Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Tell if Your Crutches Want You Dead

If you've ever sustained an injury necessitating the use of crutches, you have my pity.  Not only is your injured appendage likely throbbing with pain at the very hint of a muscle twitch, but you also move in constant dread of losing your life at the hands of your new arch-nemesis: your crutches.

How to Tell if Your Crutches Want You Dead

TOP WARNING SIGNS:

1. You own crutches.  If you own and are currently using crutches, pay attention! As an unsuspecting victim who just wants to survive life, you no doubt labor under the delusion that your crutches exist to help you.  This is not true.  They exist to kill you. Not content in their knowledge that you're already doomed to endure several months of life as a tottering tripod, your crutches will do their uttermost to bring about your complete and utter annihilation. 

2. You suspect that your crutches have joined forces with gravity. It is a truth universally acknowledged by physicists that [Crutches + Gravity = DEATH]. Once your crutches team up with gravity, even the most simple household tasks become fraught with danger.  Leaning over to pick up a sock from the floor? Gravity will ensure that your crutches -- which you'd left leaning against the bookcase nearby -- will slip sideways and clonk you directly on the head just as you've started to stand up, guaranteeing that your head and the aluminum crutches meet at maximum force. Trying to go down a flight of steps on crutches? Oh, yes, gravity wants you and your crutches to make it down the steps -- only not all together and not at the same speed that you'd originally intended. Once you've reached the point of realizing that your decision to clip a coupon may cost you the use of your right eye, you have begun to exercise proper caution. 

3. You live in an area that experiences weather. As secure as you may feel in your ability to crutch all around the town, remember that rain brings slippery surfaces, wind is likely to blow you over, and aluminum is an extremely conductive metal. Most electrical wire is formed of it! Putting all of these factors together means each meteorological hiccup could spell your doom. 

In the event that you recognize any of the above warnings signs as applying to you and your crutches, it is important that you DO NOT PANIC. Instead, you must make a PLAN.

To that end, I have put together a list of some very helpful and practical advice.  

SAFETY TIPS:

  • Burn your crutches immediately.  You may think that because they're made of aluminum they might not burn well, but I've been assured that if you make your fire hot enough, they will burn.1
  • Conventional wisdom would recommend wheelchair use as a safe alternative, but do not be fooled: this mode of transportation is also fairly dangerous (a topic to be covered in more detail in a future blog post). My advice is that if you absolutely have to move from place to place, employ the stop! drop! and roll! method. Rolling around on the ground may hurt your dignity, but it probably won't kill you.  I can't say they same thing for your crutches.
  • Your safest alternative is to find a comfortable spot, surround yourself with a nest of your favorite possessions, and plan to stay put for the next six-to-eight weeks. 
Just think of all the times you've been looking for an excuse to ignore the dishes and curl up on the couch to read the evening away.  Well, now you have that chance!

Except... when you envisioned this perfect idyll of extended free time, you probably didn't picture a throbbing ankle half-buried in melting ice packs.

But nothing in life is perfect. 

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1. 933.47 K (660.32 C / 1220.58 F)

4 comments:

  1. My many sympathies!

    Crutches do want you dead! First, if you are very active, they will rub friction holes on your arms and torso. Because a throbbing ankle is not enough pain!

    I broke both ankle bones in my left leg, had to have surgery (pinned), and was summarily casted and crutched. Once I was deemed barely capable of returning to work, I picked up my purse and my crutches on fine morning and headed out the door. Those treacherous crutches slipped on the morning dew coating the porch. In a spectacular display of shock, horror, and despair, I flailed as my crutches flew off in opposite directions, my purse did a projectile fling across the yard scattering all my belongings, and I cartwheeled down the stairs to land in a crumpled heap of pain.

    Thankfully, I was staying with my roommate's family who always treated me like their own. They scooped me up and took me to the emergency room. Luckily, I hadn't destroyed the effects of my surgery. Everything inside the cast was fine, but my poor exposed toes had been beaten purple and puffy. Amazingly, they weren't broken.

    I never trusted those shifty crutches after that. In fact, when I had knee surgery years later, I refused crutches. I hopped everywhere!

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    1. Oh my goodness! I read this literally cringing for you. How awful. Fortunately none of my run-ins with gravity have been quite that dramatic! And since my apartment and classroom are both on the ground floor (and as most buildings in Florida are one level) I'm hoping to avoid stairs as much as possible.

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  2. I've had my fair share of crutch use. Just be glad you're in Florida- rain is not too bad compared to an icy porch or driveway!

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    1. I can imagine! Oh, the humanity!

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