Guide Dog travel and white cane travel are such completely different animals and I’m finding the move from one to the other extremely frustrating at times. I’m not sure that most people notice the struggle as I’m still where I need to be at the time I need to be there but the stress at times can be tremendous.
Take this morning for example. My walk to work is simple. Down a long quiet road, across a main road, down another quiet road, across another main road, a further stretch of quiet road till I get to the office and have to negotiate the car park. It’s the sort of walk you can do on auto pilot with a guide dog, but not so me with the cane.
I thought I was doing OK, but this morning was dreadful. By the time I’d got to the bottom of the first road, I had a pain in my knee because I’d stumbled off the edge of the kerb when avoiding wheely bins. OK, my fault for not covering my left side sufficiently but it’s a technique I’m still perfecting.
At the first main road I was so pleased to be offered help across the road that I let my guard down and crossed when told to, only to nearly be hit by a car on the far side of the road. Again my fault probably.
More wheely bins and mounting stress to the point where I stopped and had that overwhelming thought that I really couldn’t make it the rest of the way. Of course I had to, I had to be at work. So, a few tears followed by a hearty spray of Rescue Remedy and I made it!
So, to your average outsider, I’ll continue as I always have done, and hopefully people will believe that not having a guide dog is no real problem for me.
The reality is very different though.