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Janet_M : Mobility Devices: Wheelchair, Conventional Crutches, and Hands-Free Crutch
Diary entry posted Thu 11:36pm 22 December 2011

I've been experimenting with different mobility devices, and there is no one perfect solution.

My home has 4 steps between it and the world. I've figured out how to crutch down stairs, but not how to crutch up stairs, so I throw my dignity to the wind and crawl up steps on my hands and knees.
I was lucky to have broken my left leg, and my truck is an automatic, so I can drive.

For short errand trips where I know I won't be on my feet much, I use conventional crutches. They're tiring and make my shoulders hurt but they're convenient.

I spend most of my time at home in a wheelchair. That's been the easiest way to get around fast and have my hands free. I've taken the wheelchair out twice, once to a fundraiser where I knew everyone would be standing around for a few hours and there would be no chairs and the other time to compete in an adult spelling bee at a nearby bar (where I was one of the finalists!). The disadvantage is the chair is so heavy I can't get it up and down steps by myself so I need someone willing to help.

And then there's the hands-free crutch. I asked my OS's staff about hands-free crutches and they said "NoNoNo, YOU could never do that, those are for athletes only!". This was like waving a red cape in front of a bull; I knew then that I had to try it.
It's definitely a learning process. By my second day of intermittent practice I could stump around the kitchen with both hands free, amusing my husband with my Captain Ahab imitations. After 3 days I was able to go to an all-day cooking party at a friend's house with it, and had a good time. I can wear it for half an hour to 45 minutes at a stretch before I have to take it off and rest a bit. It's still kind of a hassle to put on and take off. I know that will get easier with practice.
I want to work up to longer on it, not just because I like being able to walk around with my hands free, but because I believe it is a good way to maintain core strength and balance through this period of relative immobility.



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 Thu 11:36pm 22 December 2011
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