I got a phone call at 8 AM Friday morning.
I was nervous when I realized who it was -- it was the partner of one of the people I was playing the concert with yesterday. The last time I got a call from someone like that the day before the concert, it was the wife of one of the performers saying he had slipped on the ice and was flat on his back in bed and couldn't possibly get to and play a concert the next day.
So I was relieved when it turned out that this call was because my friend wanted to borrow my crutches.
The story was actually somewhat alarming. She's a fairly fit person who climbs mountains and does folk dancing and ride a bicycle for long distances. Two weeks before she'd been to a folk dance weekend and danced 15 hours between Friday night and Sunday afternoon and felt fine during and after.
For a couple of days before, her knee had been bothering her a little, but then all of a sudden she went to leave work, and pushed back the chair, and she couldn't stand on her right leg.
She was glad I didn't mind loaning her the crutches. Until she got them, she wasn't able to move anywhere without assistance. So she had to wake up her partner to go to the bathroom at night. I said that was like having a dog, but she said the dog probably didn't whimper both to and from the bathroom. Actually it's probably easier with the human, because for the dog, you have to put shoes and a coat on to take them out.
Anyway, I reminded her when she was being grateful that she wouldn't have thought to call me if she hadn't been so helpful during the six weeks I was on them -- she regularly called to see if I wanted to come to the supermarket with her, and went to the pharmacy for me, and took me to visit Bonnie.
I was also glad I'd tested getting them out of the closet while I was fit. They had enough ice skates and vacuum cleaners and camping equipment in front of them that I wouldn't have wanted to try to do it standing on one foot. I'll be more careful when I put them back in the closet.
We don't know quite what's going to happen with my friend's knee. She's had an x-ray, and it looks like torn cartilage or maybe other junk in the joint. She has an appointment to see an orthopedist next week.
Crutches aren't so expensive that comfortably off people can't just go buy them, but they do take up enough space in a closet, and reasonably fit people use them seldom enough, that it seems silly for every household to have a pair. I think it's something the socialist model "From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs" should apply pretty well. So there should probably just be a central supply depot that delivers a pair when you need them, and then you bring them back there when you don't any more.
My rationale for keeping mine after the hip surgery instead of donating them to one of the places that gives them free to poor people, was that when you sprain your ankle, which I had been doing every 3 or 4 years, people tell you it heals faster if you use crutches and keep the weight off of it. I'd never tried that, because of not having the crutches, but I was going to test it out the next time my ankle gave out on me. It hasn't given out since the hip surgery. I hope that's because the physical therapy I got then, which focused more on balance than on strengthening hip muscles, fixed the problem with my ankle, but maybe it's just having crutches in the closet makes it less likely that you sprain your ankle. The same way carrying an umbrella makes it less likely to rain hard.