This is a remark that I regularly hear from people, both strangers and friends alike. Once they notice the gleam from my crutches they comment that they have used crutches before and therefore “understand” how difficult it is to walk around with them. Then they give me a look waiting for me to validate those 2 weeks they had to use crutches and how impressive their upper body strength has become. Bravo.
But I am never that sarcastic outloud, well, not regarding that at least. It is difficult to have crutches, it messes up your hands, you have to be extra careful of where you’re stepping as a random piece of paper could orchestrate your downfall to faceplant-land. Not a fun place to be, especially if you’re easily embarrassed. Or even if you’re not.
I didn’t always have crutches, when I was in Nigeria and for a little while when I had started living in London, I used to be carried around everywhere by family members or just have to stay exactly where I was because I couldn’t go anywhere far, or even nearby for that matter as it just took too much effort. Plus my Olympic worrier mother would never allow it.
So after years of practice with my crutches, I have lots of calluses on my hands and pretty impressive upper body strength for someone who doesn’t go to the gym or do any form of exercise. And still that one random drunken woman who comments, on New Years Day after I have just gotten out of the tube from a friend’s place, that she just “recently got off crutches” and waited for an age for me to congratulate her on her miraculous recovery. To which I obliged, no point me being the first person to ruin 2014 for her.
Yes, I do validate.
And I regularly validate the length of time people have spent on crutches because unlike drunken NYE woman, they’re just trying to let me know that they have a small idea of our difficult it is having crutches and trying to get about, especially in London. Lots of stairs and litter and other obstructions that make walking just that little bit more interesting. Then they usually break into song and dance about how brave and courageous I am facing the stairs at a tube stop like a soldier. And I adore adoration, so don’t stop.
But in all seriousness, while I definitely agree that it is difficult, there are those that have it infinitely more difficult than I do. Places where there are no escalators or lifts anywhere, so if you can’t get up the stairs, you just can’t go. There are no crutches available to them or that is affordable for them, so they can’t go anywhere. Even if the place they are trying to reach is a school for education. There are not enough people fighting for them and their ability to achieve, or their geography is the one thing standing between them and success.
As previously mentioned in my About Jay page, polio is still endemic in 3 countries around the world and Polio has very nearly been eradicated around the world. For more information about polio eradication and how to help please click here
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