Saturday, September 6, 2008

Progress: the miracle of crutches

A few days ago, my buddy Denny and Tamar got me a pair of crutches. The first pair did not fit (too long) so Denny exchanged hem for shorter ones. I've been trying to learn how to get around on them. I guess I never thought much technique was involved but I was wrong. Takes a few tries to feel comfortable on the things.

But I'm doing better now, having figured out how far apart to plant the tips and how far in front of me to swing them and...some other stuff that's equally or even more boring if you aren't hurt.

This morning, Tamar and I walked the five short blocks (Denver city blocks are indeed short, not nearly a tenth of a mile) to a coffee place. The day was perfect and I didn't even nearly fall down, not on the way there or on the way back.

That little walk gave me a glimpse of the legendary light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. I can imagine that eventually, weeks from now but not forever from now, I'm going to be okay.

My left middle finger will need some help, perhaps a small surgery to correct cartilage damage it sustained when I rudely dislocated it. But I can walk about half as fast as I can normally. It feels fast to me. It is way faster than I could go behind the walker.

I've heard via email and phone from friends, many of whom have related accident stories of their own or about their own friends. Maybe it's true: Maybe a bit of misery loves a bit of company.

As I walk now with my crutches, guys walking with canes, guys in wheelchairs and guys on their own crutches always say hi and often pass along a few encouraging words. There's an invisible fraternity of hurt folks that's been invisible to me. I see it now.

My time in the trauma hospital and in convalescing has been eye-opening indeed. Much of it has been nothing at all like real life. If you know someone who's been hurt and had to depend on the kindness of white- and green-clad strangers, ask them if it wasn't a series of small but poignant epiphanies.

I would not re-break a femur to re-experience the epiphanies, but maybe they're the silver lining that reputedly lurks behind even the darkest cloud.

Oh, Steve Braun of Tucson AZ: Comments to posts on my blog are blind. They cannot be responded to. Your email address has changed as I discovered when the fine note I sent you was returned. Write me at so I can re-send it. Hope you're doing great, Steve!


jthurber80 said...

Once you've "lived" with crutches you can start to relate to those folks stuck with them over the long term. Crutches are amazing and the more you use them the stronger you'll get, the farther you'll be able to walk.

When you shift to a cane you'll find walking and hiking with a cane provides an advantage as you now are working with three legs instead of just two. You'll find enhanced stability (and safety) and if you run into an angry badger or squirrel the cane comes in VERY handy.

Keep walking and remember that carrying coffee is the only TRUE disadvantage of crutching it.

Bill in Pasadena said...


I just checked your blog after being away for a few weeks. How terrible!! I feel really bad for you, but hope you're now on your way to recovery.

Sjb said...

Hey Maynard,
My email address is

Glad to read you're gaining some mobility