Tuesday 16 February 2016

Chronic crafting: Walking stick holder.

[Image: A black wheelchair sits on green grass. It has a red patterned seat cushion and a bright red walking stick holder on the side.]

I spend a lot of time swearing at my walking stick. When I blame it for my lack of coordination and it's tendency to throw itself on the floor should I dare to lean it against a wall or desk. But most frequently my potty mouth is reserved for when I am in my wheelchair, think I have it hooked on the foot rest, only to have it dive sideways, under the foot rest, or it's classic drop and get stuck in a tram track. The slightest bump or if I try to think and breathe, and it's gone.

Times I may have sworn at my walking stick include, but aren't limited to:

At a medical appointment where first meeting a doctor.
In the poorly insulated disabled loo where I'd just managed to make my unsteady way to the loo only to hear a loud THWACK as it hits the sticky tiles.
In the local clothes store when it became hooked on a long sleeved top and was wrenched from my side before my muscles can work out how to react.
In front of my inlaws and, small children.

Such swearing is apparently unseemly, and I fear I may be adding to the angry-disabled-with-a-huge-chip-on-her-shoulder-shouldn't-she-be-all-smiley-and-inspirational, narrative.

So in an endeavour to not let the disabled side down with my surly sweary attitude and because I am completely over it falling off my wheelchair I got my craft on to find a solution. Though in my own defence swearing a lot is apparently a sign of intelligence and trustworthiness, so here's my:

Michelle's Easy Stop My F**kin' Walking Stick Falling Off My Damn Wheelchair Tutorial 

You'll need:
  • 1 PVC pipe straight join
  • 1 PVC pipe cap
  • 2 metal hose clamps
  • Paint whatever you have lying around. I used Haymes Low Sheen Exterior in Carnation. But if you don't have any, a can of spray paint would make life easier. Just make sure it's a hardy exterior paint if you want it to last.
  • Paintbrush
  • Flat head screw driver

Step 1.

Head to your local Bunnings or other hardware store. Get lost in the million isles. Become overwhelmed with project ideas. Make a detour to the plant nursery and buy some more coriander that will proceed to go to seed and never grow properly despite your pleas and tears. Finally head to the right isle after Mr Grumpy starts to develop his FFS face.

Step 2. 

Have your walking stick with you so that you can make sure you are getting the right size parts. Look up at the amazing array of plumbing accessories. Start to feel slightly nauseous and grey because you forgot that looking up is not your friend, and hand it over to Mr Grumpy to grab pieces. Make way out of Bunnings with necessary craft items, doomed coriander, an impulse buy of five pots of instant garden colour and, yet another bucket.

Step 3. 

If you can, buy a can of exterior spray paint. This would make life so much easier. If like me you think, "Hmm I have some left over paint. That'll do." still get the spray paint. Otherwise you will end up swearing at the paint that wont go as smooth as you imagined as you went with the cheapo brush as it was "only a small project". Apply a few layers over the PVC pipe end and PVC pipe straight join leaving time to dry in between each layer. Don't get impatient and cock it up with finger prints or drop the piece that's all dry except for that one edge which just happens to be the edge that you knock against your good dress. Additional tip: Don't be lulled into a false sense of security because it's just a small quick job so you can't be bothered with the effort of changing into old clothes. Change. You/I will always drop something.

Step 4:
Attach each piece to the side of the foot rest on your preferred side. The PVC pipe end piece goes lowest to stop your walking stick falling through. The metal hose clamps come completely apart so you can wrap them around the pipe piece and wheelchair tubing easily. A second pair of hands or much swearing will help to hold the piece in place as you tighten the hose clamps to secure the PVC pipe parts in place.

A tail may extend from the rings. This is sure to catch on everything so remove if possible. My arms of patheticness are not up to the task so I am waiting on Mr Grumpy to fix.

Leave both hose rings a little loose. Place your walking stick in the holes to help line up both parts and to find an angle that works best for you. When you're happy with the angle and line, tighten up the hose rings to stop movement.

And there you have it. No more innocent ears being sullied by my swearing. At least not for this reason. Oh and obligatory Freyja photo as she's awesome, puts up with my swearing and loves the camera.


Walk/Roll this way depending on the day.


  1. That's a great idea! I've never had luck with walking stick holders, I even bought a "proper" one but my cane still falls out. Might just have to make one!

  2. Brilliant. You should patent that s**t.

  3. I love reading your blog! My daughter was recently diagnosed with dysautonomia this past December and it has thrown us for a loop!! I have started blogging just to get my own feelings out about it...keep writing! It's super helpful!!!!

  4. I thought I would tell you about an audiobook I've been listening to (several times actually, as someone else's misery seems to make your own more bearable!!!) called Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey.

    It describes how Anna lives with extreme light sensitivity. Although a completely different condition to my own, so many issues and fears seem to be the same whatever your chronic illness and it has made me nod, laugh and cry many times. Her writing style and personality make it a good listen or read if you have the paper book, and I thought it might be interesting to you or some of your blog followers. To live in mostly total darkness must be so difficult, I have great admiration for her.

    On another subject, a topic that I think would make a good discussion point is gifts for chronically ill people. Two friends bought me calendars at Christmas and I just can't bring myself to put them up as they are just a reminder of all of the days full of the same nothingness. Its so hard for people to understand why some gifts just make you feel worse!

    Hope you are ok, I see you haven't blogged for a while.

    Best wishes, Lynn xxx

  5. Just saying hello. Hope you are all right. Just checking in to see how you are doing and wish you well in your life that is bigger than bob.



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