Well, I had my appointment today. Everyone was really lovely and gave me time to explain things properly. I was seen by a Physio, and OT and a Nurse. They were actually quite shocked at how bad I was and that nobody (ie my GP) had referred me for any help before then.
I talked loads (!) and had a brief physical exam (muscle strength etc) which was very interesting, as the Physio picked up that my left side was weaker than the right and had some odd coordination issues going on, whereas it’s the right side I’m having issues with!!
Anyway, they gave me a walking stick to try but this didn’t help as it became clear that I need bilateral support (my brain also struggled to coordinate both feet and the hand with the stick as well, so I ended up doing a great impression of a steriotypical ‘doddery old man with stick’ from an old silent movie!!!). The Physio then produced a rollator (the 3-wheeled type with 2 handles that you push in front of you). It did actually make a huge difference and I felt more stable than I had in a long time. However, being the proud, self-conscious (and very stupid) lady that I am, I said I wasn’t prepared to use one in public and so am going to try 2 sticks (the Physio doesn’t think this is going to work) and 2 elbow crutches next week. I know I’m being really silly and stubborn, but I just don’t feel quite ready yet to accept that things have deteriorated to much that I need to take such drastic measures as using something like the rollator. I know it’s silly, but I just can’t accept it at the moment. I was really hoping one stick would have been sufficient, but it clearly isn’t. I have to say, though, that the Physio was lovely and said she totally understood and that they would try other alternatives.
Everyone I saw was absolutely lovely and didn’t make me feel at all as if I was wasting their time. They all gave me time to think and explain things properly in my own words, and were very understanding and respectful of my mobility limitations around the department.
I am now booked in to go once a week so they can try and help with the balance, and I’m also booked in to see someone there who specialises in vestibular/balance problems and has lots of sophisticated equipment (?torture devices!!) that can sometimes pick up things that have previously been missed.
All in all it was an exhausting but positive experience, but has made me realise that I can’t go on pretending I’m normal any longer. I do need help and these lovely people are prepared to work with me to help me as much as they can. I think I am very lucky and need to make the most of the help available (apart from the rollator, of course!).