I've read a lot about this type of crutches online, but can't seem to find answers to some very basic but necessary questions.
The story takes place in the United States, present-day. I have a female, teenaged character (college sophomore) with cerebral palsy affecting her hands and legs. She's small and skinny for her age. Again, I've found some info on forearm crutches online, but the descriptions tend to differ, and I haven't been able to locate firsthand accounts that address any of my questions. If you guys can help with any, some or all of these questions, that would be awesome...I don't care if you respond in paragraph form or to each individually or whatever.
1. Describe the crutches themselves: what they look like, are made out of, how they fit, how they're stored and carried and maintained, etc.
2. How do you get in and out of the crutches?
3. What do you do with the crutches when sitting (on benches, in chairs, at table settings, etc.)?
4. If the character has a fairly extensive form of CP that affects both her legs and her hands, how necessary would it be to wear the crutches? Could she potentially walk without them for short distances with support or with leg braces?
5. How does getting in and out of bed work?
6. Could another person hold hands with someone while using the crutches? Is this helpful or more detrimental? Ditto the other person walking with their arm around the person's waist, shoulders, hand beneath the elbow for support, etc.?
7. Describe the posture that a person using forearm crutches typically manifests when walking. Do they stand straight or have to bend slightly at the waist to accommodate the crutches?
8. How fast can you move on the crutches? Is it easier to move slowly and steadily, or to go quickly and get momentum and rhythm going?
9. Is there anything painful about using the crutches, especially after years of doing so?
10. How typical is it to fall while using this type of crutches, and what does getting back up entail? Do you typically need physical assistance to regain your footing?
11. How easy is it to carry things while using the crutches? Do you feel that you have your hands free to do most anything?
12. What can family and friends do to assist you that is or is not helpful?
13. How would the CP in her hands affect her ability to use the crutches?
14. How tiring is it walking with the crutches? How far can you walk? How long can you walk without a break?
15. How are hills, steps, etc., difficult or easy? Do you opt for ramps generally, or are stairs doable? Escalators? High curbs?
16. What is difficult about the crutches? Are there any things you cannot do at all, or cannot do easily, that you wish you could?
17. Do you find that people tend to stare at you when you're out and about on the crutches? Do people offer to help you often? Since, in the US, forearm crutches are more indicative of a permanent disability, are you asked a lot of questions?
18. Is it easy or difficult to open doors while using the crutches? Is it more helpful to ask someone to do this for you?
19. How easy is it to stay with a group when walking? Do you find it easier to have someone in constant contact with you? Can you generally keep pace with people more "able-bodied" than you?
20. Can you hug another person while standing up with the crutches?
21. Did you ever attend a dance on crutches? How did that work?
22. When negotiasing treacherous terrain, such as slippery hills or hiking trails, what is the easiest approach to doing this safely and comfortably?
23. Other comments about using the crutches?
"Forearm Crutches" teens
"Forearm Crutches" facts
Etc. ETc. Also read lots of articles and merchandise information sheets.
Thanks for any help!