Tong-Kat-ing It And The Price Of Words

Funnily enough, it all started with a walk outside around the compound of the rehab space I had been spending my mondays and thursdays in. Both my OT and PT (which is "Occuppational Therapist" and "Physio Therapist" to you folks) had been speaking to me at the end of my rehab day on Thursday, which had seen me standing (always leg apart, though constantly trying to stay arallel and less than a feet apart toes pointing straight front) at the reception counter.

We were going on about the non-usage of the wheelchair (for which they highly encourage me not to use) and the usage of a single-cane (known as a "tongkat" here, a literal Malay word/description) in my life, where I was more insistent on utilizing a 4-Legged-Walker instead, remembering and recollecting a PT in my earlier days of Stroke, who had not wanted me to use a tongkat, simply because she feared I night end up with a habitual weird one-sided limp. And I had understood and agreed with her all these months too.

Then I was "dared" to have a go around the compound outside of the space, with a tongkat (well, truth be told, it was "heightened persuasion") and besides, both my OT and PT will be beside me, so the fear of falling wasn't messing too much in my head! And off I went …. and it was a decent round too.

Reassuring comments came thick, afters ~ "walking with a proper gait", "walking straight" and smooth be this usually wobbly shuffler, and I ended up in the neighborhood second hand shop, picking out a second hand cane for SGD$5! (Usual fancy adjustable metal cane cost SGD$16.90 per - even the lady at the shop told me to go check out the 2nd hand place first LOL).


And with that, I have a cane to depend on walking free outside, rather than a wheelchair (which I abhor anyways, and as well the rental-lease is up lol). And that is a weight lifted where I had not imagined it to be, before.

The plan "before", was to go from my wheelchair, to my 4-Legged-Walker, to free walking. I have had the stigma of a cane from the get go, I admit. But all it took was a "chance" walk around, and no doubt verbal assurance, to shake my self-belief system, and dared think and imagined beyond it.

A lot of times folks do not seem to cater to, is the need for psychological support of a Stroke victim in the early stages. A whole lot of folks insist on a strong family structure (which I firmly and whole-heartedly believe in), but perhaps many a times, folks might not take stock in the subsequent support a victim needs (non-hospital or rehab folks, if course), and the constant requirement of it ~ and I do not mean a in-your-face preach too, or even "tough-lurve" for that matter (it might work for you, but never me ~ and neither is it ever appreciated). It is the support (both factual and illusionary haha) that folks need, for them to know they will not walk alone, in the road to recovery, and even beyond. The decision, of course, is left to the individual. But what you do not see, might be the tangible but precious help to carry that person for miles longer more, before he or she can walk by himself/herself, IMHO.

In a world where the physical fact is the inability to walk, "words" somehow play a stronger act than anything action ever possible. You can choose what to say whenever you want to say it (and no one can tell you otherwise) but know that words mean something to some folks, and you cannot control the effects of what you had meant to say, versus saying it "right".

Cheers :)

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