Disabled Life

A very frustrating predicament

Last week I was going for a walk. Then I hear a crunch and a ping. The crutch on my right arm twists, swinging my body with it. I manage to relax and crash on to my side. My first thought is I slipped. I check the crutch. It’s in tact. Then I see the cuff has moved sideways. The rivet holding it in at the back has snapped, again. This is the third time this year I have had a crutch break on me.

I am halfway between home and the bus stop. I don’t have my phone on me. F**k it, I grab the crutch and start walking on the one good stick to the bus stop. It’ll stop 100 metres from the chemist and I can walk that.

When I get there the woman who normally deals with it has left. But the staff know me and are as frustrated as I am. Why did this happen?

  1. The first time it broke I slipped on a piece of plastic, slid and slammed hard into the ground. Not hurt but snapping the cuff.

2. Second time the rivet snapped 36 hours after the crutch arrived.

This time I think I know why. The cuff is very tight on my arm, it’s fine for somebody who just broke their leg and is on the sticks for a few weeks. But I’ve used them for 30 odd years. My forearms are bigger than average for a guy my size. This would put pressure on the crutch causing it to snap.

I talk about this with the chemist and they agree. The crutch is sent to Hamilton.

Today I got a call from the manufacturer at 2:30pm. I have never talked to them before.

“I’m in Birkenhead, what’s you’re address? I can just pop over to your house and have a look at the crutch to see what’s going on?”

“I’m at work.”

“You work?”

I ignore his surprise at this fact and tell him where work is. He’s driving over to meet me.

The assumption that disabled people just stay at home is still alive. This is not the first time I’ve heard it. I also had a community nurse who made unscheduled visits expecting me to be home. Because why would I work? That’s crazy!! OMG what if I could vote!

Manufacture man arrives. I show him the cuffs on my other crutches which are wider than the new one. I ask about a bigger cuff.

“Aww no. These one’s have just expanded with age, they’re the same size.”.


“I’m gonna put 3 rivets in this time. You should talk to your occupational therapist about this.”

“I don’t have an occupational therapist. I’m a bit old for that.”

“Ha. Really? I find that very hard to believe.”

I amaze myself and don’t punch him in the face. Occupational therapy as I have experienced it is about adapting and managing your disability day day to day. You learn how to get in a bath, get on the toilet, dress yourself , move around the kitchen.

I did OT for a long time up until I was 16. By that point I had my system sorted out. There is nothing I would gain from it now.

It is obvious he is not going to listen to me. Maybe his 3 rivet plan will work or maybe it’ll snap again and they can try 4 rivets next time.

You would think somebody who works with disabled people would be more open minded. Often they aren’t they have read a text book and been told how to deal with text book cases. It worries me that my life is considered an oddity by them.

I would think I should be the norm.



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