Monday, July 11, 2011

Side By Side with SideStix

This is the first Guest Post to Everyone Outdoors! Dwayne Boyd discovered SideStix All Terrain Sports Crutches through DCR's Universal Access Program. He has worked hard to acquire his own pair. Thank you Dwayne for sharing with us the thrill of finding the right equipment arrive on your doorstep and the new joys it brings to your life!

Sage Korins-Boyd and Dad walking.
Photo by Noa Korins-Boyd.
 It has been less than two weeks, since I left work two hours early to intercept a package on my back deck. The box held more than just my new SideStix. Inside that box was an image of my future self. These crutches are the tools that will allow me to be the person I wish to become after realizing my dream of owning my own pair of high performance crutches.

Upon my arrival at home that day, no one in my family was home to see my first moments of excitement. My next-door-neighbor was taking in her laundry from the clothesline. She was happy for me. I paused and smiled as I read the card taped to the outside of the box, it read, “Oh the places you’ll go…” One’s got to respect a company that uses a quotation from Dr. Seuss.

I began breaking the packing tape with a pair of scissors when my wife and children arrived in the driveway. My wife’s immediate reaction was one of concern, “Why are you home so early?” she asked. “Is everything alright?”

I stopped ripping tape long enough to explain that my boss’ reaction to my exclamation of joy when I read

Dwayne Boyd assembles SideStix 6-27-2011
Photo by Noa Korins-Boyd

 the update from the UPS website that had the word “DELIVERED” in the status column. She replied, “What are you still doing here?” I took that as my queue to leave the confines of my cubical and escape.

Without wasting any more time, I managed to get the carbon fiber lower tubes connected to the upper parts of the crutches with ease. I took extra care to tighten the c-clamps an extra turn with the hex wrench to ensure a secure fit.

It took me some time to decide which tips to put on first. My youngest daughter, Noa snapped photos as I eagerly added the rotating and articulating tips to the ends and adjusted the height of the stix to suit me.

Before dinner, I took a victory lap around the neighborhood. My eldest daughter, Sage walked with me. I stopped a couple of times to show off to the neighbors. As I made my way around the block for the first time on my new “legs,” I was commenting to Sage about my shoulders felt relieved and my overall stance was different. I actually stand taller on these things.

As we continued around the block, we chatted about our upcoming camping trip. I expressed how I couldn’t wait to try the sandshoes on the beach and the trails in the campground.

Some tools and parts associated with SideStix.
 Now that I’m reflecting on these moments, I am even more excited about the fact that I shared time with my child and I was able to match her pace. For most of the walk we were side by side. They are moments that will be etched in my memory. As my children grow and seek new paths, I will be able to walk down some of them alongside; I’ll no longer fear being left behind as they move forward.

On that initial walk, I must confess, I did experience some unexpected pain in my wrists. Later, while watching a movie with the family, I decided to tinker with the new stix. A minor height adjustment did the trick. As I gain more experience, I’ll be able to learn more tricks and perform tweaks to make the experience better.

It took a couple more days for me to sneak away to finally try the new sandshoe attachments out. I stole an hour to attempt a solo hike at Perkins Farm Conservation Area. It’s a spot two miles from my house with trails. I was previously unaware of its existence before a friend from work asked, “Hey have you tried the trails I used to walk my dog on up behind the Stop & Shop supermarket?”

His descriptions made me eager put miles on the stix. I only had sixty minutes. I had to make them count. The trail’s opening presented me with my first challenge. I was met with a steep hill with rocks to navigate. The surface was primarily clay covered moss.

I would have never attempted this climb with my prior set of crutches. The sand shoes attached quickly; in addition, they proved to be the right tool for the job. I made my way about three quarters of the way up that grade as far as I could within my time limit. I had to turn around before reaching my first own personal first “summit.”

Nonetheless, I shall return…I consider that climb a personal best to date. My next climb will be higher. I’m sure of it.

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