Fan Corner
Stories and pictures submitted by site visitors just like you!
The Dreaded Quad Cane
by Elisa DeCarlo
July 5th, 2009

Copyright 2009 Elisa DeCarlo
     When I saw how the four-legged quad cane was described on this otherwise wonderful site, I simply had to respond. My neighborhood has many elderly residents. Over the years I’ve seen the oldsters hobbling by with their walkers, wheelchairs, and all variety of canes. Most of the canes are metal, and some are quad canes. In the past, I would stride by in my high heels, nose in the air.
     Now, if I tried to put my nose in the air, I’d land flat on my face, because my brain doesn’t know where my legs are any more.
     A few years ago, I suffered an illness that exacerbated a condition I’d never known I’d had: ataxia. I’d always been the clumsy kid who fell off the balance beam, but this was something else entirely. People with ataxia have problems with balance and coordination, particularly balance. My brain has little idea what my lower body is doing or where it is.
     For some reason my condition is particularly bad in hot weather, so much so that I have spent the past few summers shut in my apartment when the temperature goes over 85 degrees.
     Neurologists love to request: “Walk quickly down the hallway, turn and then walk quickly back.” The sadistic bastards know I will reel down the corridor, turn, crash into the wall, and barely make it back to them in one piece. My life has become a perpetual bad silent comedy.
     So it has come to pass that I’m the youngest kid in my neighborhood with…a quad cane. It’s quite a striking cane for its type, different shades of blue to go with my wardrobe. Walking with it took some getting used to: if I leaned too hard, my right hand ached. Since I’m right-handed, using it in my left hand tended to be disastrous; I kicked it when I walked. Or it wobbled and over I went.
     Plus there are the reactions of friends and neighbors to contend with.
     “What happened to your leg?”
     After a few thousand times of trying to explain, I learned to mutter, “Old war injury” while staggering away as fast as I could.
     “House M.D.” turned my attitude around. When I see a quad cane on “House,” I squeal with delight. It’s like seeing a friend playing a small part on my favorite show. “That’s my cane!” I say proudly to whoever is with me. I understand that it is known on this site as “the dreaded quad cane,” but House’s brain has a connection with his legs that I do not possess. I’ve learned some mad skills from the show, such as keeping elevator doors from closing. (I’m working on twirling, but a metal quad cane is heavily weighted at one end so it still takes me two hands.) And I love House’s sarcastic approach to being a cripple. After all, a quad cane always gets you a seat on the bus.
     So I hold my cane smugly as I hobble around my neighborhood. For I am a proud member of The Quad Squad.

Elisa's cool blue Quad Cane:
The coolest Quad on the block!

The Truth About Canes Revealed!
by Wackjob
July 13th, 2009

As great a show as “House M.D.” is, like all television, it only shows you half the real story of living with a cane. Sure, he gets it kicked out from under him and sawed in half, but House doesn’t have to suffer most of the real-life humiliations we cane users face. For instance:

1) Hitting people in front of you accidentally on the backs of their feet;
2) Getting the handle sweaty (especially if it has a padded handle--YUCCH);
3) IF House had kept Hector, Wilsons’s dog, and had to pick up Hector’s poop...imagine this scenario: House has no idea of what it's like to pick up dog poop in a bag, switch the cane to the wrong hand (which, coincidentally is the hand with which he is holding the dog's leash), and God forbid when this happens House happens to be carrying a takeout cup of coffee! He better hope he gets to a garbage can to deposit the bag before Hector pulls on the leash, causing the coffee to pour all over House’s cool t-shirt.
4) Retrieving your mail from a key-lock mailbox in your apartment building with one hand and then having to carry it all inside (again: don't do this while walking a dog or holding a cup of coffee!).
And an afterthought:
Since House works in a hospital, does he have to keep rubbing the handle with that smelly hand sanitizer they have in dispensers every three inches?

 (By the way, they don’t just make bull penises into canes. They also sell dried bull penises in pet shops as chewies for dogs, only they call them "bully sticks."  The first time I bought one, it was raining outside.  When informed of what it was, I said to the clerk, "If this rehydrates on my way home, you are in BIG trouble.”)
So now you know. Some of this better turn up on Season Six, or there will be some angry letters written to The Powers That Be!

Maybe House should have gotten the Bull Penis cane after all, if Hector was going to chew on it anyway...

A Fourth Story
by Finney
July 14th, 2009

I was not orginally a House fan until a friend of mine had taped "Three Stories" and gave to me with the prompt "You have to tell me if this is total BS or not." It pains me greatly to admit the tape sat unwatched for two weeks, until, after further prompting from said friend, I finally popped it in the VCR and watched it.

In late 2000, I had suffered my own version of House's injury, though in the opposite leg and a different muscle., via a different mechanism of injury. It's true, one really does pee tea colored as muscle waste enters the kidneys. Fortunately enough for me, I was diagnosed within a day or so, but even at that point, I had suffered nerve damage and tissue necrosis. I left the hospital on crutches and never fully regained the use of my left leg.

It is true that someone who uses a cane unwittingly carries with them a multitude of stereotypes and preconceived notions. Strangers in stores either ignore me awkwardly, stare, or fall all over themselves wanting to help without even asking if I need any help. Some assume I'm damaged mentally as well as physically, so I relate absolutely to the value House puts on his mind. One does tend to compensate for that which is lost, whether they are aware of it or not.

I became a loyal House fan for many reasons, but mostly because I believe the series has made people with disabilities, especially cane users, more accessible and has demystified us to some extent.

A very nice Fritz-handled cane belonging to Finney: "Painted hickory, brass handle, custom made for my own hand. House would be proud."

YOUR SUBMISSION HERE Many thanks to Elisa, Wackjob, and Finney for their submissions. They are an entertaining and educational glimpse into the life of a cane user.

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House isn't interested in your stupid whiny story.
Really. Honestly.
Well, maybe just a little.