I am currently reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. The book has been scary and enjoyable all at the same time. Look for a review in a future post. The main character in the book, the Tattooist or “Tatowierer” as he is referred to by the SS in the novel carries a bag with him at all times containing his tattooing tools. Bags or totes also come into play in several other ways throughout the course of this book. They all have to do with survival in some way.
As such, I made a connection to an accessory I just finished sewing for my mom. It is a walker bag. This cloth wrap made with pockets on each side attaches to the front bar of a walker. My mom was reluctant to start using a walker until late this fall when she could not ambulate without one. She spent time in a nursing home and they insisted she uses the walker after teaching her how to use it properly. If one good thing came out of her extended stay in long-term care, it is the use of her walker.
But, like most women, we are used to carrying items with us at all times. These items can be few or can be many, but tend to include things like a wallet, kleenex, and reading glasses. Nowadays, they most likely also contain a cellular phone.
When I visited my parents last summer, we went out to eat. At the time, my mom was using a cane (in the wrong hand, but we couldn’t get her to switch) and was also carrying a large purse. I noticed how the purse slopped around at her side when she walked. I was sure it was creating an additional hazard on top of very tentative and unsteady ambulation. I believe I even asked her why she was carrying it at all. Any answer to me would have been inadequate, and I’m sure that’s why I cannot remember what she told me. All I saw was a bag that impinged on her safety.
Enter the health crisis, hospitalization, and long-term care stay. During these events, my mother was without her purse, obviously. She got well enough to go home, albeit with a walker now.
To encourage further use of her walker, I made a “walker bag” that attaches to the front bar of the assistive device. It has pockets to hold “things” she deems necessary to have with her in the house as she moves from place to place. There is plenty of room. It could also be used in place of a purse when she is out.
The making of the walker bag was a recent “act of love” for my mom. I hope she can ditch the purse if she hasn’t already. The carrying of a satchel, purse, bag, tote, or backpack seems to be a lifelong habitual accessory. But, when it gets in the way of safety, it’s time to give it up.
I have yet to find out if the Tattooists’ bag gets him in trouble or not. I’ll have to wait until the end of that story to find out. But, perhaps with the addition of the walker bag, my mom can start to go without a purse dangling from her arm.