Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Stroky’s Journey: The younger generation

A cheerful, courteous Kaitlin helps me shop.
I am not immune to spasms of dismay at the decline in courtesy, modesty, cheerful service and the availability of styles and colors that don’t make me look like an extra in one of those zombie TV shows.

But I have to say that representatives of the younger generation have given me a happy attitude adjustment since my stroke. Several months ago Lauren at Shoe Station took my phone call and spent many minutes searching for narrow athletic shoes in my size. The shoes also had to meet my therapist’s specifications for adequately supporting my stroke-impaired left ankle and eliminating the ankle pain that I was experiencing.

Thanks to Lauren, we enjoyed success in a single stop. Recently we started preparing for an October trip, and I realized that I had to end my procrastination about shopping for an additional pair of athletic shoes.

I called Shoe Station once again. This time it was Samantha who took my call with a courteous, upbeat, can-do attitude. They had shoes that might work.

When Hubby and I arrived at the store the next day, Samantha was busy at the register; but Kaitlin, another young lady we approached, was actually the one who had located the shoes during my call earlier.

Kaitlin had me outfitted with an acceptable pair of athletic shoes in no time. She also filled my request for a shoe that would give my patient husband and me a step up from athletic shoes for those occasions that would have had me wearing heels in pre-stroke days.

Hubby checks Bioness transmitter’s fit.

Kaitlin did all the shopping work. Hubby did all the work to check if the shoes were appropriate for use with my Bioness L300 Foot Drop System. I just sat, tried on shoes and walked around to test them with my Bioness turned on.

If the new shoes pass muster with my physical therapist the next time I see her, I will be set with shoes for awhile, including my first non-athletic-shoe footwear since my stroke. And Shoe Station will be my starting point for shoe shopping in the future.

Males among the younger generations have also treated me with courtesy during my stroke recovery. Hubby and I were negotiating a long stretch of well-traveled sidewalk along a busy street near our neighborhood recently. A group of young guys approached.

Hubby prepared to help me move off the sidewalk and let them pass en mass. We had experienced youthful hordes in other locales and situations. Often they were oblivious to the idea of sharing a sidewalk. They would stay in a tight pack rather than moving out of group formation into single file. This group, however, with no break in their animated conversations, quickly and graciously opened a generous pathway through their ranks to lfor us.

One young man was a few feet behind them. He was sporting tattoos, a wife-beater undershirt and baggy pants. As he carried his skateboard and lighted cigarette past us, he sang out, “It’s a wonderful day, isn’t it.” I concurred with a smile and marveled silently that he had acknowledged our existence with a greeting at all, especially in such a jovial and courteous manner.

Not long after that a young male with a more preppy appearance came from behind us and walked rapidly around us.

“You are doing great,” he called out to me, obviously recognizing that my unnatural gait and curled up hand indicated some type of disability. “It’s a great time for walking, isn’t it.”

None of these young people exhibited any impatience with my slowness and awkwardness. They are among a group of special youngsters and young adults (meaning younger than me) who have gifted me with courtesy and kindness during my stroke recovery.

They are from a variety of ethnicities, cultures and lifestyles. Their thoughtful words and actions have acknowledged my existence. I was not invisible to them. Their simple acts affirmed the value of an elder’s life, even a life with obvious physical limitations right now.

They give me hope for myself, for their generation and for our world.


  1. As usual, you continue to inspire me with your uplifting attitude :) I hope your new shoes get the seal of approval from your therapist!

    It's always nice to encounter friendly, helpful people of any age, these days! There seem to be a lot fewer now than there used to be.

    I have a confession to make--I wasn't sure what make or model the car in Rainman was. I read it on the internet when I was searching for the image :)

    My personal "situation" has improved somewhat during the past week. God has been at work, and the lines of communication have finally been reopened. We're still a work in progress.

    Thank you so much for your prayers and words of support. You are one of those truly "special" blog friends that I spoke of in my random thoughts message today :)

  2. Goodness always begets goodness. You obviously send out positive vibes and receive them in turn. Congrats on the new shoes!

  3. Uplifiting is the operative word here. I wear uplifting shoes and my feet are much better. Now if I could find something that would improve my memory.

    As for courteous youngsters...yes. This newest generation seems to be more kindly towards older folks and those with difficulties too. I think the emplasis in schools on integrating children with issues such as Turrett's symptoms, into the classroom has sensitized them.

  4. just as your life after stroke has amazed and uplifted me, encouraged me, this post does to. thanks for sharing this about the young people, it gives me hope

  5. Beautiful inspiration Linda. Your words made me feel so good and full of hope.
    It also is a HUGE reminder that we (ME)not treat others as invisible too.
    A simple, random act of kindness can make all of our days so much better.
    Thank you sweet blogging friend.