Tag Archives: crutches

How My Wheelchair Gave Me Independence

When you have a disability, there are two types of assistive devices, those you need in order to function and those you want because they make life a little easier. The items that fall into ‘need’ vs ‘want’ kind of depends on your level of disability. Personally, I see nothing wrong with using both kinds of devices regularly. However, growing up I did feel a lot of pressure from my parents, therapists, and even strangers to only use what was absolutely needed, not what made things easier. This pressure seems to come from the belief that the fewer assistive devices you need, the more independent you will be. While this makes sense in theory, in practice nothing could be further from the truth.

Growing up I used crutches to get around; long distances, short distances, at school, where ever I went I was crutching it. For years my teachers had to excuse me from class early (with a friend in case I fell) in order for me to make it to the next class on time. I was always lagging behind other students, more often than not, by the

time I got somewhere my classmates were already moving on to the next destination. My closest friends developed a habit of walking slow; in fact, to this day one of my childhood friends still gets teased for being a slow poke.

Crutches were all I knew, so I never complained. I never asked my parents for a wheelchair because I didn’t know I could. I could walk; people that can walk don’t use wheelchairs. However, in high school my shoulders started to hurt from walking with crutches. My Physical Therapist thought it was tendinitis and suggested that I get

a wheelchair. My parents agreed to this recommendation, but on the condition that it be used only for school.

So in eleventh grade I got my first wheelchair. With this new mode of getting around I discovered two things; just because you don’t need something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, and that a wheelchair doesn’t mean less independence, it means more. With my wheelchair I was able to get to class on time, I had no more embarrassing falls, I didn’t have to sweat all day in tacky snow boots and I could carry my own lunch at school. Seeing how much more independence I gained from my wheelchair helped convince my parents to get me a power chair for college.

I have never experienced more independence than I did during those four years at college thanks to my power chair; I excelled both academically and socially. Sometimes it isn’t just about what you need; sometimes it’s about what is easier. I know there are people who see me walk out of my chair and probably wonder why I am in a chair if I can stand. But I don’t let it bother me anymore. I am just living the best life I know how; if that means using a chair, drinking from straws, training my dog to pull my socks off for me, and letting my husband carry me up the stairs, well then, so be it.

An UNlimited Year in Review

This post marks my one year anniversary as a blogger for UNlimiters. I can hardly believe that it has been a year, and what a year it has been. I went from being unemployed, to working three part time jobs; from having Hepatitis C to being cured of the disease, and from writing once a month, to writing at least once a week. A lot has changed for me over this year, but many things have stayed the same, including the things I use every day in order to live my life Unlimited. For my anniversary post, I would like to revisit these items, and to share with you the top three I never want to be without.

My very first post highlighted an item that I used most often in my house, the crockpot. Growing up I don’t remember my Mom using the crockpot for anything other than baked beans. The other recipes I had eaten out of a crockpot left much to be desired; so at first I didn’t think I would like cooking with a crockpot. However, I was presently surprised. Crockpots are great for more than just beans, sauces and soups. You can make many delicious items in the crockpot, including desserts. It is a life saver during a busy work week or when I would rather spend time sewing than worrying about what is for dinner.

My second post featured an item I literally could not live without. I mean, I guess I probably could, but it would not be a very full or exciting life. The Hurri-Cane Crutch was introduced to me by a friend of my fathers who happened to know a guy that was trying to market a new kind of Lofstrand Crutch. I have used Lofstrand Crutches since I was about 6. Ever since I was introduced to the Hurri-Cane Crutch, I have never used another, and have tried quite a variety of mobility aids in my time. These crutches are light, stylish and practically indestructible.

Finally, this post featured an item that I had seen a hundred times while being around others with disabilities. Although the reacher was a familiar adaptive tool to me, it was not something I felt I needed. I grew up in an “adapt or fail” type of household. I was taught to adapt to my environment instead of expecting it to change to accommodate me. Thus, I equated the use of certain assistive technology with laziness. However, after starting a new job, I got tired of asking people to pick things up for me; I finally cave and bought the reacher. It has increased my independence and changed my perspective on assistive technology.

Life is about change, it is about learning and growing. The person you are today might not be the person you are tomorrow. You will learn new things, form new opinions and have new experiences, but that doesn’t mean we should discount the things that stay the same. It is the unchanging things in life that give us the confidence to do all the changing along the way.

The Mobility Device That I Couldn’t Live Without

As a person with Cerebral Palsy, I think I have used every type of mobility device in existence. In my 31 years I have utilized everything from a power wheelchair to a cane for getting around. I have even been known to use non-traditional means of mobility, including, but not limited to: a trashcan, a laundry basket, my sisters’ children and a rake; but that, my friends, is a post for another day. Today, I want to talk about a mobility device that changed my life, one that I have been using for over 15 years; The Hurri-cane Crutch.

I got my first pair of Hurri-cane Crutches when I was 15 years old. Until that point I had been using a pair of traditional, lofstrand forearm crutches as my primary means of mobility. I had the usual complaints. My hands were callused and blistered from the handles, they often slid out from under me causing me to fall, and they were next to impossible to adjust.

Compared to the traditional lofstrand forearm crutch, the Hurri-cane Crutch has a number of things going for it:

  • They have ergonomic handles, which decreases the amount of pressure on your hands. I haven’t had a callus or a blister in years
  • The flexible tips are made so that the bottom makes full contact with the ground each time you take a step. Although they can still slip on certain surfaces, this has greatly reduced my number of falls.
  • To make an adjustment on the Hurri-cane Crutch, you remove a screw with the supplied allen wrench (which is conveniently located in the handle) and then adjust the pin. Because the pin is not exposed, it does not rust or get stuck, making adjustments super easy.
  • The arm cuff rotates in a circle instead of up and down. If you reach for something, (or have to scratch your nose) they are less likely to fall off your arm.
  • The Hurri-cane Crutch is made of lightweight aluminum, but it has a square design, making it super strong.
  • The Hurri-cane Crutch comes in a variety of colors, and the paint job lasts longer than it did on my old crutches.
  • The Hurri-cane Crutch can be used as a crutch or a cane.

Once I started using the Hurri-cane Crutch, I couldn’t see myself using anything else. My first pair lasted me over ten years, through most of high school, all of college and the first few years after. They saw sand, water (oceans, lakes and pools), and plenty of snow. They took quite a beating and were replaced only after the grip was gouged by something sharp and started to get uncomfortable. Fortunately, the Hurri-cane Crutch comes with a life time warranty and my crutches were replaced for free! I quickly got my second pair and I love them just as much as the first pair.

 

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

 

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