In need of some TLC

My Nimbo Frame Martha
My Nimbo Frame Martha

Well, I think that my Nimbo walking frame Martha could be in need of a little TLC if our little trip out last week is anything to go by. We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately and now her seat doesn’t seem to be sliding up and down nearly as well as it was doing. In fact, at one point I popped the seat down while I was waiting to meet a friend, and when my pal arrived I found that I couldn’t tug it back into an upright position again. This hadn’t happened to me before so I was a little bit worried because when the seat is down it takes up most of the space in the centre of the frame. This makes walking slightly more uncomfortable and harder than usual. Thankfully, my mate must have had her Weetabix that morning because she did it for me. I’m not sure what I’d have done if I’d been on my own though. At least it should be fairly easy to sort out.

I like to think that I take pretty good care of my equipment that I get from the hospital. Yes, it’s always well-used by the time I give it back but there’s not very much I can do about that. I use it every day so it would be virtually impossible for there to be no signs of general wear and tear. I store it well and get it serviced when I need to. On the whole I’d say that I probably get my wheelchair looked at once a year, and I get a physiotherapist to look at my frame to see if there are an obvious problems that need addressing each time I start a new cycle of appointments.

Lately I’ve noticed that whenever I try to walk uphill, my frame sometimes makes a noise that I can only describe as a cross between a wheeze and a squeak. I’m hoping this is down to the wet weather.  I guess I just need to wait for a fine day so that I can go outside with the oil/WD40 can and hope that that should make Martha happier.

Please, call her Martha

Martha and I
Martha and I

Well, I think it’s about time I introduced you all to me trusty counterpart Martha – AKA my very new, and indeed very blue, Nimbo walking frame. I know what you’re all thinking –pfft, she’s named it, why on Earth would she do that, nutter – well, I’ll tell you.

I’ve always had a frame for as long as I can remember but I haven’t always given them names. That tradition started with my last glamorous aluminium-assistant Betsy who sadly had to go to walker Heaven about three weeks ago after about a year-and-a-half by my side (I’ll tell you more of her life story another time, though).  Her name came about almost by accident. I was given her by the hospital the day before Christmas Eve and I was really excited because the last one was getting so wobbly that I couldn’t wait to get her. In my excitement I decided to announce to the physiotherapist that gave her to me that she deserved a name and that name would be Betsy.  Enough about Betsy for now though, let’s let Martha have her moment of glory first.

After a while, and many confused friends later, I decided that this should be a tradition that I would keep up.  After all, when you are a child you name the teddy bear that you carry about with you all the time and lose on at least sixteen occasions while you’re growing up, so why shouldn’t I do it? And, even though I’m not embarrassed by the fact I need a frame in any way, I think it sounds nicer to ask my parents if they’ve put Martha in the car rather that saying ‘did you remember to bring ‘the frame’”.

Giving her a name is great too because it helps get me out of trouble “Martha didn’t mean to hit your ankles Mum. She’s got PMT today and is very sorry, she won’t do it again”. My mum can’t help but laugh every time I pull that excuse.

It’s a great ice-breaker at parties too. When I say “I’m Nic and this is Martha” they usually look at me like I’ve had one too many, then ponder on it for a minute and offer up what their own choice of name would be in my situation. I think sometimes, it helps people who’ve never met me before relax a bit and realise that they can ask whatever they want about the CP, and that I’m probably not going to mind, as long as they’re polite about it.

As I said, Martha is very new to me but she’s also very special because she is the first walker I’ve ever had with a seat attached which makes all the difference. Now, I don’t have to worry about there being somewhere for me to sit so that I can take notes without falling over if I’m interviewing someone at an event, I can rest if my sister is taking too long to decide if she wants to buy that dress she’s been mulling over for an hour, and I never have to worry if there’ll be a free chair that I can use in the pub. It is these little things that make the biggest difference.

Welcome to my world, Martha. We’re gonna have a blast!