Another reason we arrive early is so I don’t have to squeeze past other people to get to our seats, as I am concerned that one wrong step will result in a fall. So once I am in my seat I can finally relax as we await the start of our movie. Then after nearly two hours of sitting comes the end of the movie and the challenge of getting up from my seat. Which due to Muscular Dystrophy I now struggle getting up from a seated position, this means I need a lot of room to stand back up. This is why I tend to wait until the entire movie theatre is empty before even trying to get up. This allows me to take my time and it really helps when it comes to going back down the steps we had to climb to get to our seats. It’s better than having to deal with the crowds of people who seem to be in a rush to leave the theatre once the movie is done. My main concern when going down the steps is one of my legs giving out causing me to fall. Thankfully that has never happened - maybe due to the fact that I learned early on it is always best for me to take things at my own pace and to be careful as possible when it comes to using stairs.

My Biggest Frustration 

My biggest frustration related to my issues with stairs is the fact that it is limiting me from being able to visit with family and friends. The main issue is that many new homes are built with four to five steps leading to the front entry. This is why I wish that I had my own home that was fully accessible so that friends and family could simply come and visit me. Now I know one day I may have to make a permanent change when that day comes and I am unable to climb stairs anymore. It’s at that point when I will have to take a serious look at using a mobility scooter. Let’s hope when that day comes my family and friends don’t forget about me. Whatever happens over the next few years my plan is to simply learn to adapt and just continue on living my life.

1 comment:

  1. Brad - I could have written this post myself!!! I totally remember going to the theater early and waiting for everyone to leave!

    And I experienced the same thing with going down steps too. Gravity was always helping me in that direction until my knees started giving out every now and then. Thank God I never chipped any teeth.

    Be safe! Buy a cheap cane if you need one. I found that once I started using one, I felt less embarrassed too because I felt like people would then just know I had a medical issue vs. just walking oddly. Anyhow, just wanted to pass that along. Take care, Dan