As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have some difficulty standing on my feet for long periods of time. This makes activities like visiting museums difficult, even with the help of the Evil Aid. This is a problem, because my job requires me to visit art museums and exhibits, where I have to stand on my feet for significant periods of time. My bum leg and wonky EDS joints have been making this quite difficult lately, to the point where I either hadn’t been able to finish looking at the displays or couldn’t pay them proper attention, simply because I was in too much pain. So I decided things had to change. With the arrival of my new Ossenberg crutches, which came in a pair, I was inspired to take on the museums with two sticks rather than one. I figured it was the most readily available out, and if it didn’t work, I’m know it was time to move on to the next set of options (i.e. rollator, a set of wheels). But here was the thing: I was just about to travel to Amsterdam and Budapest, mostly for work, but a little for pleasure. I knew that I would be going to a lot of exhibits in both cities, and I was a bit perplexed about how to pack a second crutch. I should say straight away that I was disinclined to simply purchase a long duffle bag, stuff my crutch into it, and check it in as luggage. Forearm crutches are awkwardly sized and shaped, and as such pose a safe packing challenge. I had nightmare images of the airlines tossing my stick around and bending it or shattering its cuff. I also looked into the possibility of purchasing a folding forearm crutch. This seemed ideal, but the best folding crutches out there (which are held together with a bungee cord like folding canes and collapse into thirds) are currently outside the bounds of my mobility gadget budget. So I had to come up with something else, and quickly. And you know, it may be cliche, but it does seem to be true that sometimes the best and most functional ideas come from the most unexpected sources. A few weeks ago, at her mother’s suggestion, I bought the five year old daughter of a good friend a duct tape jewelry kit. Recently it seems someone had the brilliant idea to add color and interesting patterns to the sturdy but easy to tear sticky stuff. Gone are the days, dear reader, of silver metallic duct tape that you purchase specifically, because you think it will blend in well with your plumbing. No. Now the stuff looks like this:
My idea was simple. If I couldn’t afford a folding crutch, I would simply fasten my second Ossenberg to the handle of my rolling carry-on carry with some fancy duct tape. I would affix extra pieces of tape to the back of the suitcase just in case after removing the crutch to get through security or to put my things in the overhead, the first strip would refuse to re-stick. Admittedly, the sticking and unsticking was a bit clunky. But it was cheap, and moreover, highly effective. No extra checked bags. Both crutches on board, as airlines cannot count mobility aids as part of your carry-on allowance. Here is a little slide show of exactly how it worked:
This method worked through the infamous security lines at Infamous International Hub here in the Midwestern Megapolis. On SwissAir through Zurich. Through Schipol in Amsterdam and again in Budapest. And the results of the two stick museum experiment? By and large, success! Or at least, MAJOR improvement. It seems that for me, anything that involves a lot of standing will be a two stick experience from now on. I have no regrets. But I may buy stock in duct tape.