Saturday, March 20, 2010
History of Crutches
I hate my crutches! They are useless, they hurt and I end up being very wobbly with them. I love my wheelchair! I know how to use my wheelchair and sure, it is cumbersome and awkward at times, but it doesn't hurt to use my wheelchair like it does to use my crutches. For the most part, I am able to use my wheelchair in the main part of the house, but when I need to get upstairs, I crawl on my hands and knees. When I reach the landing upstairs, either I simply crawl to the bathroom, or I crawl to my bed and get up with the use of my bed or the stand beside the toilet. I then will use my crutches. I only use them really at bedtime and when I'm getting ready in the morning. Otherwise, they live upstairs.
I dread going down my main stairs in front of my house. I am so afraid of falling and the idea of falling flat on my face on a concrete walkway is not appealing to me at all. When I leave the house, I slide down the stairs on my bum. Yes, the concrete is cold and yes I look like a dork, but it is less scary and more comfortable than trying to jump down the three steps.
When Mom was here, we had a great thing going. I would slide down the steps on my bum, with my crutches beside me. I would use my crutches to get to the car and then use the door of the car to hobble into the car. Mom would then manage to get the wheelchair down the steps of my house and into the back of the car. I have a Matrix, so we folded one backseat down and the wheelchair would slide right into its spot. Mom recently had shoulder surgery (about 6 weeks before my accident) and she would be able to get the wheelchair up into the back of the car, but then I would need to reach around from the back seat and help bring the wheelchair further into the Matrix so that the trunk would close. If we went anywhere, I always preferred to use my wheelchair.
I did have one incident of using my crutches in a department store and having a not so great episode! I felt like fainting and my left leg was cramping with the weight of my body. My mom had to rush around the store looking for a chair with wheels to bring to me so I didn't faint onto the floor of the department store! Talk about embarrassing!
When we went places, getting out of the car, Mom and I would simply reverse the order. She would bring the wheelchair out of the back of the car and I would hobble out of the side door into the wheelchair.
Since I now have these crutches, I decided to look into the history of crutches. I know that crutches date way back to any war, since there are so many pictures that I've seen with soldiers injured who are using crutches, but I wanted to dig deeper.
According to one website, crutches were around even in per historic times! Crutches were evident in drawings from the prehistoric times in Egypt. Apparently, the design of crutches has not changed much since then. When crutches were first created, sticks were used and padding was added by the patient. Emile Schlick patented a walking stick in 1917 that could be called the first commercially produced form of crutches. In this design there was a support for the upper arm to rest on. However, it was A.R. Lofstrand, Jr. who patented the first deign for crutches that could be adjusted to suit the height of the user. There you have it! The history of the crutches...pretty basic but I'm sure if either Schlick or Lofstrand Jr. patented their products, they probably died millionaires!