To bring a positive light to my newly acquired crutches and bum leg I have attempted to bring a little humor to a not so humorous circumstance. Learning to navigate this world in a wheelchair and crutches has caused far too many tears and meltdowns, but also some laughs as I reflect. Crutches are absolutely terrible, don’t get me wrong, but they have certainly given me a new perspective and an appreciation for a healthy body. They have allowed me to understand the shortcomings of accessibility, in a world that is designed for the able-bodied, it is easy to go your entire life without even realizing it. While frustration and helplessness live strongly on, I am doing my best to find ways to still laugh and smile. Here is my attempt to bring laughter to a not so funny situation, and an effort to remind myself that how lucky I am that this is a temporary situation. Below is my list of 20 things that I once took for granted. 20 of the most unexpected, annoying, frustrating, and yes, amusing things about life on crutches.
1. Jumping in bed at the end of the day is not the moment you look forward to the most. It becomes a timely and exhausting procedure.
2. Rushing to the bathroom is not an option. You better know exactly where a bathroom is at all times and never stray too far away.
3. Crowded parking lots have never been more frustrating. A warning to all: Do not park close to people with crutches, they need full door extension to get in and out and you are asking for a door ding.
4. A new appreciation for clothes with pockets. Forget about the ability to use your hands and legs at the same time.
5. Using a cart or basket at the grocery store. You get one bag that you wrap around your neck and you better not get anything too big or heavy. Avoid all glass, as you crutch through the aisles the glass swings and makes for a painful grocery trip.
6. Cooking. Once you have your feet planted, don’t expect to be able to quickly grab anything more than an arms length away. You are cemented right where you are.
7. Office chairs. The swivel feature and quality rolling wheels have never been so necessary. Meet the new office chair master chef.
8. Crutches get all the muscles in your arms and back that you never used and try to rip them apart.
9. Going unnoticed. Getting lots of attention for a wheelchair or crutches is exhausting. I have created notecards that explain what happened and now pass them out when I get stopped.
10. The excitement of turning on Netflix. Everything has either been watched or vetoed. Currently taking recommendations.
11. Walking and itching your nose at the same time.
12. Walking and swatting flies away at the same time.
13. The constant worry that your walking route includes benches to rest on.
14. Having two identical legs. Crutches make one leg look strong, and the other look like it has never seen physical exercise in its life.
15. Opening doors and walking through. Never have I hated heavy doors more and appreciated people who hold doors open.
16. Getting on and off an escalator. Absolutely the scariest obstacle to face on crutches. Avoid at all costs.
17. Dry floors. A tiny bit of water could be the end to your day.
18. Bathrooms that have paper towels more than an arms length away from the sink. Walking on crutches with wet hands is a recipe for disaster.
19. People who move your crutches. A kind PSA, please never move someones crutches and then leave them there to fend for themselves.
20. Walking up a flight of stairs without loosing your breath.
So many tears, meltdowns, and even some laughs have forced me to appreciate the little things in life. Each day, my body recovers bit by bit, and each day I learn new ways to navigate this able-bodied world. Catch me doing this in no time.