What Three Months On Crutches Taught Me

Crutches against orange wall
They rock! Image by net_efekt via Flickr

This has been my first week, literally, on my own two feet since August 8. It is an odd feeling to readjust to ambulation.

I’ve been relying on a pair of amazing short crutches that I bought for $200 on-line that are light, strong, comfortable and made those three months as easy as they could possibly have been.

You can buy them here.

I’ve been fighting arthritis in my left hip, but some dead bone in there is more the issue. Now we’re hoping it won’t suddenly chip off, which will force me into the OR right away for the inevitable hip replacement.

What did I learn?

People are wayyyyy too nosy. I am now so glad that total strangers can’t grill me about what happened and when did I have surgery and why not and tell me all about theirs. Boundaries, people?

People are often incredibly kind. Many times, strangers in grocery stores (as I crutched with one hand, stuck the other crutch in the cart and pushed it, ugh) offered to help me or even do my shopping for me. Many opened doors and held them, men and women. Some even rushed to do it.

Most people have never heard of short crutches. They rock! Light, easy, portable. They don’t hurt your arms or shoulders or hands or armpits. They don’t hurt at all. Yes, you do develop insanely strong triceps and very thick calluses on the heels of your hands.

They see short crutches and assume they are permanent. I received many pitying looks from people who mistakenly may have assumed I must have had polio or suffer from MS.

Life goes on, crutches or no. While on them, I flew out to Las Vegas and spoke to a major conference. I scooched fast, sideways, in movie theaters, up stairs, down super-steep parking garage entrance ramps, up wet, grassy hills.  I even used them to get in and out of the swimming pool. It is damn challenging to move across wet, slippery tile!

Life also moves a lot more slowly. This is not a bad thing, but it becomes necessary. Everything takes longer than normal.

Rainy or snowy days are a drag. With both hands used for crutches, you’ve got no hand left for holding an umbrella. They are also frightening as you pray not to slip or slide into concrete or in the road.

You will develop triceps of steel. Seriously!

It’s only crutches. On my most fed-up days, I was still glad it was nothing more serious. Many people are facing much worse.

My surgeon didn’t believe I’d do it. So he told me. Of course I did!

I can’t say I will miss them, but I am deeply grateful I was able to enjoy three pain-free months of such well-assisted mobility.

7 thoughts on “What Three Months On Crutches Taught Me

  1. I’m so surprised that no one has heard of short-crutches! They’re standard over here (UK) The reason being that the ones that go under your arm can cause nerve damage if you don’t use them correctly. One hospital in the north of England gave me the longer ones and my surgeon (in London) was shocked – saying I didn’t think they used those anymore.

    I’ve had one hip done (fabulous!) and am on the list for a knee with another hip to come – ho hum

    I so agree about helpful people – I learned a lot about the kindness of strangers!

    1. Pamela, glad to hear you’re doing well.

      I asked someone here — I live just outside NYC — why no one ever uses short crutches (which are indeed standard in Europe) — insurance! Of course. Here, health care is a huge profit-making complex and whatever some company negotiates with another is what we will receive and our health insurance will pay for…If you’ve never seen or heard of it (or cannot afford to buy it), you will go for the norm.

      I knew about short crutches having used them when I lived in Canada and went on the Internet to find a pair. But I have never seen anyone else using them and many (miserable) people using the long ones.

  2. Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery!

    Man, I wish I’d heard about short crutches back when I had surgery on my foot, it probably would have made life a lot easier. Thankfully, I was out of work so I didn’t have to move often unless it was absolutely necessary, but full-size crutches were a pain, literally!

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