I was planning on doing a slightly awkward ‘Hello, this is my blog’ first blog post, but then my hip decided to escape its socket and well that seemed like more appropriate place to start.
On Wednesday, I dislocated my hip stepping into a lift (the irony of injuring oneself accessing something specifically for people with mobility difficulties is not lost on me). It popped right back into its place thankfully, but it being the first time a big joint has fully dislocated (I’m lucky enough to have just had sublaxations up to now), I was terrified. Also, it hurt, a lot. My flatmates had to rescue me from the tube station (a big ask, as anyone who lives in an anonymous London flat-share will appreciate) and I couldn’t weight bear.
For the first time, I found myself having to use two crutches to get around, and it’s been a steep learning curve. For a start, it takes ages, to do EVERYTHING; you effectively lose use of your hands (not a huge issue for me as they’re unreliable at the best of times), showering is a nightmare and don’t allow me to start on the kerfuffle I had trying to wash my clothes. I also found myself much more reliant on my friends than I normally am. Having to ask people to carry my bag/ open doors/ slow down a bit, is something that I find exposing and fairly difficult, but they’ve all been extremely understanding (and are probably quite relieved that I’ve chosen sense over stubbornness for once). It’s made me realise how lucky I am to be as mobile as I am generally, and I understand others do not have the same privileges and independence that I enjoy most of the time.
I’ve encountered further positives; people are much nicer to you in McDonald’s and my UBER rating has skyrocketed, proof that positive discrimination is alive and well. It’s also possible proof that I’m unpalatable with a working skeleton, but I’m choosing to ignore that until I have irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
I think generally people find it much easier to grasp when I’m injured. People know what ‘dislocation’ is and they know it’s bad. It’s when I’m trying to explain that there is no particular ‘reason’ I’m in pain / so tired I can barely see, it’s just because I’m too bendy. Our ever-changing understanding of what constitutes ‘Joint Hypermobility Syndrome’, ‘Ehlers Danlos Hypermobility Type’ and ‘Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder’ confuses those suffering from them, never mind friends, families, colleagues and relative strangers. What I mean is, I’m finding it easier to ask for help, and I’m finding help is more readily offered when there is something ‘wrong’, and would be interested to know if this is the same for others?
I’ve discovered a couple of coping mechanisms for life with a crutch or two and have listed them below. Any other hacks / tricks advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Flasks; flasks are great, they don’t break when I drop them, and it’s easier to avoid spillages of strawberry ribena / red wine when there is a lid.
- Tote bag > Rucksack; more easily accessible and less likely to slip off your shoulder while moving.
- Wine > codeine (and NEVER TOGETHER); abstaining from Codeine and the brain fog it brings with it means in the evening that I am able to have a glass of wine or two (from aforementioned flask as I have no shame), and personally, I find it preferable. Please note, this is not medical advice…
- Hot water bottles at every opportunity; hardly groundbreaking self-care advice, but it’s really bloody helping at the moment.
Also, if anyone could advise on whether I’m risking electrocution by wrapping fairy lights around my crutches and using them in the rain (it’s not raining now, but in England you’re never far from it), please get in touch.