Time and post-operative recuperation have afforded me two things – time and the ability to form a new skill set. I shall use the term skill set in its loosest terms, as I am sure there are no competitions I could enter or share with friends even on a Sunday afternoon. But nothing quite prepared me for life on one leg (and I am extraordinarily grateful that my one-legged life is short term – for lots of people this is a permanent adjustment to make, and I salute you) Here are 10 additional skills I have acquired as a one-legged lass!
1. Crutches become an extension of your arms
Like Mr Tickle and his spaghetti arms, I have shut doors, cupboard doors, turned light switches on and slid things along the floor I’d never have been able to do in life BC (before crutches).
2. Pilates has prepared me well for life on crutches
Lowering to a toilet/ any seat on one leg is challenging – try it – then get up again on one leg. #bunsofsteel
3. Stairs – I have approached steps and stairs with caution
My method of going up/down have been based on how tired I am/ how many painkillers I was on and how safe I felt. Nothing will make you feel more vulnerable than standing at the top of the stairs on elbow crutches, on one leg. Hopping up or downstairs is hard work.. so often going up or down on my bum was definitely the method of choice!
4. Negotiated children’s toys/ dog toys/ dog saliva.
On my first post-op day, I was moving from the kitchen to lounge – one of the dogs had just had a drink and left a trail of water splashes on our tiled floor… you guessed it, rubber ferrules aren’t the best with water – it slipped, I slipped. I didn’t fall but jarred myself badly with an increase in pain to significant levels. There’s a way to heighten your eyesight!
5. Doing ‘stuff’!
I have made cups of tea, got food out of the oven, washed dishes, prepared food – all standing on one leg. Smug mode!
6. Picking things up from the floor
Again, a shout out to pilates! To pick up post, a remote control, a dropped mobile phone, whilst on one leg, is challenging and requires balance, strength and coordination! And nerves of steel.
7. Picking things up from the floor – modified technique!
Using my crutches – like a pair of giant chopsticks. This is one of the more challenging moves I’ll not be replicating regularly – it renders you without any support at all, whilst balancing an object which becomes very unstable, very quickly, just like me!
8. Travelling at speed.
The stronger I get and the more confident (verging on being cocky!) I can move faster on my crutches than walking.. please refer back to point 4 before attempting speed work!
9. Play the bum tap game!
Before your imagination runs away with you – my youngest child, Josh, age 7, and I have been playing a game for over a year (not constantly obviously lol!!) whereby the object of the game is to tap the other person on the bum before they can deflect you! Harder than it sounds, and you have to be on guard all the time! Well, standing on the other side of the landing the other day – I won a point by getting him! (in fairness, Josh declared it a no point, as the crutches gave me an unfair advantage with longer ‘arms’ – fair enough Josh!)
10. My biggest challenge
My biggest challenge was last week, and interestingly – in a disabled access loo – paper towel dispenser no problem – but the bin was a little pedal bin which you open by pressing the pedal on the floor – and it was about 3 feet away from the sink. Cue – press pedal with one crutch, and throw paper towel in – but I missed (netballer in a former life – goal attack as well – I am thoroughly ashamed and blame it only on my one leg status!) – I then had to head over and use by balance techniques in step 6 to complete the task.
Thank you for taking the time to read my challenges, highlights and lowlights of life on one leg! I will no doubt in another couple of weeks accumulate much more!! But I’m sure it’s no surprise to you to hear, physios make pants patients! (thanks to my friend Ann for the image!)
One-legged love, Vicky Smith x