An armless crutch, or handless crutch, a kneewalker or knee scooter, where are they here in Bermagui? Until two days ago, I didn’t know of their existence. Now I wish I had them! On the 16th of February, while doing a bit of gardening at my mother in laws’ new home, I toppled off a rock. I heard a pop, felt a burn, as my ankle rolled, and I hit the ground as if I’d been shot. The pain was excruciating, but with the plumber drilling outside, and Joyce, without her hearing aids in, I didn’t have a hope in hell, of being heard, no matter how loud I cursed. So, in the moment of shock, adreneline, and pain, I sort of, produced a gait all of my own – never to be repeated, and made my way madly back inside.
It had been a busy time for us all. Our own recent move, and then organising the sale and purchase of Joyces homes and her move to Bermagui.
I had not stopped, in quite a while. It is a belief of mine that sometimes accidents happen when you need to stop, pay more attention and take more care, especially of oneself.
Here was my moment. I was stopped in my tracks.
After sitting for a while, with an icepack on my foot, waiting for the pain to stop, so I could walk again, (what was I thinking?) or at least drive myself to the doctor (yeah right), panadol was consumed. Still no relief. The doctor was called, the ambulance called, and to cut a long story short – my ankle is broken.
The crutches were great, for a very short space of time. Until Crutch burn, under the armpits set in, and my good leg started to ache and become weak. I was surprised at how quickly that happened. It was also a little unfortunate that I fractured the ankle of my right leg. The leg I am now using as my main support, my left leg, I damaged my hip and knee of, when I came off a ladder many years ago. Crutches are also very inefficient when it comes to doing anything with your hands. Try carrying a cup of tea while on crutches.
Something had to give. I wanted more mobility and independence. I’m not good at asking for things. At $90 a week I didn’t want to hire a wheelchair so Keith and I became inventive.
1. Crutch station – where they are needed most.
2. Mobility Walker – Walkers are designed to be used with 2 legs. A broken ankle restricts walking, to hopping on one leg. Every time pressure is put on the handles of a walker the brakes are enabled. But –
3. Converted walker to wheelchair – Don’t try this at home!
The brakes are easily disabled with, well we used the thick ends of chop sticks to stop them. Worked a treat! The other design flaw, if used as a wheel chair, is that the walker is intended to be pushed forward while standing behind the two sets of pairs of wheels. When used as a wheelchair, one needs to sit facing in the direction of the single front wheels. They are the ones that rotate to allow for steering, so the back rest had to be removed. No brakes, no backrest. Thats OK I thought. I wasn’t planning on falling asleep sitting in the thing, or going down any hills.
But in the kitchen, it wasn’t good. The walker/wheelchair wasn’t tall enough to stay seated at the kitchen benches. Sitting back down after standing proved hazardous. The chair refused to stay put, and I landed on my derriere. Not just, once but twice. The first time I thought I was being careless. The second time, I knew our innovation failed.
Then came my greatest finds on the internet. The armless crutch and knee walker.
As I said there aren’t any in Bermagui or in the Bega Valley, but I did have an office chair with wheels. All I had to do was change the way I used it. So easy. The inability to bear weight on the ankle, doesn’t mean I can’t bear weight on the knee and lower leg. Kneeling on my chair, with my injured leg, gives me the greatest painless, stability and mobility, and provides a chair.
5. Plastic Milk Crates – Great with a towel on top for seating in the bathroom after a shower or with a plastic chopping board laid on top, as a seat in the shower.
– Time to scoot into the kitchen for a cup of tea!