RA Guy Adventures of RA Guy 5 Comments

“This is just the first step towards a revolution on how we perceive the sanity and insanity of the human body and the artifacts of illness.”

-Francesca Lanzavecchia, Italian Designer


Francesca Lanzavecchia

This is the first inspirational publication that present disability artifacts in a new light. It is a bridge between user and producer aiming to open their eyes to the possibilities and new values that these vital body accessories can bestow upon the user. Here disability aids become a stage to discuss, understand and cope with disability, illness and human frailty.

ProAesthetics Canes

Left to Right: ‘Tea Time’ Cane, ‘Protraction Crutch’, and ‘Bone’ Cane.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy went crutch browsing yesterday. In a way, this is testament to how much better I am doing. Just a few days ago, I would have never even  considered the possibility of spending time and energy walking from store to store to look at walking aids.

Granted, I was already in the medical part of town having some lab tests done – but I was able to walk around for quite a few blocks before returning home.

(The thought of looking for new crutches has been on my mind since the end of May, when I saw a guy my age who was using a really nice and sporty pair. I wrote more about this at the time, in Design Meets Disability.)

I found a really cool pair of European style forearm crutches, with a very cool molded design in the handle and arm support area. They were much nicer than any I have been above to find online. (I currently use forearm crutches with a closed cuff, which makes them a little more difficult to slip on and off.)

There were a few different styles in the various stores that I visited. Of course, my favorite pair was also the most expensive pair. Ouch!

But I’ll put this purchase on hold, for the moment. With all of the medical expenses that I continue to rack up on a daily basis, I can’t really justify spending money on another pair of crutches based solely upon their looks. (I can see it now, Carry Bradshaw with her walk-in closet of mobility aids. And that set of Manolo Blahnik $600 crutches? To die for!)

In a way, it’s interesting to realize that my use of crutches has surpassed a level of mere utilitarianism, and has reached a point where they are  just another thing I put on when I get dressed. In a way, they are indeed sort of like a pair of shoes. Something that I wouldn’t think of leaving the house without, and something that I might want to mix and match every now and then.

Deep down in the back of my mind, I still do have the hope of reaching a point where I am able to walk without crutches. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to be happy with the fact that my crutches are a part of who I am. And one day, maybe I’ll just treat myself to a nice new pair.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Comments 5

  1. Linda C

    You know canes is a subject near and dear to me. (twitter PM coming your way)

    Are the crutches you use now specifically fitted for you? I am amazed when I see all the new things they are doing in the mobility aid world. Having known so many people who use canes, crutches, wheelchairs, etc I have followed it more closely than others.

    Last night before the Cardinals game some veterans were presented Segways. Now, that’s what I’d like to have.

  2. Angela Lown

    Hi RA Guy
    Thanks for a great posting as usual. This is a real bug-bear of mine. When I was first diagnosed with RA I was couldn’t believe how “functional” (aka ugly!) all of the arthritis aids were. However, things do seem to be (slowly) changing out there and there are some people who are doing great things to improve the design and look of disability aids (or ability aids as I would like them called!) – in particular are a great organisation in the UK and worth looking at.

  3. Erin

    You are right…Why must functional equate unstylish?
    It is hard enough to have a chronic illness, but to add ugly to my wardrobe pushes me too far. i mean if i am going to attract attention…which will happen as i gimp along…why not be a bit more diva? I proudly coordinate my service doggy’s vest(s) (yes~that was plural)to the weather and my clothing: brown bag-check,brown shoes-check,brown leash-check, carmel colored ultrasued vest with zip pockets-check.)
    hurray for the industrial designers who are modernizing the tools that also help us proudly (and positively) embrace our lives.

  4. Mikel

    I couldn’t agree more, I’m in luck that my sister is in the health care profession and she can get me stuff when I need it, or to try different bit out.

    But the are SO ugly. I now work on the basis of trying new gear with her and when something helps, look for a better looking equivalent on the web and get it shipped.

    A list of websites where they sell good looking kit would be good.

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