Top Ten Things I Hate About…

…being on crutches. Yes, I’m on crutches. Have been for a few weeks now. Why? I wrenched my knee. Badly enough that I went to the doctor and got a cortisone shot. Had them shoot up both knees, as long as I was there. Just for fun. Several days later I was feeling much better and then, predictably, completely overdid it and made things worse. So, yeah, back to the crutches for a while.

But it’s not all pain and inconvenience and surly behaviour. Really. Okay, damnit, yes it is. I know, I shouldn’t complain. This is temporary and there are so many people with truly debilitating injuries or disabilities for whom it is a lifelong ordeal. And I’m sure they don’t complain about it. Much. Obviously, they’re better and stronger people than I. Because I’m here to kvetch about the crutch.

Here are the top ten — wait, turns out there are twelve — things I hate about being injured and having to use crutches:

1. Being patient. Everything, and I do mean everything, takes at least twice as long to accomplish. If not longer. I find creative use of vulgar profanity eases the burden and helps pass the time.

2. Oversharing. I understand those who feel compelled to tell me about their knee problems. Or other people’s knee problems. I’d do the same thing. But there are people, complete strangers, who see an apparent infirmity as an invitation to share their entire medical history. Or tell me about Aunt Edith’s hip replacement. And Cousin Seymour’s colostomy. And poor Grandpa George’s second wife Edna, bless her heart, who had five miscarriages and a hysterectomy. Maybe I’m an easy mark because they know I can’t smile and nod and keep walking. Swiftly. Away.

3. Palms and armpits. They’re sore. Enough said.

4. Advil. This is one of those love/hate things. I love that it’s available and that it helps. But I’m taking an awful lot of it and I hate the groggy foggy way it makes me feel. Plus, you know, random napping can be so inconvenient.

5. Driving. It’s my right knee and putting pressure on the gas and brake pedals is way up there on the pain-o-meter. No, I can not drive with my left foot. Not even if I’m only going to the end of my driveway. Not that I do that. Also, getting into the car. Getting out of the car. Dragging the crutches in and out. Difficult.

6. Sitting. And standing. Both hurt. The static position of each, but also going from sitting to standing is incredibly painful. It’s best not to think about it too much. Just grit your teeth and do it.

7. Cooking. The smaller the space, the more the crutches get in the way. And if you prop one up against the counter, even for just a couple seconds, it will fall over and hit you. In the most painful place possible. Usually while you’re holding something very hot.

8. The cat. Instead of being afraid of the crutches, like any sensible cat would be, she has decided they are to be randomly challenged and attacked. One of us is going to get hurt.

9. Doors. Doors are tricky. You have to make sure the crutches are out of the way before you pull the door open. It’s a deceptively not-so-simple kind of thing. Then you shove an arm in the trajectory so it doesn’t close again before you can hobble the rest of yourself into the opening. My elbows and the backs of my arms are battered and bruised.

10. Carrying stuff. Especially stuff that could spill, like food or drink. Thank god for containers with lids. And a roomy book bag with a long shoulder strap. I tell you, getting the laundry to the laundry room is an Adventure in Logistics. Mostly I’ve decided that things are just fine where they are and don’t need to be moved after all.

11. Stairs. Stairs are a one-crutch operation. Unless you want to end up in a bloody tangled heap. I try to avoid that. The thing is, you’re going to need both crutches once you get to the top. Or bottom. Going down is easy, just slide one crutch down ahead of you. Going up is . . . well, you get creative. See #10 re carrying stuff. Also, #1 re patience. And #8. Sigh.

12. Asking for help. I know, it’s pure stupid stubborn pride, but I hate to ask for help. If it’s something for a friend or one of my kids, hey, no problem. I’ll ask anyone for anything, without shame or hesitation. But for myself? Nope. I can be precariously balanced, each hand white-knuckled around not just a crutch but also a purse and bag lunch and bottle of water, struggling to pull open the big heavy glass door of my workplace, and someone will pass by and ask, “You need help with that?” And I’ll smile and say, “No thanks, I’ve got it.” Sometimes they’ll ask again, “You sure?” I’ll smile even more brightly and say, “Yep. I’m good.” Now, if they don’t ask but just come over and open the damn door for me, I’ll be full of gratitude and thank them. Profusely. Because that’s just a huge welcome relief. But if they ask and I have to say, “Yes, I need help” . . . nope, not gonna happen. I know, I’m contrary.

So there you have it. All the pitiful whining and complaining I’ve managed to hold back and keep off the blog for the past three (or so) weeks.

Anyone else have any kvetching they want to do? Any top ten, or twelve, complaints you’ve been wanting to air? Any advice about how to gracefully ask for help? Never mind, keep that last one to yourself. I’m in enough pain without having to bruise my ego too.

9 Comments

Filed under health and well-being, miscellaneous bits

9 responses to “Top Ten Things I Hate About…

  1. Crutches? Geez, woman, the things you do to get attention.

    I know, I don’t get people who ask if you need help when you’re clearly in need. It’s like people who cheerfully boom at me “What’s that? You have laryngitis? Tell me about it.”

    What would help most is a chauffeur to drive you around and open doors and things. Perhaps you feel that that’s not in the budget. Nonsense! What you do is find an old hat, take the crutches, and go sit on a park bench with the hat on the sidewalk in front of you. People will drop money in the hat.

    Or else they’ll say cheerfully “Oh, you dropped your hat!” and pick it up for you, but what the hell. Worth a try.

    p.s. Feel better. That’s an order.

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  2. Pam

    Ouchies. Been there, done that. Not fun. Take care of yourself.

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  3. Merry, what can I say? I do it for the ridicule sympathy I get from my friends. But yeah, there have been a few times I might have enjoyed using a crutch as a club to smack someone upside the head for being totally clueless. Except I would have lost my balance and toppled over and then had to wait for someone to come along to help me up. Frankly, I don’t have entire days to waste on that kind of nonsense. Nor do I have a hat. Hmmm, maybe once I collect enough pennies…

    Thanks, Pam. I’m not sure whether to feel gratified that you can empathize or sorry that you’ve been there too. Sincerely hope you never have to go there again.

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  4. McB

    Geez, what’s with the whining? All your answers are just throught that door, watch the cat. You’ll need to move that stuff out of the way … just carry it over to the … watch the cat … table. It’s just on the other side. Maybe if you only use one crutch … watch the cat. Can you reach it if you lean over? While you’re hopping around like an idiot, let me tell you about my sciatica.

    Can I get that for you?

    Didn’t I warn you about the cat?

    Some people, they just can’t take advice; you know what I mean?

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  5. LOL! As I said, it’s all about the sympathy.

    The cat’s latest “trick” is to try to predict where I’m going and walk just in front of me — but hanging back and staying close enough to take an occasional swat at me/the crutches. Maybe I should give her a few Advil.

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  6. Sympathy? SYMpathy???
    Sympathy, at my workplace, consists of the following:

    I was a full minute late to a meeting, and I blamed my cane (which was true… that and trying to balance using a cane and carrying my notepad, pen, paperwork, etc.). The project manager looked at the cane, looked at me, and solemnly observed “That’s a lame excuse.”

    Wanna trade jobs? Anyone… anyone?

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  7. And people wonder why there are tragic stories about acts of rage in the workplace. Sorry, trading jobs with me wouldn’t help with that.

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  8. I was on crutches myself this summer. Pulled them down from the attic. And they are still in my attic. And I agree with your dislike of Advil. I dislike that I still need it and will probably use it for several more months. (I severely sprained and broke my left ankle this summer chasing the kids in the yard. Whoever said you were safe at home does not have an ungraceful wife. Only saving grace was that it was my non driving foot.)

    At conference, one of the ladies fell early in the week. She was in a wheel chair and at one of the group dinners…I pushed to help her get back to the main hotel. She didn’t want the help. But I could tell she was tired. So in my blue boot, I helped push her across the long walkway connecting two hotels. Figured we could commiserate over having two left feet.

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  9. Hi Beth! Been way too long since I saw you. Geez, sorry to hear about the ankle. That’s got to be more painful than a wrenched knee. Hope it heals quickly and without any lingering reminders when the weather changes.

    So good of you to help that woman. I don’t care whether she said she didn’t “want” help, I bet she appreciated it.

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