Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tourettes Tuesday: Why I Carry a Cane

I have Tourettes and I carry a cane. I like to tell people that it's not because my legs can't physically work it's just that when my Tourettes is really bad they won't work. Think of it like in congress. I'm trying to move forward and my legs just like to fillibuster and all progress is stopped. And because part of that progress involves me standing upright and not falling over I sometimes need the third leg to keep from letting gravity take it's course.

A lot of it comes from the way that my specific tics affect me. Everyone's tics are like their DNA, there are some common things going on but everyone is different. When my Tourettes gets really bad my legs want to shake rapidly, kick, and twine around each other. All that is perfect when I'm laying down but when I'm up and walking that can spell disaster. And add onto that my abs contracting and relaxing against my will and then the balance goes out the window. After I'd fallen about three or four times I figured it was time to swallow my pride and enlist a little bit of wooden assistance.

My fiance happens to think it makes me look distinguished!

I already had this hand carved cane that I made myself a while before. And after some not so passive encouragement from my girlfriend (she swore to kill me if she saw me walking without it) I just sort of started walking with it everywhere. At first I thought I would get a lot of looks and sneers by people. I'm only 26 and I even thought people would look at my age and think that I was faking. But then I remembered something every person with TS knows: the same protection that the Americans with Disabilities Act gives you so that people can't hassle you because of your tics means that they can't hassle you because you carry a cane.

I've walked into high security buildings and onto busses right past security guards and management and they never said a thing to me because they know they can't. A cane is a medical device in the eyes of the law and that means they can't ask you anything about the nature of your disability or why you carry the cane. And if they take the cane away from you and you fall they know that there could be one heck of a lawsuit. You carry this thing because you need the support because you have a disability. There's no reason why anyone in public should be giving you guff about it.

I've only heard in passing about other people with TS needing to carry canes everyday and only one tale about someone that needed to be in a wheelchair. But alas they are only tales. If there are any people out there that also have to have some kind of cane to support them I'd love to hear your story. Please send me an email!

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