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At the Hop July 11, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.
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Sometimes it just seems stupid to break out the crutches when I only need to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, or the computer desk to my couch. When this happens, I opt to hop.

Most of the time hopping is an up-and-down motion. To propel yourself forward, you need to lean your body over your centre of gravity. Then, to stay upright but moving forward I choose to wave my forearms in a circular motion, while ensuring I keep my broken leg off the ground at all times. The arm waving, while highly effective, makes me appear perhaps, a little ridiculous. My cats give me ample space in the hallway, as if they’re never quite sure whether I’ll make it to the couch, or fall on my face about three hops in. Truly, it must be seen to be believed.

The other trouble is speed. Like the Juggernaut, I’m an excellent example of Newton’s first law, and stopping is usually best achieved by falling onto something rather than attempting to slow down. Under further consideration, I suppose it’s less of a ‘hop’ and more of a ‘controlled flail in a specific direction’.

To offset the reality of how insane I look, I find creative visualization useful. Most recently I pretended I was a cute but uncoordinated mouse who mistakenly fell into a pan of butterscotch pudding and used my special flailing skills to escape a caramelicious doom. Previous to this, I’ve found that I can crutch faster across short distances if I sing the theme from Hawaii 5-0.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Hobbler July 2, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.
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Tempted by an offer of quiche, muffins and lascivious conversation, I trekked over to Tom and Don’s apartment yesterday afternoon. They only live a few blocks away, so normally this walk would take me about five minutes at most, three if there’s Chaka Kahn on the ‘Pod.

Were I Terminator II-era Linda Hamilton or in possession of 27” Hulk Hogan-esque pythons, I’m sure that long-distance hobbling would be OK. Sadly, lifting my body weight with my back and shoulders to land on one leg is very tiring and I was forced to hobble along at a glacial pace. How slowly was I moving? I was passed by an elderly couple with canes.

It ended up taking me 17 minutes to reach my destination, and that was with Don coming out of the apartment, worried and looking for me. Relieved that I hadn’t been flattened by the Tally-Ho, he praised me for how well I was doing on the crutches. The mark of a good friendship is in knowing when to lie to a friend in need. The mark of a great friendship is when I believe him.

There’s something to be said for search engine optimization… June 29, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Uncategorized.
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Shortly after my injury the nurses mentioned that it was likely I’d be given an AirCast at some point in my recovery.  I didn’t know too much about it, aside from the fact that it would be removable and I’d probably end up wearing it for quite awhile.  Once I was lucid enough to Google things effectively, I did a quick search for the product that would soon be immobilizing my injury.  I’ll link to the resulting pages to spare you the time, but suffice to say, searching for “aircast” (correct link) and “air +cast” (just click it) will give you very different results from what you might expect.  I think Dr. McSurgery and I would be having a rather pointed discussion about patient/doctor comfort levels had this been what he were prescribing. 

It’s compressing my will to live! June 29, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Uncategorized.
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How do you spell “Awesome Afternoon”?  I spell it R-E-X-A-L-L.

A lone brunette bobbing in a sea of silver heads, I was the youngest person there by several decades.  The other customers walked slowly through three long rows of scooters, motorized wheelchairs and walker/shopping cart hybrids; occasionally pausing to peruse the buckets of canes and racks of grabbers and tools.  Having worked with seniors for several years, I know and appreciate how useful these tools can be for people with mobility difficulties or challenges.  A scooter or walker can literally change their life; allowing them to regain freedoms they’d previously lost.  Sadly, I was at the Rexall for considerably less inspiring reasons.  I needed a compression stocking.

A compression stocking is like a nylon on steroids.  Tighter, denser and considerably less attractive, it compresses (imagine that!) the leg to stimulate circulation, prevent blood cIots and speed up healing.  As I’ve mentioned before, the break and dislocation restricted blood flow to my foot for about ½ an hour after the injury until the ER doctor reset the bones.  Because of this, I had several side effects (swelling and discoloration) that could be reduced or remedied by a compression stocking. 

Putting on a compression stocking is like trying to fit a walrus into a pair of bike shorts.  , The salesperson at Rexall recommended I use custom ribbed rubber gloves to slide up the stocking a ¼ inch at a time. Fortunately, thanks to my tiny, nimble fingers I’m able to pull it on without assistance. 

Not counting the massaging chair, my favourite part of the trip to Rexall was choosing the colour of my compression stocking.  (There was an incredible selection of blue shades.  Blue!  Seriously!  Who still wears blue stockings?)  I eventually settled on the palest shade of honky white girl they had. 

The name of the colour?  ”Natural”

Canada’s Next Top (Temporarily-Handicapped) Model June 26, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.
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On Sex and the City, Carrie and the girls talked about secret single behaviour (aka “SSB”). Carrie rightly noted that all girls have a secret thing they do when there’s no one around, something they’d never want other people to see or even know about. Hers was eating saltines and grape jelly, while standing up in the kitchen reading fashion magazines. Charlotte liked to look at her pores in a magnifying mirror for an hour every night. Miranda would wear conditioning manicure gloves and watch infomercials. Then there’s me: I like to put on trashy top 40 pop music, wear my favourite high heels and practice runway walking in my apartment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no aspirations or desire to be a model. I just love runway. It’s my favourite part of America’s Next Top Model (although Miss Jay becomes shriller and more terrifying each cycle). There’s something so sexy, so powerful, so in-control about striding confidently in super high heels. It’s too bad there’s absolutely nothing powerful, sexy or even remotely in-control about doing the same thing on crutches.

Trust me, I’m trying, but I can’t seem to figure out a way to feel pretty on crutches. It’s hard to look up (the ground can be so fickle), you’re perpetually slumped forward, and your shoulders are forever hunched around your ears. I figure any model who can make crutches look hot, has an exciting and rewarding career ahead of her. Oh, and if she’d like to make her crutching more realistic, I know a guy who can help.

Nicknames that have become increasingly popular since my accident June 26, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.
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  • Hop-a-Long
  • Scooty (after my bosses’ partially paralyzed little dog, who is much better at stairs than I am)
  • Tiny Tim
  • Cripplefight
  • Gimpy

The OneCrutch.com – Followup and Offer June 26, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience, Resources.
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The creator of the OneCrutch has discovered this website and posted a reply to my previous post on his product. He confirms (as I suspected) that he wasn’t injured when they made the video, but that a new video is in the works. I’m glad to hear that he’s willing to share positive and not-so-positive feedback about his product, and would like to extend an offer to personally review the OneCrutch.

My ankle break is substantial enough that I’ll likely require some form of support (crutches, cane, sturdy arm of a swarthy bodybuilder) for quite some time. If you’d like to send me a OneCrutch to try out, I will review it on this site, and post a video of me using it for all to see. I look forward to your reply.

Tip Round-up June 23, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Advice, Tips.
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  1. Never try to sneak up on someone while you’re on crutches. It won’t work.
  2. Only wear boot-cut pants that will fit over your cast. Don’t think that just because you’re injured you can rock the whole “one leg tucked up, the other leg down” look. It’s not 1994.
  3. Crutches are not meant for speed.
  4. Everything will take twice as long as it used to. Be prepared for this. Schedule your time appropriately.
  5. Put on a brave face, but give yourself time to cry. Otherwise you’ll be watching “The Family Stone” and it’ll be all Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.
  6. Don’t be embarrassed when the liner of your aircast starts to smell a little like a Junior High boys locker room. Wash the liner on the gentle cycle, then add a dusting of baby powder to your leg every time you put the boot on. This will help to soak up sweat and ensure you won’t alienate friends and coworkers.

Ow. Ow. Ow. June 23, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Personal Experience.
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At this stage of recovery, my bones are starting to knit themselves back together and my nerves are regenerating. This isn’t a pleasant experience. I’m surprised by how much it hurts. I feel a little like how Harry Potter would have felt (you know, if he were real) when he had to regrow his arm in one night. Instead of an everpresent ache, it’s now sort of shooting pain at random times (plus the ache). Plus, I’ve realized that I don’t have feeling in the tips of two of my toes anymore. I’m hoping it returns, but if not I can see certain benefits of this. At the very least, I’ll always know which toes to stub from now on.

Advice, please! Gyms in Victoria… June 22, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Advice, Personal Experience.
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After my appointment at the cast clinic on July 6th, I want to start going back to a gym. I was starting to get in shape before my accident, but six weeks of limited activity has left me in a slightly less svelte state than before. While my arms are looking pretty great, and my back and chest muscles are stronger (thanks, crutches!), I’d like to start seriously getting back into shape. It’ll be nice to have a project to consume some of my restless energy and at the very least, it’ll be a good distraction from not being able to shop for shoes.

Mostly I’m interested in going to a gym for the recumbent bike (I have a feeling that the elliptical trainer and the stair climber will not be part of my routine for the next while) and weight training. I haven’t had a gym membership in ages (I used to rent a rowing machine and use it at home), so just like the nightclub scene, I’m a little out of touch.

I have a few requirements for my future gym, so if you’re going to suggest somewhere for me to go, try to keep these in mind:

  1. Should be in downtown Victoria, James Bay or Royal Oak (near work). I’ll be able to drive again, but if there’s anything I’ve learned for how I relate to the gym, I’ll only go if it’s on my regular route.
  2. Ideally I’d like to spend between $50 – 70/ month
  3. Please, no stairs. Well, a few stairs is OK, but not several flights. (For this reason, I don't think the YMCA downtown is a good idea for me yet)

Looking forward to hearing any ideas!