When Life Gives You Lemons, BEDAZZLE IT! (or, How To Bling Out Your Crutches)

So my last post was about my trip to New York and the inspiring view of Tangerine Tango. Today I’ll share why I was there.

Ten months ago, my 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia and underwent major surgery called Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO). The story of how she wound up in New York for the diagnosis and surgery is a long one and I’m happy to share it with anyone who has interest. Our journey to that point took several years and my daughter and I both benefited greatly from others who had been down that path before us. We hope to do the same for others.

My daughter has recovered beautifully and we went back to New York last week to have 5 screws removed from her hip. This was a relatively minor procedure and I’m happy to say she is doing fabulous.

Okay… now onto the lighter side of this! When my daughter found out she was going to need the PAO, we knew she would be on crutches for at least a month. She faced the possibility of maybe having to be on them much longer. And because the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree when it comes to BLING, she and I decided to be proactive.

The day before her surgery, she met with a physical therapist. Regular protocol would have called for the PT to bring the crutches to her several days after the surgery. We asked for them in advance. With the doctor’s blessing, they were fitted the day before and she and I started work the night before. It gave us a nice distraction before she was admitted to the hospital.

Step one was to cover all the metal parts of the crutches with pink, holographic duct tape. You can now find all kinds of colors and patterns in duct tape in stores, but a year ago, I had to find it online. Honestly, just being covered in pink would have made the crutches far prettier than the standard old metal.

For the underarm padding, we had taken the advice of a new friend from England who had had taken us under her wing in the weeks leading up to the surgery. We bought the zebra covered pads from www.crutchcozies.com. It’s a great product and can be purchased in many colors and patterns.

The bling was my job. When they wheeled my daughter to the operating room, I had a lot of nervous energy. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to have a project to keep me busy. I worked right in the waiting room. Six hours is a long time when you are under that kind of stress.

The original design was pretty simple. She had wanted the crutches to be totally covered with the rhinestones, but I quickly realized the technique I was using would have taken forever. I came up with another design that took less time and also saved my fingers. For this go round, I used super glue and a bag of assorted sized rhinestones from Joanns. Here’s what they looked like then:

This shot was taken about a month after the surgery. The crutches are a bit beat up, but they were still pretty dazzling.

She used them for just about a month. She was happy to be done with them and tucked them away in a closet.

This fall her hip started bothering her again and it was decided that those screws that were supposed to be permanent had to come out. We scheduled the procedure for last week and out came the crutches again. If I’ll say one thing about my daughter, she is determined. While she loved the original crutches, she knew that with this second go round, she wanted her original design.

And so we went to work. In the two weeks leading up to our departure, the crutches stayed on my family room coffee table. We used Elmer’s Glue this time, so we were able cover a larger area to fill with rhinestones before the glued dried. We also didn’t have to stop periodically to unpry our fingers from each other… one of the downfalls of using super glue. The glue isn’t as sturdy as the super glue, but this time, it was projected that the longest she’d be on them was two weeks. We figured that wasn’t such a long time and we’d touch them up at the end of each day. Here’s a that close up again:


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As I write this, it is just one week from her surgery. The screws are out and she’s walking fine. In fact, she dropped the crutches 2 days ago.

So far, a happy ending. Feel free to share this crutch idea. It was fun to see all the great, positive responses she got from people while she used them.

My beautiful daughter, Bri

Of couse she'd want pink crutches!

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This entry was posted in Bling, Crutches, Decorating, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to When Life Gives You Lemons, BEDAZZLE IT! (or, How To Bling Out Your Crutches)

  1. Kim Campbell says:

    Way to go Bri! I’m so glad your on the road to recovery & you did it with such style. What great, creative women you & your Mom are! (:

  2. lisa says:

    Wow! Those are awesome! Hope she’s doing well : )

  3. Lana says:

    I’m very interested to hear about your daughter’s journey with DDH and PAO. It sounds like she recovered very quickly! Most patients stay on crutches for 8-12 wks after their PAO. Is she back to normal activities now?

    • Bri was on crutches for 4 weeks after the PAO. She did recover very quickly! Her doctors think it was because of her age. Not only do younger patients heal faster, but many also have the benefit of having a mom take very close care of them during recovery. Women who are older usually have a lot more to tend to in their own lives… Bri could focus just on getting better.

      Even with her speedy recovery, there have been setbacks. The screws that were supposed to stay in forever, started coming out and they were removed 10 months after the PAO. And now, unfortunately, it seems as if Bri is one of just a handful of patients who has developed ectopic bone in her hip. We are returning to New York next week to have it removed. It will be her 3rd surgery in 16 months. It has been a tough setback, but if I know my daughter like I think I do, she will be back in the gym by the end of the month.

      The reason I shared this on my blog is because I know there are a lot of people who are searching for information on DDH and PAO. There are few resources for us. Once we had a diagnosis, which can often times be the hardest part of the journey, Bri had excellent medical care. If you would like to know more or have specific questions, I’m happy to talk to you. Feel free to email me at cikeenan@verizon.net.

  4. LaniR says:

    I love this! I googled “how to bling out crutches” and found your site. This will be my second time on crutches and I want some with STYLE! Thanks for the inspiration and blessings to you and your family 🙂

  5. Bethany says:

    I have recently had hip surgery as well (my psoas tendon had to be cut and repositioned) and have to go to my senior prom on crutches:( this post has made me feel 10000% better about it, thanks for the idea!

    • Hi Bethany,

      Your comment made my day! I’m so happy you can use this idea. Bri is going to her senior prom in a few weeks, too! She has a friend who just broke her foot… your post reminds me that we have these crutches and we can offer them to her. (It would be great if her dress is pink!)

      Good luck to you and I hope you heal quickly!!

  6. Hello Cynthia!

    Thank you so much for sharing the creative crutches! My eight year old daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia when she was two years old. Yesterday, she had her fourth operation
    to remove screws that had been causing her a great amount of pain. When she learned she would be on crutches, she asked if she could “bedazzle” them. I started looking for ideas and came across your page. I showed my daughter the pictures of the crutches and your daughter with the crutches. Jenna’s response was, “Cool!” I am off to the craft store to get supplies now. Thank you so much for sharing and brightening my daughter’s spirits!

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