Injuries are common among high school students, mostly due to sports. In the first couple months of school I saw four different students on crutches, and I would always think about how hard it would be. Eventually, I became one of these students when I tore my LCL while competing in rodeo. As a result I was sentenced to four weeks on crutches.
Here are some of the the difficulties I experienced:
I have found that carrying stuff is very difficult and you will take twice as long to do simple tasks. Clothing with large pockets soon becomes your favorite–if something won’t fit in your pockets, you decide you can live without it. Food is another story, especially at school. If you eat in the cafeteria, you will need help because carrying it yourself is not an option. Friends are a good resource to make good use of at this time.
Usually rain is not frowned upon, unless you are on crutches. When you get onto the flooring in the school, especially in E-wing–where the wet footprints seem to make a continuous line of water–it is very dangerous. Caution is your friend as you try to navigate around the dangerous splotches of water. If by chance your crutches give way, you should hope someone will be there to act as a buffer. Otherwise, you will end up looking like a newborn deer fumbling around the hallway trying to catch your balance again.Your crutches are your new legs and will fail you at least once.
New Numbness of Armpits
It is amazing how raw and sore your entire underarm will become after only a short time. By the time you wrap towels around the armrests it’s too late–you may just decide to bear through the pain. The weeks will go by and the soreness may decrease, but the spots on your underarms will remain.
Stairs will test your balance, reflexes, and your ability to control extreme frustration. School stairs are especially stressful because it is purely a wave of students and you are a lone drifter going against the tide. Balance is essential. Everyone says to just take the elevators, but you will exert more energy going to the elevator than bearing the stairs. Ramps are helpful, but you will still be forced to endure staircases daily. Be ready and maybe practice before you throw yourself into the chaotic staircases of BHS.
Some doors have a handicapped option, but sometimes you aren’t that lucky. Most likely you will have to resort to awkwardly trying to balance, open the door, then stopping the door before it closes, shimmying through the narrow opening, and lastly, silently congratulating yourself for your achievement. Other times there are people around, however you have to gauge your speed so that they will arrive at the door shortly before you and be able to hold the door for you. Sometimes you get there too fast and awkwardly glance back at them, silently asking them for help while waiting at the door.
The only people who will understand your pain is other people on crutches. The day that you can ditch crutches won’t come soon enough and you will always find yourself counting down the days. All you will be able to say despite all the struggles is: these crutches better have been worth it.