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Steps to a life with reduced mobility

Steps to a life with reduced mobility


The Diagnosis…The first 3 Steps to a life with reduced mobility.

Oh no!   Your world just suddenly stopped.  You (or a loved one) has just been diagnosed with a disease that you can hardly pronounce, let alone know how to embrace.   What now? You will read some awful internet articles about your disease or about people with your disease. You will grieve, you will be sad, and most of all you will be scared.   That’s what I did, and I think everyone I have ever talked to did this very thing. As I sit here writing this blog, I know I don’t know you or what you have…(I probably cannot pronounce it either) , but I do know that a life with reduced mobility does not have to be a bad life.   This blog is to help give some ideas that helped me to embrace my life even if it was different than I anticipated.

The First 3 steps to a life with reduced Mobility.

It is okay to grieve and it is okay to have a bad day every now and then.   I am no shrink (aka mental health professional), but in my experience, I think it is important to recognize the situation you are in, and be sad about the change.   Your mobility is a big deal, and losing it or a slow diminishing of your abilities is sad. Take time to accept it. The key is that there are other steps you must accomplish, so make sure you don’t just camp out here at step one.   You need to move to the other steps and frankly this is the worst step to enter and leave!!!

Tools are your friend.   Back in High school, a couple of my friends and I actually picked up the back of a car to move it….you know with our arms.  It was not ultra-intelligent, but neither was I!  Today, this is a rather funny idea that I could even remotely accomplish the same activity.   Today I would either grab my keys, a rolling car jack, or tow truck to move a car. Mobility is the same thing.   Tools are available to help us. We are not lazy if we use tools, we are actually smart! Smart people use the tools available.   Also, I may be somewhat eccentric, but I have embraced the tools as an extension of my personality. I have a fantastic collection of walking canes.  I don’t have one cane (how boring)…I have probably 20-30 canes…Different styles, purposes, and personalities. I go out of my way to have the tool work for me and reflect my individual flair.  My favorite cane has a hand carved fish in the handle. I call it my Fishing Pole.

More than one way to do something.   If I asked you to put a nail into a board, you would say…I need a hammer.    What if I said there was no hammer???? You would have to find another way right?   Maybe use your shoe, or a rock, or a wrench. It may not always be as good as a hammer, but if it gets the nail in the board, then job well done!   Well the same thing is true about your mobility. You are going to need to get creative about a lot of new things. I think of it like…don’t get mad get even.   I have done some pretty creative things overcoming my challenges, but when I have one of these brilliant moments I am pretty darn proud of myself. One of these moments recently occurred when I went to a friend’s house and sat in one of their beautiful low slung chairs.   Chairs I now refer to as chairs of death and doom. You know the chairs that suck you in but never spit you out. I was stuck, and I did not know how to gracefully exit under my own steam. I had a customer tell me a few tricks that helped them and I quickly put them into action

NOSE TO TOES – Moving your nose closer to your toes in a seated position shifts your center of gravity and weight away from your bottom, and towards your feet. This helps with stability, momentum, and helping with my weak hips.

 ARMRESTS on a chair aren’t for resting – While shifting my weight forward I was able to push up with my arms to give my legs an extra boost of help.  

Jim Kissling, the author of this blog post, is the President of AutoFarm Mobility and a person living with Kennedy’s Disease (a rare neuromuscular disease).   Jim is a 40 something husband, father, son, business person, car lover, and he loves to talk about his struggles and achievements in life…. living with challenges and overcoming them!  

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