I like to think I can do anything I set my mind to. But there are times your body fails you, and it can be quite eye opening.
My first day on crutches, I got up early after being up most of the night in Emergency; crutched my way to the kitchen, and made myself a perfect cup of coffee. I picked up the mug, got on one crutch…. and was hit all at once by the extent of my uselessness: I could not take a step holding my coffee.
‘This is ridiculous!” I thought. “This is a simple task. I can take my full mug to the table!” Determined to solve the problem, I decided I would simply hop on my good foot. The first hop was okay, the second flung my coffee all over myself and the kitchen floor. I had to accept I was in a new set of circumstances. I sat on the kitchen floor and drank my new cup of coffee.
Now of course you find work-arounds. I discovered various ways of reaching one legged and putting my coffee mug on ever closer surfaces to get it eventually to the table. I figured out how to squeeze my crutches to me with my upper arm, kick them forward, and lean on them so I could move forward while holding things. Where there is a will, there is a way! But there are limits.
TOP TWENTY THINGS You Don’t Know If You Have Not Been Stuck On Crutches For A Long Period Of Time! (I tried to make it ten, but there was just too much to say! Let me know if I left anything out!)
- Everyone will ask you what you did, and no matter how good your story is, you will eventually come up with a better one, and a much much shorter one.
- Your crutches are an invitation for everyone to tell you their injury story.
- Everyone wants to try your crutches. They look fun.
- You can practice fun balancing ab crunches. This gets old.
- You have a use for all of your odd socks. You suddenly get the cut off jogging pants thing. You miss your skinny jeans.
- You must concentrate and be careful on your Escalator Dismount!
- Children are often scared, but are always fascinated by crutches and casts.
- You cannot carry anything in your hands. Especially unsealed liquids.
- You realize that walking is SO EASY. Someone beside you on crutches is working so much harder than you. Be kind to them.
- You hinge higher than your hips making your stride on crutches super long, so you can cover much more distance in a ‘step’ on crutches than on foot – but it tires you out faster.
- Other people walking and looking down at their cellphones are the enemy – they will kick out your crutches. You begin to avoid crowds.
- You must wear a backpack, not a side purse. The reason why become obvious quickly.
- Crutches are a serious cardio, ab and shoulder workout! It gets a bit easier over the weeks as you get stronger.
- Despite how it looks, when moving, you do not rest the weight of your body on your armpits – you hold yourself up from the handles – the shoulder pads are just to stabilize. Even though you don’t weight bear on your armpits, the back and forth action of crutches seriously chafes your underarms… I have bled.
- Showering. :(
- You begin to make life choices based on distance.
- There are so many more stairs everywhere than you’ve noticed before. Every restaurant has the bathroom upstairs or downstairs. RAILINGS are crucial to success.
- You become a one legged jumping master – and it hurts so bad in your healthy hip!
- Standing on one leg for prolonged periods of time is excruciating. Try it.
- Crutching down small hallways is very difficult, and anything on the ground – a closet door that is not quite closed, a piece of clothing, a back pack strap, wet floor, a napkin- will Take. You. Out!
BONUS CRUTCH TIPS:
* When falling from crutches: abandon the crutches and use your hands. Try to ignore the impulse to catch yourself with your bad side.
* Just because they finally put you in a walking cast, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to walk in it right away.
* Especially after the injury or surgery, you must keep the foot elevated! It can be excruciating when the foot is below the waist. You get used to crazy positions when you have to keep your foot up over your heart.
* Be loving to your healthy leg and foot!!
* Because there’s no walking friction on the bottom of your foot – the exposed toes and ball of the injured foot get really dry and scaly! Gotta buff and moisturize – if you can reach.
* Nice to have metro priority seating clout. But when no one offers seat – it can be pretty bad.
* You can take yourself out if your thumb or the handle bar wing-nut of your crutches catches in the opening of your pants pocket during forward motion! Hard to explain – but some of you must know what I’m talking about!
Got any Crutch Tips of your own? Tweet me @CaseyHudecki!