The Short Chick with the Walking Stick. Yep, that would be me.
Apparently, one or the other characteristic wasn’t enough, so I’m in the enviable position of offering both. Or as we said in college, a two-fer. Of course, then it applied to beer.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis does leave its mark, or marks.
“How short are you, Kris?” The civil response to the oft-asked question is 4’6.” I am often thinking a much less appropriate answer. Be nice, Kris.
My shortness resulted from the medication I took in the first five years of the disease. Back in 1971, there were limited prescription options for arthritis, especially for kids.
The regime involved liquid cortisone, gold injections and a little bottle of Bayer.
I am grateful for the liquid cortisone. And I rue the liquid cortisone.
On the plus side, it kept me walking. Barely, but it did. I cringe thinking of the indescribable pain back then. I rarely complained, yet I know today I’d be a blubbering baby about it. Is it possible for wimpy genes to kick in later in life?
Five years is past any recommended dosing timeframe because the drug inhibits bone growth. Yet it was the only option. I don’t fault my then-family doctor or rheumatologist. They had no other recourse.
Yet here I am, four decades later, and when I sit on a friend’s couch, I do a terrific Edith Ann impression. You remember who I’m talkin’ about.
With that, we’ll move on to easily identifiable characteristic #2: the walking stick, which came to me in my senior year of high school. Yes, indeed, it’s high on the wish list of every high school senior.
I experienced my first round of hip replacements the summer before senior year. Since then, in an effort to prevent complicated surgeries due to fractures induced by off-balance falling, my right hand has seldom been without a walking stick in its grip.
Between the shortness and the cane, my stride is neither long nor super woman quick. And a number of years ago, it was much less quick than it is now. So when I saw this 30 second video, I could relate.
Just like the little old lady in the vid, I’ve also been honked at as I’ve passed in front of cars. Being the ornery person I sometimes am, the honking simply serves to encourage me to further slow down. While creeping along as annoyingly as I can, I’ll flash at the driver what my dear friend Lynne has coined The Harty Glare.
The driver invariably looks peeved, insulted, shocked or sheepish. This is way too much fun. So I milk it a bit more. Bad Kris, bad.
One day I may try using my walking stick in the same manner as the little old lady used her bag. If you hear about such an incident on the news, it’s probably me.
Ah, yes, just another day in the life of the Short Chick with the Walking Stick.
Stickability Specialist Kris Harty helps healthcare teams persevere through Compassion Fatigue. Kris is Chief Inspiration Officer of Strong Spirit Unlimited. By sharing Stickabilities, or tools, she learned from her own medically challenging life requiring a Walking Stick, Kris encourages healthcare professionals to Stick to it – no matter what! Diagnosed at age seven with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, she draws on 40 years of insight, research and stories as a healthcare recipient. She is the patient who now returns to say “You make a difference. Thank you.” Her message is content-rich, practical, engaging and inspiring – and sporadically funny. Kris reduces burnout, turnover, and Compassion Fatigue by re-engaging healthcare professionals, particularly nurses. Kris Harty is an inspirational keynote speaker, author and small group facilitator who helps people overcome challenges by creating unstoppable momentum in life and work. Clients say her message is life changing. Call 877.711.STICK, e-mail StrongSpirit@StrongSpiritUnlimited.com , or visit www.StrongSpiritUnlimited.com