When I was in the CBC building last Friday, I passed by the courier drop-off room and saw a sign that read “Caring Crutches Helping Haiti.” Below the sign was a barrel of canes and crutches and a notice explaining that a Toronto physiotherapist had launched the campaign to collect and send them to Haiti. According to the notice, it’s estimated that 200,000 Haitians have lost one or more limbs as a result of the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince. (For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I knew I had an old cane rattling around in the garage, so I brought it into work today planning to take it over at lunchtime. What I didn’t plan on was how strange it would feel to carry a cane.
My late father-in-law suffered from knee pain in his later years, but resisted carrying a height-adjusted medical cane, preferring instead to use a walking stick that had belonged to his father-in-law. Once he got the hang of it, though, he had a blast using it to reach ahead and push the button for automatic doors, elevators and the like.
What I realized today was that people do look at you differently when you have a cane. I wasn’t even leaning on it and I had doors opened for me, curious looks and heads tilted in sympathy. I turned it upside down so it was clear I didn’t actually need it, but then it looked like I was getting ready to smack someone. And because it swung from side to side as I walked, I almost did!
I was never so relieved to deposit it in the barrel where it will be sent to those who really need it. And if I ever do need one someday, at least I can say I’ve taken one for a test drive.
P.S. Some amazing break dancing (with and without crutches!) from the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games from Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli and his crew. Enjoy!