I took a rolling walker for a spin today. Did you know the class of walkers with wheels and brakes has a specific name? I wielded one of these swiveling beasts for the first time while out with my husband at Woahink Lake. Our habit is to traverse the parking lot, which is roughly the size of a football field.

♫ Merrily we roll along ♪

On the return trip we encountered a lovely senior couple. They were a facsimile of the image I used to hold of my husband and myself, assuming we made it to our 70s. A little bent, a little slow, yet taking an outdoor excursion together, arm-in-arm. As they approached, the gent called out encouragement for my “recovery.” I intentionally provided a vague, upbeat response that included the phrase “keep moving.” The poor fellow couldn’t let it go, “knee or hip?” He assumed I’d had surgery, a common misperception. No way to avoid it now; I had to sling an unintentional punch.

♫ Roll along ♫

I told him I have MS. Actually I said “multiple sclerosis,” something I rarely do, as if the abbreviation somehow diminishes the significance. His smile dimmed; eye contact got sketchy. I’m afraid I dampened their outing on a blustery, yet brilliantly sunny day. Clouds may as well have rolled in and let loose with an isolated downpour. His next comment: “Oh, you both have a rough road ahead,” more to himself as he assimilated what he’d heard than to either of us. One could see he felt he’d put his foot in his mouth.

♫ Roll along ♫

My husband explained that it was the walker’s maiden voyage at the lake. I elaborated that a cane, combined with his arm had become too awkward. Now I could walk alone again. (My husband was actually kind of lost as to where to stand in proximity to my disengaged self.) We kept it light. If a passerby had heard the conversation’s tone and not the content we could have easily been chatting about the weather, the beauty of the lake, an osprey overhead.

♫ Merrily we roll along ♪

I avoid bringing up my health. Who wants to be reminded that our bodies are failing, albeit at different rates? He took it in stride. His words turned to consolation: “We’re never given a load we cannot carry.” You bet’cha, dear sir. Wise words.

♫ O’er the deep blue sea ♪

You may still be wondering about the name for a rolling walker. Will I share it? Nope, not happening. I hope you live your days never having to know.


Interestingly, I could find cartoons only from German artists. Either they have a higher than average senior population, or their culture finds levity in such situations more than others.

Car with walker on top gloating at car with bikes on top
Gloating
Two seniors, one with a pimped walker
Translation: Pimped!