It’s not easy shifting your bodyweight on a pair of metal sticks. Everything takes about 20 times as long as it used to and even the simplest things such as carrying a hot drink in the morning from the local coffee shop to work becomes a mission. Yes, it’s a challenge which I’m currently faced with on a daily basis but this hasn’t stopped me from going out to work. If you’re ever injured and need a bit of a pep talk, here are 5 things that help you survive on crutches.
Have a plan
Going from being able to walk to the bus stop or run to work daily to finding it difficult to move yourself 200m can be emotionally deflating because you feel like you’ve lost your independence. You can’t just get up from your desk to make yourself a tea easily because you can’t carry that cup. It even takes time to open doors, and as for mastering the stairs, well you have to find a method that you’re confident with. The best way to deal with these everyday situations is to have a plan. Ask yourself questions such as how will I take a shower? Where will I get my lunch at work? What do I need to make it easier for myself? Then plan how you’re going to solve these everyday challenges.
If you want to know how I carry a hot drink from Costa in the morning, well it involves two lids. a paper bag and an extra cup.
Use your crutches
It’s a crying shame that you’ve ended up this way but don’t use it as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself. Face it, you’re on crutches so you better get used to it and start using them because it will make you more mobile and less likely to mop about the house. And no, they don’t get any easier on your hands, the pads will ache after even a short distance of moving. That trek to the bus stop will feel like a mission that gets your out of breath especially if you see the bus coming and you speed up to ensure you don’t miss it. After a week or so of using the sticks, it does get easier. Your arms in particular will feel stronger and you can wave bye bye to bingo wings.
Modify your lifestyle
You may not be able to exercise like before but that doesn’t mean you can’t modify your plan and try a chair exercise workout. This will help you both physically and mentally. Don’t let old habits die hard and set aside at least half an hour to working out your body to make recovery easier and you feel like you’re doing something. Going out with friends is also a logistical problem but with a few modifications and a group of supportive people it is not impossible. As for shopping, well thankfully we now have something called the internet which means you can buy everything from bananas to books at the click of a button.
Ask for help
This is a big sticky point for me because I am fiercely independent. Sometimes however, it’s simply easier to ask someone to open a door for you rather than struggling to maintain your dignity shoulder barging your way around a building. Filling up your water bottle can be a 10-minute task on crutches while it can take just 2-minutes for someone who is fully fit. Changing buses can also be a challenge so asking someone to hold the bus for you can cut minutes off your journey time. Forget pride and ask people for help as this will make your life 100 times easier.
Don’t be afraid to talk
I write this half-jokingly but if you want to make new friends, jump on a pair of crutches. In the past two weeks, I have had conversations with at least one if not two people every day about being on crutches. Some sympathise, some are intrigued and some want of offer advice. I may not be the most responsive after a long day at work (and dreading the epically long journey home on the buses) but I appreciate that people seem to take note of the daily difficulty I’m faced with. And thanks to a physio who stopped me the other day, the crutches may be replaced by something way cooler. As someone once said – it’s good to talk.