Now in her eighties my mother, like many of her vintage, has started having problems with her balance. Not the one in her savings account, but the one that keeps her upright and on her feet. After a few tumbles it had become clear that the cane she was using was not sufficient so she was faced with two choices: a hockey helmet, or a walker.
Having started watching hockey many years ago she still thinks they played better without helmets, visors and all the equipment that is now worn in the NHL, so the helmet idea was nixed. Enter the walker.
Our family is a great one for naming things, animate or otherwise. Cars, cats, dogs, turtles, furnaces (although that did come with Daisy emblazoned on the front – so who could resist), even the odd child – and believe me ours is a family that has seen some odd children, all have a moniker hung on them.
The walker’s name is Johnnie, as in Johnnie Walker. It gives her the confidence she needs to get around her apartment even if it is in an older building that was designed long before walkers and is very narrow in places. Some slick maneuvering and using the cane in some spots seems to do the trick. By the way, the cane’ s name is Michael; Michael Cane – or I guess it should be Caine!
Although she can’t deny having a sensation of security from Johnnie Walker, she really dislikes the fact that she needs it (him?); it feels like giving in. It’s not uncommon to see her walk right by both cane and walker on her way to the kitchen. I’ve tried to point out some of the positives aside from security: once the winter tires come off it will be much lighter, she may well be able to go right to the head of waiting lines, and I may be eligible for a handicapped parking permit for my car (which I assure you I would never abuse).
I am certain my mother is not the first octogenarian to take comfort in Johnnie Walker, nor will she be the last, but in her case the walker isn’t a drink and in fact follows a series of falls, as opposed to spills caused by a few too many nips, purely medicinal of course, of Johnnie Walker, or perhaps Jack Daniels, or maybe Tia Maria, or even Glen Fiddich.