I was recently told by my physician that if I would like to reduce the pain level I live with and increase my mobility, I would need to purchase forearm crutches! It was NOT what I wanted to hear at all. In reality, I should have started using them over a year ago, but my silly ego thought that using them was a “visible sign of a fault” plus, it felt like I was giving up my fight against my physical limitations. A self defeating thought process. The year delay increased the damage to my body & drastically increased my pain level. Time to reset my priorities.
Once I made the decision to purchase & use the Loftstrand Style Forearm crutches, it then became a game to find the most appropriate kind that could actually be a useful tool instead of a limitation. In the beginning of my search, I was dismayed by the institutional appearance of what I was finding, but that was not the biggest problem. The biggest problem was this: how in the world could I make these crutches work in the environment that I call home. I live in the Rocky Mountains, literally on the side of a mountain. My drive is steep & a mix of loose gravel & dirt. Negotiating it on crutches seemed like an insurmountable task. Another obstacle is the weather. Many months of the year, that same driveway is covered in deep snow, mud, or packed with ice. I absolutely love where I live and became determined to find a solution.
After much searching, I was delighted to find that another lady, Sarah Doherty, founder of Sidestix Ventures Inc., who also faced severe mobility challenges, had been working for years to improve those institutional crutches to make off road challenging terrain experiences easier to negotiate & more comfortable. These crutches not only had some style (which was incidental), they work in the mountains! They had features that seemed amazing. I laughed with delight when I discovered that these crutches have snowshoes!! I can return to my hiking in the snow, an activity that I so adore. But that wasn’t all. Not only did they have snowshoes, they also have mud/sand shoes with ice spikes, hiking tips with cleats, & rotating feet for rough terrain. They have shock absorbers, padded leather arm bands for comfort, and ergonomic hand pads.
I started watching videos related to their product & was astonished by what I found. There is a video of of an amputee in a forest similar to mine hiking through muddy terrain, and on wet somewhat treacherous wood bridges having no problems with his crutches! There is one of an amputee snowshoeing a very challenging vertical trail. I saw another of a man who hiked on Sidestix the 60 or so miles of the Tahoe rim!
The videos gave me hope. Hope that my outdoor days were not over, hope that I can continue to walk my dog, hope that I can return to the activities of my life that are important, hope that I can live with less pain, less fatigue, & less sadness. In short, I have hope that I can return to my life that I love.
Take a look, you will be amazed. I’m ordering mine and I will let you know how they work out.
Courage is facing your fears & being willing to accept help when you need it. ~Abbey 2016