Tread Lightly

Tread Lightly


This post has soul.
This post has soul.

When you have multiple sclerosis, walking can be a daunting challenge…pick up your bad foot…keep your balance…make sure your feet don’t scissor…step on a crack–break your mother’s back.

You get the picture.

It is compete concentration for man’s basic mode of transportation.


But as an MSer, you must now add to the equation–the surface upon which you tread.  Because many of the decorative floors people on HGTV “ooh & ahh” over…wreak fear in the eyes of you & me.



For example, this past weekend, my family & I enjoyed a restaurant we had never visited before.

Arrgh, walk the plank.
Arrgh, walk the plank.


Before even entering the place, I had to trek over cobblestones…to wood planking…to thick carpeting.

My short walk was the “Trifecta of Trepidation!”

From the uneven footing of the cobblestones, to the uneven & adhesive properties of the planking, to the feeling of walking in a mucky mud of the thick carpet—by the time I got inside, we had to switch from the lunch menu to the dinner menu!



Here are some other surfaces that play footsie with my walking ability…



Sloped like my forehead
Sloped like my forehead


Downward Slopes  Nothing like a slight downhill surface to someone (MSer) who shuffles in a slight downhill posture!

Throw a rollator into the mix and we go like a Soap Box Derby racer!

I would rather step off the curb than tenderly step down the accessible slope.




So clean it shines!Shiny Hospital Floors  Schools, museums, lobbies, grocery stores.  Any polished, hard floor that catches my feet and causes them to squeak like LeBron James on a basketball court.

Your floor may be clean enough to eat off of, but I don’t care to do a face plant and give it a try!



What the hell is this?
What the hell is this?


I don’t even know how to explain this surface!

It’s a sidewalk with concrete nipples.  Am I walking on Lego’s here?

Neil Armstrong was less scared to step on the moon than I am to cross this walkway!




The green, green grass of home.
The green, green grass of home.


Grass  It’s tough to walk through grass when you have foot drop.  I always seem to catch half a bushel blades of grass where the sole of my shoes meets the toe.

The good thing about walking on grass is that when you fall, it is a soft landing. 

The bad thing about falling in grass is that my neighbor has five dogs!




Broken cement/asphalt, plush carpeting, gravel and sand…gimme the surface and I’ll cringe with every footfall.

Have I forgotten a surface that leaves you on shaky ground?  Put your best foot forward and let me know of your not-so-favorite place to hoof-it.  (How’s that for a lousy paragraph of lame cliche’s!)


Wherever you walk, just remember to be cognitive of what you are about to step into—-ESPECIALLY if you are at my neighbor’s house!


5 Replies to “Tread Lightly”

  1. How about a shiny wet floor, like a public bathroom, and all you have to hold onto is a standard cane with a suicide rubber foot. You try not to think about words to that Simon and Garfunkel song, “You know the nearer your destination the more you slip sliding away”

  2. James,

    The “suicide rubber foot” provides scary memories.
    Thank you for sharing your very funny insight!

    Odd Sock

  3. I can no longer walk, and have to rely on a power chair to get around, but can still relate. I have a fear of going thru water,and wet or shiney floors, for fear of spinning out. I see people out on the roads in their power chairs, and thought my power chair would replace my car. I had a friend follow me on a bike to a nearby strip mall that had a grocery store and other useful shops. After this near death experience, never tried it again. When going to a store, or a restaurant for the first time, my designated driver will check out the terrain, before I get out of the van. I have noticed that most sidewalks have the concrete nipples where the parking lot or street, beomes a ramp for wheelchair users. I guess the person who designed this, came up with this idea while playing lego’s with his kids. 🙂

  4. When the Seattle Public Library was built, everyone was oohing and aahing over the unique design. My friends thought I was quite the wet blanket when I pointed out some of the less accessible feature of the building such as the floor being sloped in the dewey spiral and…

    the raised lettering on the floor in certain areas!