Rollin’ on the roadway

The mobility equipment piles up. I now have a cool cane (with four feet); an indoor walker (fairly recently equipped with a tray for carrying things around the house); and now a big fancy outdoor walker — a Rollator! — that can, in seconds, be turned into a comfortable seat to rest in on the street.

And now a tour of my assistive devices, as they’re called in the trade.

The quad cane. From my posting of 12/9/12, “Coming back to life”, after complete replacement of my right hip:

Yesterday I picked up a four-legged cane, or quad cane as the things seem to be called in the assistive literature, so I now lope around indoors with my interrogative friend:


The cane has been with me for over 8 years, and it will be with me for the rest of my life. It’s long been clear that (even with physical therapy, lots of it), I will never have the balance to cope safely with the challenges of sidewalks and streets; the cane is a minimal aid to getting around. As a bonus, the cane gives me something to lean on when I have to stop every half-block or so to catch my breath (as I do since the mystery dyspnea set in some years ago).

The first walker. Roughly the same vintage as the cane. Much better support for getting around the house, and for going short distances outside. It has two small wheels in front, two rubber-tipped feet in back (their progress smoothed by walker balls, either tennis balls mutilated for the purpose or balls specifically designed for it).

Eventually, I got a table than can be fitted over the walker’s handles, so that the device can carry meals from kitchen, mail from the mailboxes, etc. From my 12/9/20 posting “Welcome back gifts”, this photo of the walker in my kitchen:


This walker’s virtue is its great sturdiness and stability; among other things, it’s much better than the cane for leaning on out on the street. In exchange for that stability, the device has to be lifted a bit to get over obstacles (like uneven spots in sidewalks).  So progress outdoors is slow and tiring; these walkers are really meant for indoor use. This was not an issue when I was isolated indoors, but now that I’m venturing out, I really needed something tougher and more flexible.

The second walker. The cover of the instruction booklet, in three languages:


Guardian is the company name; Rollator is the name of this particular product; and bariatric means ‘having to do with obesity’ (as in bariatric surgery) — the device, in its guise as a seat or chair, can support up to 500 lbs. (I am in fact obese, though nowhere near that obese.) The  actual device:


The Rollator has four big wheels, for riding over obstacles. The front wheels swivel, to make turning easy. Brakes can be set on the wheels almost instantly, and then you can take advantage of the padded seat and backrest to use the device as a comfortable chair. Underneath the padded seat is a pouch for carrying stuff. And, like the indoor walker, it can be folded up for storing or transporting it.

It’s too big to use comfortably indoors, but it’s a delight out on the street.

The title. A play on a line (“Rollin’ on the river”) from a song (“Proud Mary”) made famous by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Some discussion in my 3/11/19 posting “Roland B. McRiver”.

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