10. Wet asphalt. With the slightest shifting of my weight, one crutch is bound to go flying out from under me. All I can do is take very short steps and hope for the best.
9. Hardwood and tile floors after crutching across wet asphalt. At first, retained moisture makes the rubber tips act like suction cups. Seconds later, that same moisture makes the tips slick as butter. The fix? Grind the crutch tips into a handy rug or carpet prior to crossing non-carpeted surfaces.
8. Armpit wear and tear. Not even the best padding completely eliminates friction burns and chafing. There’s no fix for this.
7. Standing. Balancing on crutches puts a lot of stress on one of two places: your armpits (see number 8) or your good leg. After less time than you’d think, your armpits and good leg are absolutely exhausted, and all you can think about is sitting down.
6. Sitting down. You spend so much time sitting down, you start to feel like an extension of the furniture. Backaches and neck aches become the order of the day, and all you can do is think about standing up.
5. Standing up. To stand up, you balance yourself with your good leg and do most of the pulling up with your arms. This throws all your weight on the crutches, which have a tendency to wobble. I’ve discovered rocking back and forth a couple of times before launching myself upward helps.
4. Standing up and sitting down in the shower. I’m grateful for the shower stool, which makes me reasonably comfortable while bathing. Getting in it is an act of faith: you angle yourself toward the stool, drop your weight on it, and hope it doesn’t go flying. Getting out of it is yet another challenge. If the bottom of your good foot is wet at all, it will shoot out from under you. If you’ve dripped water on the floor, your crutches will shoot out from under you.
3. Helplessness and worthlessness. It’s time to carry in groceries! Count me out. It’s time to go pack up the last remaining stuff at the old house! Count me out. It’s time to carry a book from my bedroom to the living room! Count me out. It’s time to make the bed! Count me out. When opportunities to work arise, my inability to carry anything generally keeps me on the sidelines. (I have gotten used to stuffing cans of Coke in my jeans pockets, though.)
2. Going up stairs. There’s nothing quite like teetering backward toward the abyss of the stairwell. Leaning forward’s your only hope; lean forward too much, though, and you’ll fall flat on your face.
1. Going down stairs. To go downstairs, you have to “fall forward” to some degree. Every step taken holds the potential for further disaster.