One thing I have learned since breaking my foot, is that I am a wimp. I am physically very out of shape (no kidding). And getting around, doing the usual daily things I usually do, are a lot more work when you can only do them on one foot.
First of all, a note to all doctors out there who meet a patient who is newly on crutches, and who will be needing them for more than 3 days, there are a few things you should tell your patients about, to make their lives a little bit easier. (And if this sort of thing isn’t part of your job description, either make it so, or make it part of your medical assistant’s job description).
First and foremost, hand them a form, filled in, that they take to their local DMV to get a handicapped parking placard. Walking any distance on crutches is miserable, and being able to park near the door to your doctor’s office might just be life saving.
And because walking with crutches is so miserable, hand your patient a prescription for a knee scooter (unless they have bad knees, in which case I recommend a wheel chair). Having a knee scooter will make getting around a bit easier. It’s still not as easy as it was to just walk around, pre-broken foot. But it’s a vast improvement over crutches.
After that, be sure your patient is aware of other adaptive technology such as a commode and a shower chair. Sure, you might think of these items for seniors who have trouble getting around, but if you’ve only got one foot to work with, they’re life savers. Have you ever tried to sit down onto a toilet using only one leg? No? Go try it. Yes. Right now. I’ll wait.
So how was it? Nearly impossible? See what I mean. As for the shower, we’ve adapted a stool, covering it with a heavy plastic bag. And we have one of those shower heads that you can grab and it has a hose on it. So fabulous to have right about now!
The first thing I realized about walking with crutches is that you need upper body strength, which I do not have. You need to have strong shoulders, arms, and chest muscles. You need to have strong hands and wrists, and not have even the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome (my left wrist is not happy right about now).
Which is why I was so glad to get a knee scooter. The first day I got her, I flew around the house and around the hospital, where I got my MRI. Wheeeee! So fun. However, when I woke up the next day and got on her, I couldn’t believe how sore certain muscles were. Ones that I guess I don’t use too much in my previous daily life. Specifically, the muscles that go up the back of my thigh, and even higher, were amazingly sore. As I scooter around and use these muscles, they are getting stronger. And I figure, by the time my foot is all healed up, I will have a fabulous ass. Well, at least half of it will be fabulous. This is where the music kicks in, rapping about Big Butts.
The last bit of technology that might come into play, especially if you have broken your right foot, is hand controls for your car, so you can drive. If you have plenty of friends, family, or other ways of getting around, this won’t be an issue. But if you have no family around, you live in the boonies, your close friends all have busy lives, and your spouse works 12 hr. shifts with an hour commute each way, at some point, you’ll need to drive. And this technology is out there. Once it’s installed in my car, lookout world!
So, other than getting around, doing the necessary things like eating, eliminating, bathing and dressing, another daily chore that is now more than a chore, is getting outside to water plants. Taking the scooter down the front step is an exercise in something, I don’t know what. All I know is I almost ended up on my face. With our weather having changed from being in the 50’s with rain, to 90 degrees and sunny, literally over night, now I have to water all those
damned pretty potted flowers I have outside.
As I sit here on my butt (which I can still do fairly easily), outside the window I see our lawn mower, and just realized that the only pedal is for the left foot. The speed control is a lever that is hand activated. That might be one thing I can still do- mow! Naw, I think I’ll let the kid do that one.