My first step to using an assistive device for walking was on my second date with my now husband. I really wanted to go snow shoeing and planned a date for us at Thacher Park. I had never gone snow shoeing before, but my friends had just bought shoes and had a great time testing them out in a recent snowfall. There was no way that I was going make it through the hike without poles so I gathered all my confidence and went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and picked up some poles.
Picking out hiking poles is nothing special, I realize that, but I was so embarrassed to get them. I cannot explain exactly WHY I was so self-conscious about getting poles. I just kept thinking about what others were thinking of me. I have no idea why I cared, but I did. It was such a relief to pick them out and purchase them without any annoying small talk you can get into at a register
The day of the hike I was so relieved I had them. I wanted to be able to be totally independent out on the trail and not have to rely on Patrick for help. For the most part I was, but a lot of the snow had melted so my snowshoe spikes got hooked on roots and I fell a LOT! Patrick was so sweet and always helped me up, or managed to catch me before my knees hit the ground.
Falls and all it was a great day! I got to do something I had never done before with someone new I was having fun getting to know. Getting my poles was the best decision I made and was worth all my silly feelings of embarrassment. Patrick thought nothing less of me for using hiking poles on a super basic trail and was actually impressed that I didn’t let my disability get me down or keep me from doing something I wanted to do- I was too!