As I stuffed a Greek yogurt into my waistband, flinched at the sudden coldness, and took off on my crutches towards my study, it hit me: Very soon, I’m going to have to break some very effective but socially awkward habits!
Come to think of it, my friend Kelli burst out laughing while on her cell phone in my kitchen yesterday. I assumed her mom had said something funny. But her eyes were on the grocery list I was matter-of-factly stuffing down the front of my shirt.
Usually it’s a sandwich. Wrapped, of course.
It’s instinctive at this point. If I don’t have my backpack handy, I become my own down-sized UPS delivery system. Spoons slide into my leg cast, my cell phone peeks out of my bra. But I’m going to have to stop it, when I’m hands-free again. People give gentle leeway to the lady on crutches. Sticking mail down my pants at the curb without crutches propped against the mailbox will just look a little crazy. I need to prepare for this.
It took time to develop all my finely tuned shortcuts. I don’t think twice about them now: Swinging like Tarzan’s Jane into my shower, sipping wine from a transportable sports water bottle in the evening, spontaneously sticking my right leg out behind me in an arabesque or propping it up on a store shelf when numbness dictates that I elevate it —these are routine.
Frequently, I play with my toes to make sure they’re still wiggling properly. I hop great distances on one foot (even further when I forget where I left my crutches). I fling things: rolls of toilet paper, bags of bagels, newspapers —slap-shotting them with a crutch when I miss my mark. When not engaged as transport, my right crutch does double-duty as an over-sized pointer and as the liberator of top shelf items beyond my grasp. I’ve developed a deft “poke and duck” move. I swing past people at the mall, calling, “passing on your left” to alert them to my precarious presence. Walls of people miraculously part for me. This is my new normal.
And while I hated to ask for help in the beginning, I’ve learned to accept and even expect that aid will be available. At the gym, I stand near a weight bench, make eye contact with a smile, and magically, assorted dumbbells appear at my feet. Friends carry my bags when we shop. They open doors for me, bring me food, napkins and drinks and stand as willing buffers lest I fall. For strenuous labor, this is actually pretty easy.
Being catered to as royalty could go to a girl’s head —well maybe not the kind of girl who would also scoot down the stairs on her butt— but in four more weeks this extreme concierge service will finally come to an end.
I’m hoping I’ll land back on both feet with continued gratitude and heightened understanding —and hoping that I can break my habit of stuffing my bra with household items. Efficiency can be a bit addictive.
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