Thursday, May 9, 2013

Adventures on Crutches

The good news is I've now been cleared to drive, swim (with a pull buoy), water run, and trainer bike.  The bike was a harder sell with my doctor, and was only agreed to on the condition that I pull the plug at even a hint of pain, hence the necessity for the trainer rather then the open road.

For the most part right now, I'm getting around on an aircast.  It's a royal pain to put on and take off, and I have to do so every time I drive somewhere.  Going down stairs is a bit challenging still, but going up stairs isn't so bad.  Having said that, I can get around reasonably well on it.  It feels almost natural now, to the point that I joked with my husband that maybe I could even walk 5K in it.  Joking of course.  And 5K is only coincidentally the distance I'd have to go to finish a sprint triathlon.

The more challenging place to move around is the swimming pool.  Because I can't get the lining of my aircast wet, I use crutches to get the pool itself.  Somehow I envisioned crutches as being this easy thing to zoom around on.

Not so much.

The first day I was using the crutches, I got changed and then went to pick up my stuff to go from the change room to the pool (goggles, paddles, water bottle, pull buoy).  I realized I couldn't.  Moving on crutches non-negotiably uses both hands and I had none left to carry my stuff.  Everyone else had already gone into the pool.

I tried wrapping my goggles around everything and putting it on my arm. That did not work at all.  Fortunately for me, a friend of mine, who had just finished her swim, was still in the change room.  She offered to carry my stuff out to the pool.

And I hobbled along.  Desperately trying to keep the crutches from flopping around, and just focusing on getting to the pool.  Given my current state, and the fact I wouldn't be following the group workout entirely, I've been demoted to a slower lane, so I hobbled my way to the far side of the pool.

Once in the water, I felt great.  Monday's workout seemed to be designed especially for me and left my arms feeling like jello.  It was so nice to be in an environment where I didn't feel clumsy and awkward.

Then, it was time to get out of the pool.  And I discovered that getting up, when you can only weight bear on one foot, is not as easy as you might think.  It took me a good couple minutes to figure it out, and the thought crossed my mind that I might be better off with a walker rather then crutches.  Then I had to ask one of the few remaining people that was on deck to help me with my stuff.  Then hobble my way around the pool and back to the change room.

Yesterday, I went again, and I was still awkward and ungraceful, but I figured out a few things.  First off, I adjusted my crutches up a notch.  I had them set to the height adjustment for 5'11, which I'm just a bit below.  The heights on crutches are just guidelines.  When I put it to the 6'0 mark, it instantly got easier to use the crutches; they felt way more stable, and I didn't have to slouch way down.  I also found myself a little backpack for my pool toys.

As well, I concluded that the optimal route to take is the one that gets me from change room to water in the shortest distance.  Even if I'm not going to swim in the lane on that side, it is far easier for me to get across the pool in the water then it is for me to hobble around the pool on crutches.  As a bonus, that end of the pool even has a railing on it, so it's also easier to get out and back on my feet after.

I'm figuring things out one step at a time.  I desperately miss running, and nothing replaces it, but at least I'm not housebound and totally inactive.

1 comment:

  1. That's dedication still getting to the pool while on crutches. Way to go!