The magic Cane.

Not long after I became monocular and partially sighted I was given a signal cane and instructions on its use (hold the cane within your body space diagonally across the front of your body so that you look like some kind of camp male majorette and then walk through the crowds as people give you odd looks and you don't know if they're moving out of the way because they vaguely understand that you can't see as well of them or they're giving you a wide berth because you're freaking them out)

Since then I've used the cane infrequently, mainly in crowds, in shops, when crossing the road and when getting on and off the bus - when I've remembered to take it with me and I feel it is needed.

I've noticed, though, that the cane has other, magical, properties which are not mentioned in any of the instructions.

For instance it's possible to stumble off a bus and barge into someone with crutches and have them apologise to YOU. It's also possible to queue-jump with other people's permission.

Observing crowd movement I'm also unsure as to whether the cane's affect on people is due to them noticing it and movement or actually some kind of 'moses parting the waters' miracle.

Has anyone else found that their cane has any of these magical properties?

Comments (9)

Lucky Lady's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Lucky Lady

Hi. I'm Kelly, 38 and was diagnosed with RP in 2002. I've had a symbol cane for many years and have to say I've never used it as I never really knew how. I can't see anyone else know what it means to be honest so I've never taken it with me, maybe I should start if it means people start to move out of the way a bit!

Ali's picture

Reply to Lucky Lady by Ali

Hi Kelly,

I am 24 and have RP. I too have and I have had a cane for 3 weeks now. I found it very hard to accept my cane. I have named my cane Michael and talk about the cane as if it is a person.

MakemKaz's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by MakemKaz

Hi I'm partially sighted and use a symbol cane when I'm outside. It can act as a " magic key ". It often sparks up conversations with strangers and I jump at the chance of explaining what its used for. The more we educate people the better they understand our difficulties getting about. Its a bit like learner drivers displaying L plates , we just need a bit more time and space to manoeuvre. Happily using a cane is a positive experience but to the lady in Covent Garden I don't need taking to the disabled toilet and having my hand held while I "pee " !

Cressers's picture

Reply to MakemKaz by Cressers

Yes, I'm a symbol cane user in crowded situations, and find it works... some of the time. Do I hold it in the approved RNIB manner? No!

An interesting fact worth knowing is that in medieval Italy during the time of the Plague, those who had been recently infected but had recovered were obliged to carry a white cane. There are times when encountering some vacant sighted people I wish the connection between the white cane and the Black Death was more widely known!

Steve L's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Steve L

I am partially sighted with Hereditry optic atrophy , most people don't realize I am partially sighted as apparently I look normal , I wear glasses which -12 for shortsightedness but I can't see people unless they are right In front of me , I use a white Rnib walking stick only when I go anywhere busy as people tend to move out of my way so it does have some benefits although I don't like using it.

GB's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by GB

I used to use a white cane with 3 red bands being at that time blind and deaf. Now my question is due to complex health conditions I am in a wheelchair. I know certain main routes without a problem but have wheelchairs got to have red bands on them. Also while on this question if this is right to inform the public with the bands for a person who his blind do wheelchairs have to be white. As this is a rule for one and rule for other if this is not the case.

r41nbow's picture

Reply to GB by r41nbow

Hello GB can you not get coloured wheel trims for the chair .? from r41nbow.

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to r41nbow by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Here's a question:

Is there any change you would make to the Symbol cane to make it clearer what it means?

I was thinking a little "Badge" on the top with some kind of symbol symbolising partial sightedness.

Alex Moderator's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Alex Moderator

Hi All,

As I can see you all are cane users, I was wondering if you may be able to reply back to a member, who has posted on another board about using a cane.

They are just looking to hear from someone who has used a cane before, to find out about their experiences of using one.

I have below added in the link to their post, just in case anyone would like to have a read and reply back to them.