Letter Re: An Overlooked Aspect of Preparedness–Crutches and Canes

Dear JWR;
A week ago, I did the first big spring mowing with a push mower “for the exercise” (3 acres). The next morning, my knee was swollen, wouldn’t bend, and the pain was breathtaking.
I’m now down to limping around with a cane, and should be fine in a few more days.
I discovered a weakness in my first-aid preparedness the hard way: I had no crutches, canes, or aids to mobility for the injured.

I now own a fine set of crutches, two durable walking canes/livestock sticks, and have a Cold Steel Heavy Duty Sword Cane on the way. I’ll be looking for a folding wheel chair at the spring flea market this month. I discovered that both of pharmacies in my nearest town give away new cane tips to anyone that asks. This may common, but surprised me.

Would you, or any of the Medicos in the forum have any recommendations on knee/elbow/shoulder braces, stretchers, gurneys, etc? My search of the archives did not generate specific brands or preferred features to shop for. Thanks in advance! – Mike on the Reservation

JWR Replies: I have found that Craig’s List, garage sales, and estate sales are the best sources of inexpensive (or even free) used “hard ” medical items. (Garage sales in retirement communities are wonderful.) If you have the storage space available, buy plenty, since they are often available for pennies on the dollars. Don’t overlook items like walkers, wheelchairs, toilet seat extensions, bed pans, “potty” chairs, bed linens, and hospital beds. (For the latter, look for the old-fashioned hand-crank variety.). You never know when someone at your retreat or a neighbor will become, sick, injured, or wounded, and require lengthy rehabilitation or even long term (chronic) care.