I hate my crutches like magnetic north hates… other magnetic north. They are a pain and an endless-conversation curse, and I can’t walk ten feet without sweating. I have raw places on my sides from where they rub through three layers of cloth. They’re borrowed from Maria’s mom, so I will return them eventually with a smile and a thank-you; otherwise I’d snap them, burn them, sow their fields with salt yea look ye mighty &c.

But I’ve been using them for less than two weeks and I’ve visibly lost weight and gained muscle mass. Upper-body muscle mass, as much as I’ve had in my entire life.

My uncle Jerome recommended staying on the things for four weeks, absolute minimum two weeks. I really want to get rid of them come Wednesday night. But the huge blood-pool bruise on the side of my foot isn’t gone yet, and I don’t want to screw this up and compound my tendonitis, and I like weighing less and having triceps.

The two things I’m really worried about are my hands, which never stop hurting even after Epsom-salt soaks and hours of rest. The pain when I first pick up the crutches is worse every morning. Working at a keyboard every day occasionally gives me carpal-tunnely twinges; those have become more frequent since I started using the crutches. The fear is obvious.

I know I won’t work out after I start walking normally again. I don’t want my ankle to heal badly. I hate being slow and painful and not being able to carry things. I don’t want carpal tunnel.