The introduction of the walking stick was the first major step change. Whilst it obviously added a somewhat dapper air to my character, it very soon became a pain in the arse! My manly gait was reduced to a waddle in about two months as the muscles around my hips and legs weakened, definitely more Penguin than my former Batman at this point!
But vanity aside, the principal impact was on my general usefulness. I only had one side for carrying and the amount I could carry significantly reduced. Fortunately Oscar was still only very little, about four months old, so I could still carry him.
This is not to say that the majority of my life continued unhindered for the most part, because it did. That is until the crutches arrived! Who invented them and how the hell do you carry a bag when using them without ending up on one’s backside? Find out next time…
Neil had been using a walking stick well before formal diagnosis but it had not been a popular suggestion to begin with. Neil argued that if his symptoms turned out to be something muscular then using a stick could do more damage by making him use the wrong muscles. I believed him briefly but found it very difficult to watch him carry Oscar and had to bring up the subject again when the falls started. They were both terrifying and heartbreaking at the same time. Terrifying because I would hear a loud crash and race to get to him, not knowing what I would find. Heartbreaking because more often than not he was physically intact but his eyes would flash a mixture of embarrassment, anger and frustration. It was so out of character to see Neil this way.
On a lighter note, it makes me smile to read Neil comparing himself to Penguin and Batman here, as Oscar is currently spending a lot of time wearing his dressing gown as a cape, and flapping it as he jumps of the sofa. – Louise (2013)